Windows Phone 7 is on the horizon, with the launch of the new phone platform in the U.S. on Nov. 8. We just reviewed both the Samsung Focus and the HTC Surround, and while we think the OS needs more additions to catch up to iOS 4.1 and Android 2.2, we like what we’ve seen so far. One thing we especially like are the apps available at launch, and Microsoft estimates there will be 1,000 in store on day one.
Because there are minimum hardware requirements for Windows Phone 7 devices, like 480 x 800 resolution, a 1-GHz processor, and the same six physical buttons, it’s a lot easier for app developers to jump in. Much like the iOS platform, when you know exactly what you’re programming for, you generally can create a better all-around app. With the Android platform, developers have to account for the many different kinds of Android phones whether it’s a Nexus One, a Samsung Epic 4G, or a Motorola Charm.
Windows Phone 7 has a nice assortment of apps from major players like Facebook and Netflix. What’s interesting here is that the apps all are consistent with the Windows Phone 7 platform, featuring big menu lettering and the ability to swipe left or right to cycle through in-app options. What’s also nice is that users can try out paid Xbox Live games before buying them. We’ve hand-picked ten apps and games that will add a lot to your initial Windows Phone 7 experience should you choose to board the early adopter train.
The classic PopCap game comes to stunning life on Windows Phone 7. The game is fast, addictive, and fun. The object of the game is to three jewels of the same color in row to score points. Matching more than three jewels or starting a chain reaction of jewel alignments earns you more points. While the game is a little dated, both old fans and new recruits will find it satisfying.
The Windows Phone 7 iteration of Facebook is pretty slick for being a first version. We actually like it more than the Android version, which feels less polished and intuitive than the iPhone and WP7 versions. The clean interface lets you choose from your news feed, photos, inbox, events, friends, profile, requests, notes, and settings. Each time you select a new category, more menus pop up that simplify navigation. For example, when you tap events, the page pops up with upcoming events and birthdays. All of this makes for a deep, fine-tuned experience.
Film fanatics with Windows Phone 7 devices shouldn’t be without Flixter. This app lets you find movies showtimes, movie ratings from reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, and the latest info on the box office. The stylish menu lets you choose from box office, theaters, upcoming, DVDs, search, and settings.
The other major social network that starts with F is one of the first to show up on the Windows Phone 7 platform. If you’ve never used Foursquare, the platform lets you connect with your real-life friends and share your locations, while earning badges and sharing advice about places. The menu lets you cycle through places, tips, and friends.
It seems like Netflix will eventually be available on every platform in existence, and Windows Phone 7 is no exception. We could only get the app to work over Wi-Fi, but the video streamed well. Episodes of TV shows like 30 Rock and Dexter and movies like Crank: High Voltage and Gamer looked great during our tests. If you have a Netflix account and plan to take the Windows Phone 7 plunge, there’s no reason to be without this app.