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Swapping from one phone to another. What are your “must have” apps?



With Windows Phone 7 just around the corner, I have been prepping for the move from the iPhone. This begs a big question though, what apps can you leave behind? What are the “must have” apps that a mobile OS needs to have to keep you happy? Chances are the iPhone and Android phones have that app ready and waiting for you, but what about the newer OSes, specifically Windows Phone 7?This is the question I have been asking myself lately and it has been asked of me a couple times in feedback sessions. I am jumping ship on the iPhone for a few reasons. I want to want a Microsoft Mobile again first and foremost. What has me craving Windows Phone 7 the most is the UI and Zune integration. The UI, which they call “Metro UI” is a very efficient UI in the fact that all the info you need most often is displayed in a way that you can quickly access this info without having to dig around for it. The “Live Tiles”, which are in place of application icons, house shortcuts to hubs and are full of dynamic information. There is not much that needs to be said about Zune integration. I love Zune Pass and being able to sync my Zune Pass content to my phone is something I have wanted for a couple years now.

So, Windows Phone 7 seems like it will satisfy my basic functions just fine, what about 3rd party applications? For me, this is what I use most on my iPhone 3GS right now.

  • Email – The email experience on Windows Phone 7 seems great. You can set up exchange accounts, gmail accounts, and others. No issues here.
  • Web Browser – This is ok on Windows Phone 7. It’s definitely not going to prevent me from making the jump.
  • Twitter – There is already a Twitter client set to go that mimics the metro UI styling. If it’s 1/2 as good as the official client (formerly Tweetie), then I will be ok.
  • Facebook – Facebook is deeply integrated into the OS already. This won’t be a problem.
  • Pandora – With Zune on Windows Phone 7, losing Pandora shouldn’t be an issue. I still hope Pandora makes an app for Windows Phone 7 though.
  • Four Square – I have heard through the grapevine that there is definitely a Four Square app coming.
  • Lose It – This is what I use to track my calorie intake, exercise, and weight. I don’t  necessarily have to have this exact app, but I hope there will be one available like it.

Now those are the main apps I use, here are a few that I will miss, but could live without. Well, I could live without most of the main apps above, but you know what I mean.

  • DirectTV – DVR control from work is priceless.
  • Fandango – I love the iPhone app. I order my tickets at the stop light on the way to a show.
  • Barnes and Noble eReader – I can do without, but because of our Nook, we have lots of content already.
  • ESPN ScoreCenter – Come on ESPN, give me my scores!
  • Linkedin – Take it or leave it.
  • Dropbox – Skydrive is part of Windows Live and it works well, but it’s not Dropbox.
  • Paypal – I rarely use this one now, but I do like to be able to check balances on the go without having to log in with a web browser.
  • GoDaddy – I can do without.
  • eWallet – I’d be surprised if this wasn’t ported over.
  • Games – I am sure we’ll have plenty of games available. I sure hope EA Mobile develops for Windows Phone 7.

Are there any apps that would prevent you from being able to make an OS switch? Something for work?



  1. Thomas Pope

    10/06/2010 at 6:54 am

    …also thinking of making the leap from an iPhone…

    – eWallet
    – EPUB Reader of any sort
    – TASK SUPPORT!!!!! (I haven’t actually seen confirmation that even Windows Phone 7 will sync tasks to an exchange server)

    – Dropbox (I could live without it on my phone)

    There are a few other apps in the “nice to have” category, like Epicurious, Sketchbook, etc. But nothing there would stop me from switching.

    This is kind of surprising to me, but I just realized that I really don’t use that much on my phone anymore. Between my two tablets (LE1700 and iPad) I have everything I need for work or play on the bus, and at work and home I’ve got access to so many computers it’s not even funny.

    The real issue now is (exactly as Apple designed into their master plan) the friction to move music and ebooks over to the new device and keep them in sync.

  2. aftermath

    10/06/2010 at 7:05 am

    “Are there any apps that would prevent you from being able to make an OS switch?”

