Windows Phone Wednesday: Five apps that got me through the week

The Windows Phone 7 Marketplace continues to grow at a rate of over 400 apps a week and this week I take a look at five apps that served important purposes in my week.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

Another week has gone by and I am still having a blast with my 32GB Dell Venue Pro that I covered in more detail in my review this past week. The BIG news in the smartphone world this past week was obviously the Nokia Microsoft deal that some of us are more excited about than others. I am hopeful this will bring more people to the platform and thus continue to encourage application development. I have been considering getting into development myself and this partnership actually made my decision about which platform to consider a bit clearer.

Last week there were 7,852 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 8,258. This growth of 406 apps met the standard set in early January where we are still seeing over 400 apps per week appear for Windows Phone 7. Once again we have another a single Xbox LIVE game appearing. The new game is called Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night and it is a bit expensive at $6.99. I installed the trial version and after just about 15 minutes I uninstalled it since it is really not my style. I am also not a huge Tetris fan, which is what this game really is all about.

I took my Dell Venue Pro on the road this week and figured I would cover the apps that I found essential or served some vital need for me while I was out and about. You will see I covered most of these before, but they have received updates that make them essential for my needs.

  1. TeleNav GPS Navigator: I know I covered TeleNav GPS Navigator last week, but I just had to bring it up again for a couple reasons. I attended the TeleNav Waypoint event early last week and was able to check out future products and give feedback on products that I use. TeleNav on my Dell Venue Pro also saved the day when Google Maps Navigation on my Galaxy Tab took me to someone's house instead of the school where my daughter's basketball playoff game was being held. I pulled out my DVP, fired up TeleNav, and was there a few minutes later to watch her team win the game.
  2. Birdsong: I covered Birdsong in my Twitter apps post, but it has now been updated and moved into my top Twitter spot. It is much faster than before and I find the conversation view to be more essential than notifications, although I understand those are coming in an update too. Birdsong costs $1.99, but is definitely worth it.
  3. BringCast: I also previously talked about Bringcast in an earlier Windows Phone Wednesday article, but again it received an update since then and now supports playing and downloading under the lock screen, more feeds in the search database, and support for secure feeds wehre you have to enter a password. I use this app every few days to download podcasts view 3G or WiFi and wish the podcasts would appear in the Zune hub so I could play them and do other things on my WP7 device.
  4. govoice.png
    : It has now been a couple of years since I dialed into a traditional voicemail system thanks to Google Voice. I have my T-Mobile voicemail setup to all go through Google Voice and the first app I found for WP7 to support this was GoVoice. I see there are now other options, but I find GoVoice works very well at giving me my voicemail, allowing me to send and receive SMS through Google Voice, and providing an accurate live tile. GoVoice is available for $2.99.
  5. Metro Web Browser: I find the Internet Explorer browser on WP7 to be fine, but I also want more power and customization in my browsing experience so I have the Metro Web Browser installed. Metro gives you 24% more screen real estate in portrait orientation, supports Tweeting of pages, lets you share a page via text message, allows you the ability to save photos from the browser, and supports an unlimited number of tabs. This alternative web browser is also priced at the magical $1.99 price.

Please let me know a theme or topic of apps that you would like me to cover in the future? I am trying to mix things up, but as the Marketplace grows it does get harder to find essential and useful apps without overloading yourself too much.

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