Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Four Must Have Windows Phone Apps

Since making the move to a Windows Phone, I’ve found myself using apps like Facebook and Twitter much less frequently. But I’ve also come to discover that the other apps I’d fallen in love with on my iPhone aren’t there. There are four in particular (Starbucks, Trip It, Foursquare, and LinkedIn) that I needed[1] to have, and the solutions provided by the companies themselves were either non-existent or left a lot to be desired. Fortunately, the community has stepped forward and filled the void.

Starbucks FinderStarbucks – Starbucks Finder (Free – Ad Supported)

I’m hopelessly addicted to coffee, and in particular coffee brewed on the Starbucks Clover machine. When I realized there wasn’t a Starbucks app on the Windows Phone I may have shed a tear. Starbucks Finder to the rescue.

Starbucks Finder offers all the core things I want from the app. I’m able to see all the Starbucks near me and bring up properties on each. Recently they added the ability to pay with your phone (although you do have to enter in your card information). The only thing I wish is for a search feature where I could ask for the closest Clover machine.

4th and MayorFoursquare – 4th & Mayor (Free)

After installing the Foursquare client provided by that company I realized it just wasn’t going to meet my needs. Granted, my needs aren’t much, but it just seemed clunky and not as elegant as I would have liked.

Enter 4th & Mayor. 4th & Mayor not only works as a perfect Foursquare client, it’s an example of how elegant the Metro UI can be. While I do wish it did a better job of showing me the leaderboard, it handles all the normal search and check-in uses I was in search of. You can also pin a location to the start screen, so you can ensure easy access to all those spots you’re a mayor of.

My TripsTrip It – My Trips ($1.99 US)

I travel quite a bit for work, and I don’t know where I’d be without Trip It. The app provided by the organization is functional, but that’s about it. Then a friend of mine turned me onto My Trips.

Yes, My Trips is a paid-for app, but for the $2 you’re going to spend on it I think it’s well worth it. The interface is more designed for the Metro UI (I think) than the normal Trip It app. But the place where My Trips really shines is the live tile. The live tile will show you the status of your next flight, including the flight number, terminal & gate, and a very simple green for on time and red for delayed. So I can just turn on the phone, scroll down to the tile and see where I’m off to next.

Link 2iNLinkedIn – Link 2iN ($0.99)

I’m not a huge LinkedIn user, but I do like to track a few forums on the site. While Windows Phone does offer LinkedIn integration, it’s only for contacts and status updates. I needed something else.

Link 2iN is again a well-designed Metro application, giving me what I need for LinkedIn. I can’t say if it will satisfy the needs of the LinkedIn power user, but it does what I need it to do – gives me access to forums, groups and basic contact information. I’m easy to please.

While Windows Phone doesn’t quite have all the apps I’m used to, these four have made the transition that much smoother, and for $3.00 US out of pocket. I’m pretty OK with that.

[1] OK, maybe not needed


  1. Hi Chris!

    Thank you so much for including us in your list of 4 must have Windows Phone apps! We are honored to be one of your top 4. :)

    You said: "The only thing I wish is for a search feature where I could ask for the closest Clover machine."

    We have prepared this for our next release (a filtered search capability). The one thing we cannot decide on, however, is whether or not we should save someone's filter choices after they exit the app. And we both have different opinions. I want to get your preference... Would you want the app to remember your filter for the next time you open the app or would you want the default to show you all stores each time you open the app?

    Thank you!! :)

    1. Personally, I'd like to see the options be savable. One thing I generally try to avoid is licensed Starbucks, so being able to save the settings and have that as the default would be great.

      And thanks for creating a great app!

    2. Chris,

      Thanks so much for sharing your preference. We really appreciate it!