    I guess what you’re really asking is: “Exactly how proprietary is your OS?”

    From reviewing the list of “apps” that you depend on, it seems like what you really need is just a good web browser, but you have an iPhone instead.

  3. Jeff Jackson

    10/06/2010 at 11:16 am

    Must have apps (in roughly descending important order):
    * Calligrapher — handwriting recognition (which means I must have a stylus too)
    * SPB Wireless
    * Office Mobile
    * Laridian PocketBible
    * Remote Desktop
    * ListPro
    * Visual Voice Mail
    * WM WifiRouter
    * eWallet

    Other apps also very important.
    * Adobe Reader
    * Turn-by-turn navigation (currently using Bing)
    * Microsoft MyPhone
    * Mobile Translator
    * MSN Money
    * Panoramic Calc Pro
    * Panoramic Guitar Suite
    * Resco Photo Manager
    * SPB Weather
    * Sprite Backup

  4. doog

    10/06/2010 at 12:36 pm

    Well, the ones that I really like to have with me (discrete apps) are:

    – LastPass
    – Evernote/Springpad (either one; I prefer Evernote)
    – Dropbox and/or Sugarsync
    – Maps/Navigation would be nice

    Any old Twitter client is fine, Facebook is fine, but the mobile site works for me, too.

    But the big one:

    – if it wants me to use it as a music player, it has to sync with my Mac

  5. Steve

    10/06/2010 at 10:52 pm

    Here is the Alpha of foursquare for WP7.

    It was in the press about 6 months ago

  6. Perry Reed

    10/08/2010 at 2:34 pm


    – Exchange sync for mail, contacts, calendar
    – Facebook
    – Twittter
    – Good web browsing

    Nice to have:
    – Exchange sync for notes, tasks
    – OneNote sync
    – Amazon Kindle
    – Adobe Acrobat reader
    – MP3/media
    – Some good games
    – Aviation flight planning, mapping/navigation, airport diagrams

  7. Anonymous

    10/08/2010 at 11:34 pm


    -A robust PIM suite for calendar and tasks in particular, such as Pocket Informant
    -LOCAL SYNC FOR PIM DATA! Don’t want to rely too much on third-party infrastructure.
    -Some widget or Today screen plugin that puts PIM front and center, like PocketBreeze or Spb Diary
    -A decent Web browser
    -A media player that will play anything and everything without conversion, local or streamed, which TCPMP and VLC come the closest to


    -Graffiti-style input panel, especially if there’s no hardware thumbboard
    -Document viewer for PDFs, e-books, etc.
    -SoftMaker Office or some other Office suite that can actually compete with a desktop-level Office suite
    -OneNote client WITH INKING
    -GPS software that references maps ON LOCAL STORAGE (I’ve actually had a Bluetooth GPS receiver for some time, but not used it due to lack of suitable software with up-to-date maps; as a result, internal GPS does not need to be present so long as it can interface with an external one via Bluetooth)
    -An animated GIF viewer (most image viewing apps screw that one thing up, only showing the first frame, while others may play it back too slow or even too fast)

    That’s about the gist of it. Still looking for a decent replacement for the ol’ HP iPAQ hx4700 that doesn’t entail signing up for a ludicrously expensive two-year contract I can’t afford and don’t want, but Windows Mobile 6.x seems to have software that can be a bit tough to find alternatives for on other OSes-especially PocketBreeze.

    But whatever it will be, it will NOT be Windows Phone 7, aka. Microsoft iOS with its walled garden approach and all stripping out all the freedom I had with Windows Mobile.

  8. Choti Si Bachchi Asmita

    10/20/2010 at 1:02 pm

    There are numerous application which i want in my phone at the time when i swapping one phone to another. Firstly one will be social media sites like facebook and twitter. Secondly i would like to have gps navigation, maps and acrobat reader. Any ways thanks for sharing such a wonderful article.

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