It’s been about three months since I released my original App Hit List — a cursory look at whether the apps I had become accustomed to on the iPhone exist (or have replacements) in the Windows Phone 8 ecosystem. At the time, I was a bit surprised to find that many of the apps that I found to be critical had identical or good replacements. After three months, I want to revisit the list to see how things have changed.
I don’t want to re-post the entire list in this post, but rather point out the updates that have been made and see what’s still lacking. Here we go.
If you follow WP8 at all, then you’re familiar with the ongoing drama between MS and Google relating to creation of an officially sanctioned YouTube app. Long story short: there’s still no app available. It’s a mystery to me why Google would not want to allow MS to provide a solid user experience to Windows Phone users. Perhaps next year. In the meantime, I lean on the web-based interface.
Success! My bank of choice now has an official WP8 app which supports photo-based check deposits in addition to all the normal banking transactions I need. The interface isn’t the best, but it’s consistent with experience on the iPhone.
- Credit Cards
No progress. I use two credit cards for personal and business purposes. I am still lacking one of these apps. However, the mobile browsing experience is adequate for now.
- Cross-platform Grocery App
No progress. While I found the iOS version of Grocery IQ to be buggy and slow at times, it was a workable solution to share a grocery list with my wife. It was nice to be able to update her shopping list in real time while she shopped (and vice versa). I haven’t quite given up hope that a decent cross-platform app will one day appear. In the meantime, I make due with Microsoft’s Shopping List app and text messages and phone calls for the real-time updates.
- A Decent Weather App
Success! With the introduction of the updated Bing Weather app, WP8 now has a beautiful, fully functional weather app available. Bing News, Bing Sports, and Bing Finance round out the updated app offerings by MS.
While I am not a fan of updating my blog from a smartphone, the WordPress app can get the job done. Unfortunately, it’s still little more than a wrapper for the web interface. While I am hopeful that a better interface will be introduced, the WP8 experience is nearly identical with the iOS experience.
Progress! Recent updates to the LinkedIn app now provide a great, robust user experience on WP8. There’s still a little work to be done as I believe there is still some website functionality NOT yet available on the mobile app. But this is a great app that totally works.
OTHER NOTABLE APPS
I have stumbled upon other notable apps which I now find indispensable on the WP8 platform:
If you are an AVIS renter, then this app is a MUST. It fully adopts the WP8 design for the 8-step rental process making it smooth and fast. I can make a reservation in just a minute. Perfect.
I guess I didn’t need a bulleted list for this section. Oh well.
While I am very pleased that some of the gaps in the WP8 ecosystem are being filled, there are still some key apps that I would like to see quickly added to complete the list. Further, I would like to beg WP8 developers to adopt the navigation standards that Microsoft has set. The AVIS app mentioned above is the perfect example of how to marry a workflow with navigation standards to create a consistent user experience. I can understand that developers would like their WP8 app to be consistent with their iOS app and their Android app, but perhaps standardizing around the WP8 model is the best way to go. Look into it, developers!