SkyDrive is a file hosting service offered by Microsoft, that allows the user to upload and sync their files to a cloud storage to access at any time from a web browser or the local device. The official Skydrive application for Windows Phone 8 (and 7.5) provides the user with the following features :
- Upload photos or videos from a Windows Phone 7.5/8 device
- Access uploaded content (including files shared with the user)
- Search (for files and folders)
- Share files and photos by sending a link
- Managing files (eg. delete, rename, move, or create a new folder)
- View recently used documents
eBay’s official PayPal application is available in the Windows Phone marketplace. The app allows the user to send and request payments, check their balances, withdraw funds, view previous transactions, and find local merchants that use the PayPal Here service. The device owner receives a Live Tile notification as soon as they receive a payment Via PayPal.
Note: some features may not be supported in certain countries.
Rudy Huyn’s Wikipedia application is currently the best Windows Phone 8 app available in the marketplace. The app allows its user to view Wikipedia articles easily, search articles in 100 languages, view the summary of articles, view previous versions of the article, share articles (social networks such as Twitter or FaceBook), and support Pocket (formally known as “Read It Later”) and Instapaper.
Flashlight X is one of the best free flashlight applications available for Windows Phone. The app supports all Windows Phone devices and takes advantage of the phone’s LED flash to light up the location. The light quickly turns on as soon as the app is active. According to the app developer, the user will not experience any flickering with the new version.
Other features of the app :
- Shows the phone’s battery life (percentage)
- Shake the phone to switch on/off
- Use the phone’s camera button to switch on/off
- Compass available when the user needs directions
- SOS mode
- App still works while the phone is locked
Skype for Windows Phone 8 allows the user to instant message their contacts, make free video and voice calls, and stay in contact with family and friends. The user can receive message and call notifications while the app is closed (app might be running in the background to use this feature).
Microsoft recommends the use of WP8 Skype app over an unlimited data plan or Wi-Fi connection. Take note, the application requires a Windows Phone 8 device to have a minimum of 512 MB of RAM for the best quality experience.
The Amazon Mobile application for Windows Phone allows the user to search and buy products listed at any Amazon store around the world. With the app, it is also possible to compare prices of products, read reviews, and share items. Amazon customers can access their shopping cart, order history, wish lists and payment information.
Thumb Munkey’s Sketch Windows Phone 8 application is one of the best apps available for converting photos into pencil style drawings. The app also allows the user to share the drawings with their friends Via FaceBook, Twitter, Photobucket, Tumblr, and Flickr.
Features of the application :
- Support for Photobucket, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Flickr
- Gray or color pencil sketch styles
- Quick processing
- Adjustable intensity, outlines, brightness and contrast
- Swipe to change effect or reveal
- Picture hub integration
Note: this free version of the application is ad-supported.
The YouTube application allows the user to play YouTube videos on their Windows Phone 8 device. The YouTube icon can be tapped to open the browser to where the user can sign into their YouTube account and browse millions of videos uploaded by the YouTube community. The application is also integrated with the Music and Videos hub.
SoundHound is a music recognition application for Windows Phone 8. The app has the ability to name a song that is playing Via a speaker, in as little as four seconds, and the user has the option of purchasing a track directly from the Zune marketplace. The application’s LiveLyrics feature allows the user to view lyrics in time with the music that you identified using the app.
What is new in version 2.0 for Windows Phone 8? :
- Search performance has been improved
- Fast app resume and switching
- Music app and player control integration
- Voice command integration (the user can launch SoundHound with their voice)
- Live tiles and multiple tile size support
- Support for multiple screen sizes
The WhatsApp messenger for smartphones allow the user to send messages to their friends and family over Wi-Fi or a 3G network. With the app, the user can send and receive messages (text or video), pictures, and audio notes. The first year of the service is free, however, the user will be required to pay a small fee for the following years if they continue to use the service.