Windows Phone Wednesday: Fable Coin Golf and HTC custom apps

HTC makes some of the best WP7 devices available and to help users enjoy their devices even more they provide cool free utilities just for their devices.

There has been some discussions of the NoDo update and predicted growth in Windows Phone over the past week, but developers look to be focused with continued software releases as the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace passes the 12,000 level.

Last week there were 11,344 apps in the Marketplace at the time I wrote my post, based up on the count on the Marketplace Browser website, and this week we are up to 12,088. This increase of 744 apps in a week was a busy week for Windows Phone and it is getting very difficult to figure out what apps I should install as the available options grow to this level.

If you are a Windows Phone application developer, make sure to check out the Windows Phone 7 App Challenge contest for a chance to win a trip to the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in July.

This week's Xbox LIVE game is the highly anticipated Fable: Coin Golf, priced at $4.99. I am a sucker for these Xbox LIVE games and purchased this one without hesitation after just seeing the screenshots online and I am not disappointed. Interestingly, Gold earned from these areas can be transferred to your Fable III game on Xbox 360 or PC.

The Deal of the Week (DotW) this week is Glow Artisan, an Xbox LIVE game, for just $1.99 and I bought this one too.

HTC makes Windows Phone 7 devices for three of the four major U.S. wireless carriers, so this week I am going to focus on my favorite HTC utilities. If you do not own an HTC HD7, HTC Arrive, or HTC Surround then I am sorry you do not have access to these utilities, but I think there are some from Samsung and LG as well.

  1. HTC Compass: This week HTC released a native compass application and the folks at WPCentral posted a video walk-through of the utility. I loaded it up on my HD7 and appreciate having the compass that also gives you the ability to designate a point on the map to walk to and then use the compass to guide you to this point. It is a pretty slick compass app and like all of these utilities is available for FREE.
  2. Attentive Phone: The very first utility that I discovered on my HD7 and that Kevin Tofel agrees is a must-have download is Attentive Phone. This slick utility lets you choose to quiet your ringer on pickup, increase the ringer volume when in your pocket, flip your phone over to get into speaker mode, and flip to mute the ringer. It doesn't get any easier than that and EVERY phone should launch with these options.
  3. HTC Converter: As an engineer I use conversions quite a bit, especially given that some drawings are in metric and some are in SI units. I find the HTC Converter to be a slicker option than the free one available from Microsoft as you can see in this video walk-through too. I wish you could add your own conversions though since I see they are missing the long tons value in the weight category and that is essential for my ship design work. You can rearrange the conversions though so that your most used ones are at the top and quicker to access.
  4. Flashlight: HTC's Flashlight utility was actually the second HTC app I loaded, after Attentive Phone, and it has served me well in some real-life situations. I used it to see my way around inside the pitch black fuel tanks in the new ferry project I am working on. I also regularly use it around the house and the cool mag-light image that lets you tap the button to turn on and toggle through different brightness levels rocks. You can have it auto flash and even flash SOS so it could potentially be a life saver for someone. You will find this on many HTC smartphones, including my new HTC ThunderBolt.
  5. Sound Enhancer: HTC's Sound Enhancer utility is most noticeable when you plug in headphones to enjoy your Zune music collection. You can choose from different settings, such as Dolby Mobile or SRS Enhancement. An equalizer is also provided when you have headphones or external speakers plugged into your phone. Video sound effects are also provided as options on my HD7.

There are several more HTC apps available on HTC phones, including the HTC Hub, Photo Enhancer, Stocks, Notes, Love, and Weather. Visit the HTC Apps are in the Marketplace to find available apps.

You may have seen that I posted a list of top 10 smartphones for 2011 this week and had the Dell Venue Pro at number 10. I probably should have had it up about 6 or 7 and would if I did an update. While the WP7 hardware internals are a year old, the OS is really great and the quality of apps is pretty astounding. Well, at least I had a WP7 device in there with some powerful smartphones.