Have you recently made the switch away from an iOS or Android smartphone over to a Windows Phone? Or, are you on the fence about switching, worried that your favorite app isn't available? Let me share with you some of the best apps currently available for the Windows Phone platform in this multi-part blog. Part one will focus on tools, productivity, news, weather, and miscellaneous apps. Part two will focus on gaming, social media, and multimedia apps. Maybe you'll see something that'll make you bite the bullet.
Tools & Productivity
My preferred app for keeping notes. Access all of your OneNote notebooks on the go, create new notes, checklists, audio recordings, and more. I use this for things like updating the shopping list that my wife and I use, recording audio brain-dumps, and pulling up saved recipes. If you're a die-hard Evernote fan and not quite ready to jump into the awesomeness that is OneNote, it's also available and gets decent reviews.
The built-in mail app is pretty functional and has the ability to link inboxes for a centralized view of all of your mailboxes. You can synchronize subfolders and even pin a subfolder directly to your Start screen for quick access.
Office Lens is a fantastic tool from Microsoft that allows you to take snaps of whiteboards, documents, and receipts and can save it to your OneDrive notebook (my preference), or converted to a Word or PowerPoint file and saved to your OneDrive. As Microsoft says, "Office Lens is like having a scanner in your pocket."
OneDrive is a Dropbox and Box.net killer, especially with everyone now getting 15GB for FREE. Access all of your files on-the-go with this official app. You'll also want to make sure to have your photos and videos backing up automatically to your OneDrive. You'll even get another 3GB free for setting that up.
My wife and I like using Mint on our laptops and our mobile devices (my Nokia Lumia 1520 and her iPhone 5C) to keep a kung-fu grip on our finances. The app has its own passcode to launch it so friends that are checking out your phone can't go snooping. It hasn't been updated since March, but it seems to be working just fine for me.
News & Weather
This was one of my favorite apps on iOS. I'm glad they finally made it over to Windows Phone. With so much competition, it's another situation where it's a matter of personal preference of how do you want to view your news.
Formerly Bing News, this is actually a really nice app to catch up on the news. I usually fire this up in the morning when I'm getting ready for work to get a quick dose of world happenings.
A fairly new app, it's a great way to stay up-to-date on tech news from sources such as TechCrunch, The Next Web, The Verge, WinBeta, and WP Central.
Powered by AccuWeather, this weather app has a feature called "MinuteCast" that gives you your hyper-local forecast in 1/5/15/30 minute intervals that is very accurate.
This is a very nice looking weather app powered by Weather.com and AccuWeather.com. Provides a pretty good looking live tile as well.
Who doesn't like saving a few bucks, especially if you have an app addiction? I use this to keep track of when paid apps go free or for a discount off the regular price.
With the latest 8.1 update to Windows Phone we now have support for Bluetooth 4.0 LE finally allowing FitBit devices to wireless sync with the app on the phone. You can even use Cortana to log foods and set alarms.
This is a pretty good GPS navigation app that allows you to completely download maps for offline use, saving your data plan from going over while out on the road. It also includes features like speed limit warnings that have been surprisingly accurate for me in my use of the app. This is much better on your battery than Waze which is available, but is reportedly no longer going to be updated.
The popular calorie-tracking app is also on Windows Phone.
We don't have RunKeeper on Windows Phone, but Runtastic is pretty... fantastic. Track all of your indoor & outdoor fitness and wellness activities with ease. Let your friends & family stalk track you on your runs live, if you're into that kind of thing. The pro version gets rid of ads, lets you add a heart rate monitor, and adds some other features, but the free version should meet most of your needs.