Windows Phone 7 App Roundup for 10/25

Ah, closer to launch and more apps in the marketplace than a single byte could hold!   This is my personal look at what’s hot and what’s not in the phone marketplace.   Surely I’ll miss a few things but hopefully will catch them next time.

What’s Hot:

Netflix (Entertainment), free

Really not much more to say, is there?  Browse titles, view your instant queue, play back, etc.  It’s clean and simple.  What I haven’t done is tried to use this over 3G while in a moving car, as we all know streaming can be painful in these situations.  I did try 3G streaming while in downtown Atlanta (where I typically have excellent 3G coverage) and it worked great.  If the phone had video out, this would be incredible.

Cocktail Flow (Lifestyle), $2.99 (no trial)

This is simply the best app to date for mixed drinks/cocktails on the phone.  Functionality is all you could want:  you can look up drinks a number of ways, and even select what you have in your cabinet and it will tell you what drinks you can make.  The graphics are beautiful … negatives:  it doesn’t have a trial, and doesn’t seem to support themes. 

Magic Black Ball (Entertainment), free

This is one of the 5 8-ball apps already in the marketplace.   Virtually none of them have trials, and this one is free but ad supported.  This one seems to be the nicest one of the group, and the graphics are decent/authentic and the answers are what you’d expect (for example, one of the other 8-balls only gives you yes/no answers). 

Sudoku! (by SideJob / Games), $0.99 (has trial)

This is my favorite Sudoku game on the phone, with “Sudoku” by Reflection IT coming in second.  Both are capable, but Sudoku! seemed more natural to play, supports zoom and different puzzle sizes.  Both have a trial, so check them out and see which one you like better.

What’s Not:

I actually decided to erase this part because I felt calling out the shops doing what I consider “lame development” will be obvious over time and I didn’t want to give them free publicity.   One approach a shop has taken has been to charge 99 cents for some lame app and offer no trial, so there is no way to review the app unless you purchase it.  The developer has purchased their own app, and leaves it 5 stars pretending to be a real customer.   Those going by ratings alone and not realizing it may purchase a lame app.  In these cases, I think developers deliberately don’t put in a trial to avoid a flood of poor ratings.

In fairness, many developers are responding to questions others have left, and since there isn’t an option to leave “no rating", you’re kind of stuck.   I and others have done that, but hopefully we make it clear that it’s the developer responding to comments.  But that’s not what I’m talking about – I’m specifically referring to shill / fake reviews by the developer, like, “This app is AWESOME!  It ROXXX!! A+++++ … clearly the best in the marketplace today!” … c’mon.   It’s almost amusing to look at the same user leave the same glowing feedback for all the apps their “company” puts out there.

Conclusion:  check out the reviews.  If there is no trial and no (or limited) feedback, realize you are rolling the dice.

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