Windows Phone App Flow: Tips for Finding Great Apps

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[Editor’s Note:  Many thank to Travis for bringing his unique sense of humor and app finding skills to this column since November 2011.  I hope you have all enjoyed the 45 columns as much as I have.]

After more than a year of helping you wade your way through the ever growing sea of applications available for Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 devices, it’s finally time to hang up my power cord.  Before I unplug my Windows Phone 8X’s AC adapter I’d like to walk you through choosing the best Windows Phone applications on your own.

I get the feeling that most people don’t put as much thought into the applications they download as I do, what normal person would? For me, this column has been an exercise in learning what works in application development and what doesn’t for me personally. One of those things has been, and while most likely always be the price of an application. You see, I’ve always believed in paying full price for an app for two reasons. The first reason is that, I hate smartphone ads in all forms. Yes, I do understand that they are a necessity. There are some people who will never pay for an application but I do encourage you to consider it. The second reason is that I like to be invested in the applications I use. If I’ve paid for it, it better work. This philosophy has guided me well, particularly with my favorite applications TVShow, and MetroTube.

Another thing that I really can’t stress enough is revisiting apps that you’ve already tried and dismissed. The first time I used Seles Games’ Weave, I thought it couldn’t hold a candle to the newsreader I was using at the time. After trying it again when making the switch to Windows Phone 8 I was blown away by it’s the number of improvements in the application. We’re talking cloud caching, enhanced Live Tiles, lock screen integration –all of these things I would have missed if I hadn’t been willing to give Seles Games another bite at the apple. Developers improve, and its Windows Phone Store reviews might not always reflect that.

The last bit of advice I’ll offer is to be shallow. I can’t remember the number of developers I’ve had approach me about reviewing their applications only to use them and realize they didn’t stop once to think about the design process. I don’t, and I suspect no one else will either, care about how functional an application is. Windows Phone is a very visual operating system and the apps worth spending your time with need to have some root in design. WeatherFlow takes this to the extreme, and though it’s a less functional than its competitors, I use it because it has just enough features and just enough polish to beat out the other guys.

It’s all finally come to this. After forty-five editions it’s now time to conclude Windows Phone App Flow. That’s it! It’s all over. You can roll the generic footage of a crowd clapping. I won’t be here next week, but Richard Hay will, and I’d like to thank him for the opportunity to do my thing on WindowsObserver.

Good night everybody.

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One thought on “Windows Phone App Flow: Tips for Finding Great Apps

  1. You and I have spoken about the problems with Windows Phone app acquisition in WP7.x vs WP8. When I was on my Japanese ID, I almost always bought apps outright. The exception was trying one out only to discover either it plain was useless, didn’t work as advertised, or really was not needed.

    Move ahead 9 months. Tired of no Zune music in Japan, I switched to my US ID. Now I could use my Zune pass, get artist info, download music. BUT (notice the big BUT) now I could not purchase WP apps. Why? No US credit card. YET….WP8 can choose PayPal to purchase content. Perfect! But why no WP7 support for billing I use on Xbox, Windows 8….

    So sorry to see you go here, but I know you will still be giving great info and support for users of WPx.x, Windows all Flavors, Surface and Xbox….I hope.