The top 10 business apps you need for Windows Phone 8
'There just aren't enough good Windows Phone apps' is an accusation often levelled at Microsoft's smartphone OS. However, the number of Windows Phone apps available, like the OS's market share, is on the way up — here's our handy guide to some of the better ones that should be gracing your smartphone.
And where better to start than with a Microsoft app only available for Windows Phone and designed for Office users.
Recently released by Microsoft, Office Remote turns your Windows Phone 8 device into a remote control for the Word, Excel or PowerPoint documents on the desktop.
It's handy for giving presentations: while you walk around the boardroom table talking up your BYOD strategy, you can be changing the PowerPoint slides shown on the wall display straight from your Windows phone.
Office Remote relies on companion 'add-in' software installed on the desktop and operates over a Bluetooth connection. (Worth noting: it won't work on Office for RT.)
While there are third-party tools to access Dropbox, the company hasn't produced a dedicated Windows Phone app for its popular storage and sharing service.
For those seeking an alternative, however, there's Box, which is stepping up its enterprise credentials and has its own Windows Phone app.
The free app comes with 5GB free storage and offers support for 75 document types, including Photoshop and AutoCAD. There's also a few enterprise admin features, such as restricting downloads to the device and support for two-factor authentication. (Also worth noting: new Windows Phones come with 7GB of free storage on Microsoft's own SkyDrive service and, as you'd expect, there's a SkyDrive app too.)
While Android and iOS users can use Google's Authenticator app to generate one-time codes for Google, Microsoft and other accounts, there isn't a Windows Phone equivalent, which leaves those needing two-factor support on their Microsoft mobiles having to look elsewhere.
That's where Microsoft's Authenticator comes in: since the code generator is built on the same industry standard that Google is using, the app works wherever Google Authenticator does — handy given Microsoft rolled out two-factor authentication for online services accessed using a Microsoft Account in April, including Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, Outlook.com, SkyDrive, and Office.
One minor wrinkle with Authenticator — oddly, it doesn't work for Office 365.
If you're looking for an alternative, while Google Maps isn't on Windows Phone store, there's always Google-owned Waze instead. Besides real-time traffic info and routing advice, it also taps information from other users about police traps, hazards, and the cheapest places to buy fuel.
If keeping track of all the alphanumeric combinations for your various online services is getting too much for you, the LastPass password manager app will soon offer one way of securely storing your panoply of passwords.
Making its way to Windows Phone 8 this January, the app remembers the passwords for important sites and offers time-saving features such as login autofill and a password generator. The app comes with a small annual cost, although there is a 14-day free trial offer.
Price: Free trial, $12 per year.
Seecrypt is coming soon to Windows Phone.
There are secure messaging apps, such as Good Technologies' one for Windows Phone, but they only work if there's a server implementation at the office, while other popular app-based encrypted messaging services are only available for iOS or Android.
However, Seecrypt says it is planning to release a Windows Phone app soon, which is expected to arrive next year. Like LastPass, you can expect to pay a small per-month fee, or test it out for nothing.
Price: free three-month trial, $3 a month
Microsoft's popular Remote Desktop app has had millions of Android installs and solid reviews from Android iOS users, but there's nothing for Windows Phone. Or not yet, at least — the app is reportedly on its way to Windows Phone too, but Microsoft hasn't said when.
Fortunately, there are other Windows Phone apps that do a similar task, including TeamViewer, PC Remote and Splashtop Personal, which provides remote access to files and media on Mac or Windows PCs.
Like the Android version, Splashtop is a free app, but to access files over the internet, users need to subscribe first — for Windows Phone users that means heading over to the company's website.
Paper documents, bills, receipts and physical business cards might be rarer these days but they do still exist, filling up wallets and getting lost just when you need them. For those documents you really need to keep hold of, there's no better way to ensure they live on in digital form than by scanning them on the spot
The CamScanner app gives the user a portable scanner, which offers SkyDrive integration, text search, tagging, PDF conversion, auto detect, and cropping.
Meetings in restaurants, bars and cafes are a part of business, so there's no reason not to tap the roughly 47 million community reviews and Yelp's location services to find that perfect catch-up spot.
Weave News Reader
News of Flipboard's arrival on Windows Phone has been around ever since Nokia announced the Lumia 1020 in July, but the app still hasn't landed yet (though Flipboard says Windows Phone is next on its roadmap).
In the meantime, Windows Phone users can scan and flip through news items and social media content with Weave. The free app comes with ads included, while the $9.99 version cuts them out.
Price: Free with ads, $9.99 without.