Windows Phone Wednesday: Two free Xbox LIVE games, soccer sale, and apps I like

Microsoft released two new free Xbox LIVE games this week and the application count continues to grow at over 27,000 in the MarketPlace.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributor on

My daughter Mal has been using a Windows Mobile device for at least a year and about 10 days ago I gave her a Samsung Focus with Mango loaded on it to test out. As you can read in her post she is very excited about Windows Phone 7 and is already asking for a new phone for Christmas.

WP7 application tracking sites have the number of apps currently at 27,116 and 23,765, but I read from Microsoft Tweets that the count is over 27,000 so that is a good number to go with. The trend continues upwards and as we get closer to Mango I hope to see that continue.

This week is a special week for Microsoft and the Xbox LIVE releases as we are getting TWO new games in a week and both are available for FREE. Sudoku and Minesweeper are both available in the MarketPlace. These are classic games and the great thing about having them now available in the Xbox LIVE arena is that we can now start earning achievements while enjoying these great games. I am installing both on my phones, especially at the price of $0.

I coach soccer and thus as soon as I saw PES 2011 - Pro Evolution Soccer launch on Windows Phone 7 I purchased it for $4.99. This game is the Xbox LIVE Deal of the Week and is available now for $2.99.

Now that my HD7 is getting a bit old and I am finding it is my preferred Windows Phone device with the latest developer version of Mango I decided to take steps and replace the 16GB microSD card with a 32GB one so now I have a 32GB HD7 and Dell Venue Pro running Mango on T-Mobile. I reloaded all my apps and games (for the love of God Microsoft, please roll out an update that makes this process easier even if that means simply listing what apps we already purchased in the MarketPlace) and also discovered a few new ones that I wanted to share with you.

  1. INRIX Traffic
    : We have a pretty serious traffic issue in the Puget Sound area with limited roads to get into and out of the city of Seattle. I was just made aware of a very cool traffic app this week and noted there is an update coming that makes it even better. As the folks at WPCentral noted INRIX Traffic has an update coming that will add traffic forecasts for the next 8 hours to help you plan. This forecast is based on gathered historical traffic data and construction projects in the area. Landscape support is added too, but I don't see a Live tile yet.
  2. USA Today: I enjoy getting the USA Today at my hotel when I travel and like the quick snippets of news that let me decide if I need to look further. There is now a slick USA Today app for Windows Phone 7 that includes support for a Live tile.
  3. Evernote: Yes, we have OneNote on Windows Phone 7, but I am a multi-platform guy and think that Evernote is a much more powerful solution. They just released an updated version of Evernote for Windows Phone that adds rich text editing, URL sharing, checkboxes, and much more. This is an app that has earned a spot above the fold on my Start screen and since it is free I don't see why you are not at least giving it a try.
  4. OverDrive Media Console: I love to read ebooks and one of the reasons I prefer devices like the Kobo or Nook is that I can check out public library books while the Kindle still doesn't support this. I was looking for a Kobo app and discovered OverDrive Media Console for WP7. OverDrive is the company that powers most of the public library ebook "stores" and thus with this application on your Windows Phone you can check out public library books for free and read or listen (audiobooks are supported too) to books on the go.
  5. rowi: Mango does have Twitter integration, but it is very limited and really just useful for posting a quick Tweet to your account so you still need a good Twitter client. I tested out several and found rowi to be the most reliable with giving me Toast and Live tile updates while also having a fairly slick user interface. I paid $2.99 for the paid version with notifications and no ads and appreciate the notifications support.

I am trying to get a video game review up this week and want to start these on a regular basis too. The problem is I have SO many games and so little time to play them. Please let me know if there are any particular games you wish to hear more about.


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