10 best Windows Phone 7 apps - paid apps
25th Oct 2010 | 12:00
The Windows Phone 7 apps worth paying for
Sure, Windows Phone 7 has a fast and fluid user experience, and maybe the best smartphone camera interface we've seen.
But does it have the kind of apps you buy the iPhone for? Not quite yet.
We haven't yet seen a killer app for Windows Phone 7 apart from the built-in OneNote with SkyDrive sync and it will be a while before we see GPS navigation apps (we know of at least one in development) but even in the first week there's plenty in the Marketplace beyond the obligatory flashlights and fart apps.
Here are the Windows Phone 7 apps we'd pay for.
1. Pictures Lab
Tilt-shift effects, crop and rotate... Pictures Lab combines the fun effects of an iPhone photo app like Hipstamatic with the useful fixes you're mostly likely to need (sharpen and - in the imminent update - crop) in a beautifully designed app that crosses the power of Silverlight with the tools of the Windows Phone 7 interface. Pick a photo, see all the possible effects as thumbnails or swipe up and down to try them one at a time.
If you live in RSS feeds, you may want both of these newsreaders for Windows Phone 7. Newsroom saves you time by grabbing full stories and pictures, even from truncated RSS feeds, and battery by compressing them first, so you can go from the headline to the full story far more quickly than clicking through to a browser window - but it doesn't handle Google Reader.
gReadie - as you'd expect from the name - specifically handles Google Reader, and does a great job of keeping the details of what you've read elsewhere in Google Reader in sync so you only get new items (and ones you've starred). You can star posts to remember, send them to Instapaper and share them in plenty of ways - including Twitter.
There are several drawing apps in the marketplace but this simple one is our favourite so far; pick a colour and a pen thickness and draw with your fingertip. Good for amusing kids, a quick game of hangman, drawing a map or a basic diagram.
5. Password Padlock
If you're trying to make your passwords more secure, they get more complicated and harder to remember. Microsoft doesn't let tools like this handy password utility integrate with the browser but it does encrypt all your passwords using AES and a master password of your choice (that's never stored on the phone, so write yourself a good hint); now you can safely get reminders when you need to log in.
6. Virtual Remote: Media Control
Connecting a remote to a PC in your living room usually means a tangle of wires and infrared repeaters; not the look you want. Run the companion PC software and Virtual Remote turns the phone you have in your pocket into a remote control with media buttons; it works with ITunes and several DVD software players as well as Windows Media Player and Windows Media Centre - it even has the green button to start Media Center.
Why pay for a Twitter client when there's Seesmic and the official client, both free? Because the cloud view that arranges user pics and excerpts around the screen is just such a nice way of reading tweets - although you get all the usual views like timelines as well.
The setup could be easier - and the instructions and interface could be a lot clearer, especially for setting up the client you have to run on your PC - but once you get it working you can connect to your PC from anywhere to download files or send them by email. Not everyone needs this but it's the kind of powerful app we weren't sure Windows Phone 7 would allow.
Who needs Guitar Hero? You can play your own blues solo (or any other style) on screen; pick a song to play along with from your music collection, pick bass or guitar and strut your stuff. This makes great use of the multitouch screen for chords and fast play.
If you don't love XKCD… no, we don't think there's anyone who doesn't love this mix of philosophy and stick figures. The app does little more than start with the most recent comic and read backwards (you can also jump to a specific numbered strip); it doesn't even zoom because then you couldn't read the text. But it's XKCD!
Liked this? Then check out 10 best free Windows Phone 7 apps
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