10 best free Windows Phone 7 apps
Our pick of the best free Windows Phone 7 apps
Even this early on, Windows Phone 7 has a strong list of the apps you expect to see on every platform; Twitter, Seesmic, Flixster, OpenTable, Yelp, IMDB, LastFM, Iheartradio, Slacker, Netflix…
These aren't just basic, 'tick the Windows Phone box' apps; Netflix lets you stream titles on your phone, not just pick which DVD gets posted next.
There's even a Facebook client, although there's so much Facebook integration in Windows Phone you only really need it to see events.
There are vintage apps from other platforms like the iSilo and Freda ebook readers, plenty of handy little apps that do one useful thing (like the PicFx tool for tilt-shifting photos or the pictures downloader that lets you grab the latest Bing backdrops) and we're expecting a lot more.
Here are our current top 10 free Windows Phone 7 apps.
This is one of the nicest Shazam clients we've seen for any phone; the panoramic interface works well and (at least for now) you can tag an unlimited number of songs to find out what that catchy number on the radio is. Once you've found the track you can jump straight to Zune marketplace to hear 30 seconds of the song and buy it, or listen to the whole track if you have a Zune Pass.
Streaming internet radio US style, with 750 stations from across America, organised by city or genre, plus some celebrity channels. You get lyrics for the track playing and a link to buy it in the marketplace, or you can sign up for a free account to build your own stations – though like Slacker (which streams Internet-only genre stations) you need to give a US ZIP code to sign up (Beverly Hills anyone?).
Another well-designed and comprehensive Windows Phone 7 version of a familiar app. Past check-ins, mayorships, friends, tips you've left, badges you've earned and locations you've saved to visit are all there; but they're tucked away under Your Profile, which for some reason is buried in the extended menu so you might well miss it.
You can't get Flash for Windows Phone 7 yet, but the official Acrobat app lets you open PDF files from web pages and email attachments (and any that you've saved on the phone). You can pinch to zoom in and out and swipe to move from page to page (but you can't search inside a file).
You're spoiled for choice between the official Twitter client, which has every feature you can think of (though you can only see lists you've made), and Seesmic, which has a similar full set of features (including lists you follow). Twitter has predictive text, so it wins for now.
The eBay client looks simple but it's crammed with features. Set a price range for a search, browse by category, watch items or bid straight from the phone (including making a Best Offer), then pay with PayPal. You can see what you're watching, buying and selling – the only thing you can't do it list an item for sale.
With no Flash, the YouTube app is a vital stopgap that doesn't do any more than the minimum; click a YouTube video on the web and it will play in this. Videos start quickly and look good, although controls are minimal (pause and restart, basically, as you can't drag the progress bar) and the 'app' is just a wrapper to load the mobile YouTube site.
Oddly the Windows Live IM client doesn't come from Microsoft and it doesn't get to use the Live ID you've already put in the phone, but it uses notifications so you get messages even when you're in another app. And you can send graphical emotions that show up properly in Live Messenger on the PC.
If your wallet is stuffed with loyalty cards but you never have the right one with you, take the time to type the numbers into this app and when you get to the store you can pull out your phone and get a barcode on screen to scan in at the till.
There's so much Facebook integration in Windows Phone 7, but you only see Flickr images from friends who link their account to Windows Live; Flickr fans will want this a comprehensive, well-written app that lets you enjoy your own photos as well as your friends' pictures and the groups you're in – you can upload photos from your phone, add comments andeven see basic account traffic stats.