Sunday, May 20, 2012

Apps I use on my Nokia Lumia

Once in a while a device comes in that you just love, and makes you feel special. Nokia Lumia 800, for me, has been just that. It is simply the most beautiful piece of electronic craft made. And it has been about five months that I have been using this device. So, this is probably good time to give you an idea of the apps that I use on my Lumia device on day-to-day basis.


OS Apps

Now usually one would forget about these ‘Apps’, but these are actually the apps we use most on daily basis. The phone app, the contacts app (people’s hub), the calendar app, the e-mail app (linked mail-box) and browser app (IE 9) are the ones that I use the most. And I would safely guess that this is the case with most. Naturally, using these apps built into the OS is the first hand experience that you would get of any platform. And I must say that the experience here is absolutely premium, perfect and pleasing.

The second set of OS apps, that I use less regularly are: music hub (Zune and others), picture hub (camera app and others) and of-course the office hub (more on this later in the post). I am very much pleased with the design of music hub, but at the same time miss some important things: An equalizer and ability to create on-device playlists. The camera is good, but the app asks for more usability: the controls are simply not easily accessible. I would, in fact, call out on camera app and make it standout as an outlier in the whole of the Metrofied design world of Windows Phone. It needs a serious re-design.


I love OneNote. And I use it extensively. To have it exclusively available in Office Hub was one of the prime reasons for me to choose Windows Phone 7 over other platforms. Though OneNote is quite well done in its mobile version, there are some of the things I miss : save web clip, insert video clip; stuff that I need to get my work done. I do use other Apps: Word and PowerPoint, Evernote, Adobe reader, kindle reader and the amazing offline app, PC Remote Pro and SSH Client Pro, handyscan. Apart from these I also regularly use Skype, the Weather app and the World time app all of which are well designed and very useful for me. Intermittently, I use the Sports tracker to see how much of my walking/cycling skills have improved Winking smile 



Not much to say here except to say that I just love the concept of TouchDevelop. There is nothing on other platforms that brings back the joy of programming the way TouchDevelop does. And that too, you just need your smartphone for your perfect program. Although, I would entirely leave it to you, if you actually want to take up coding. Although, if you ever want to give it a try, TouchDevelop will be a no barrier fun programming experience. To see the ‘scripps’ (script apps, the term I just coined Winking smile ) I have written visit:



As I said before, I simply don't like the inbuilt camera interface. There is a lot to be improved here. Hopefully Nokia can do something about it. In the meantime though, there are some excellent photo editing apps that I regularly use: Nokia Creative studio, Thumba photo editor, InstaCam and PhotoFunia. I also regularly use Flickr to upload my photos.



The inbuilt cam-coder is good enough. What is missing however is a good in device movie editor like Windows moviemaker. This is very much desired if we are to be able to post edited videos on social media. Without this, strangely, the so-called social features of Windows Phone are incomplete.


Before I got my Nokia Lumia, I hardly used to play games. But this Windows Phone hooked me to many games. And, no, Angry Birds is not one of them (though I have it installed on my phone anyways). The games I love most are: Wordament, Shuffle Party, Breeze and occasionally Chess4All and Packman 7. The Xbox integration seems also to be well done, although I personally don't use one.



For Twitter and Facebook, I simply use the People’s Hub. With groups and contact live tiles, this is simply what I need to stay connected on these social networks. There are official apps for Twitter and Facebook, but I simply do not feel the need for them, at least for now. I also use Foursquare and LinkedIn app which are far superior in design and usability when compared to other platforms.


The Special Nokia Apps

I regularly use Nokia Maps and Nokia Transport. Nokia Drive is also used occasionally. All these apps are exceptionally useful and are simply not available on other platforms; for that matter even WP7 phones from other manufactures. This was also one of the reasons I chose to get a Lumia device when switching over to WP7.

Music and Instruments

I love to hear instrumentals and especially Indian classical. Zune, with music got from flipkart does the job for me. I occasionally use the inbuilt radio app, the TuneIn Radio (for BBC), SoundHound and PrimeTube (for Youtube). I also love fiddling around with instruments so I use PianoPhone 7, Honey Guitar, Drum Kit and Synth Free. Hopefully, one day, I can create something interesting like this:

Metro : Track created using free Windows Phone apps


Local Apps

These are apps that are probably of relevance to only Indian users. I regularly use Zomato (the design is just too buttery and the operation smooth) and occasionally Flipkart, ebay India and IndianRail app.



Some of the apps that I don’t regularly use but are quite handy and sometimes just fun: Flashligh X, SkyDrive (I use office hub integration), Google search app, Microsoft Academic Search, Face Swap and Face Mask, Fantasia Painter Free, Function Plotter and Jack of Tools.



1) A lot of people crib about windows phone not having enough apps. After using Nokia Lumia for about five months, I can surely say that windows phone is not short of quality apps that you will *actually use*.

2) Two things I miss is official Google Maps and GTalk app. While there are alternative third party apps, they are not exactly of great quality. While Nokia maps can be any day be substituted for Google Maps, GTalk integration to People’s Hub would be great.

3) All icons used here are owned by respective owners of the apps and are reproduced here for information purpose only.