Microsoft’s newest mobile phone OS, Windows Phone 7, is so much different from the Pocket PC and Windows Mobile platforms that their apps aren’t compatible. However, the incompatibility isn’t all bad. Now you’ll find newer, fresher, and better overall apps —rivaling those for the iPhone and Android.
Here you’ll discover 50 of the best Windows 7 free apps, all of which you can find in the Windows Phone Marketplace on your phone or PC with Zune.
Now get your app on!
Productivity and Business
1) Adobe Reader
This lets you open PDF files on your phone. Great for viewing work materials, product literature or manuals, articles, and other documents.
This task manager lets you store, organize, and view your notes, lists, and tasks anywhere with your phone. Best of all, you can create a free account with the Remember the Milk service and then you can sync your information across many other devices and applications, including Outlook, Gmail, and Google Calendar.
Access your PC files anywhere on your phone. Show off your photos and videos, listen to music, or grab files for work or school. Sign up for their service, install the agent program on your PC, and access your stuff on the phone or on the web. You can even setup sharing to give others access.
Studying for a test or exam? Throw out the paper cards and use this app. Test yourself on the preloaded topics or create your own. Problem cards can be tagged so you know where improvement is needed.
Print or fax right from your phone. That way you won’t have to bring up the document or site again on your computer. Once you signup for a free account and install the Windows client on your PCs, you’ll be able to print via the Internet on your phone. Keep in mind, the free version puts a watermark on certain documents. Faxing requires purchasing credits, around 10 cents a page.
6) Back Burner
Ever wish you could keep up with everything? Well, this app can certainly help. When you see an interesting article or webpage on your computer or phone, add it to your Read It Later account which is synced between all your computers and devices. Then when you have the time, you can bring it back up on your phone or PC.
7) My Merchant
If you use the popular credit card processor, Authorize.Net, you can bill clients and customers right from your phone. Just enter your Authorize.Net settings and you’ll have a mobile credit card gateway.
This gives you tools to help manage and grow your business. You can manage your contacts, ideas, notes, projects, sales, and tasks. It can also share and sync the information among multiple devices and people.
Share and collaborate among your team or workgroup. Share ideas, messages, files, and Google Docs. It’s like Facebook for work. The best part, the app and the basic service is free.
Fun, Entertainment, and Enjoyment
10) Xbox LIVE Extras
A must-have if you’re a regular Xbox player. Customize your 3D Avatar, review your achievements, and socialize with your Xbox LIVE friends. Keep up with what games your friends are playing and how well they’re doing.
Bored? Try this simple yet addictive game. Its like those balance ball toys. Use careful motion to move the ball through the maze of obstacles.
If Chess is your game, you got to get this. Play the “computer” or play and chat with other Windows Phone 7 users online. It highlights moves to help improve your game.
Play this classic game with the “computer” or a nearby friend. Play 3×3 or 6×6 games. Always a great game to play when you or your kids are bored.
14) Backgrounds 10,000 Wallpapers
Tired of your Windows Phone 7 background? Search and pick from these 10,000+ wallpapers spread over 50 categories, from Animals to Valentine’s Day. Give your phone a personal look!
15) Silly Soundboard
Lighten the mode or play a prank with a variety of sound bites, including an air horn, clapping, laughing, StarWars, and animal noises. Play just once, multiple times, combine together, and adjust pitch.
Searching and Information
For all you YouTube addicts! This gives you a shortcut to their mobile website where you can browse videos and login to see your favorites and playlists. Even better, it integrates with the Music & Videos hub where you can access your recently played videos and gives you another shortcut to the YouTube site.
Get quick access to current location-based weather, forecasts, and interactive radar maps. You don’t have to wait for the next TV newscast—check the weather any time from your phone.
With the growth of mobile phones comes new versions of bar codes. Microsoft calls their bar codes Tags, scanable on Windows Phone 7 with this app. Like QR Codes for Android devices, Tags can open a webpage, dial a phone number, or take some other action on the phone. You can find them in businesses, on marketing materials, websites, pretty much anywhere.
19) PhraseMeme Scanner
This multi-format barcode scanner lets you scan all the popular barcodes. Easily compare prices while shopping or scan QR codes on advertisements like Android phones do. See the result and then send to online services, such as Google Product Search, eBay, and Amazaon or share via text message, email, and social networks. The free trial is full-featured, you just have to deal with the nag screen.
Manage your Netflix account, or start a free trial membership, right from your phone. Search and browse movies, manage your Queue, watch TV shows and movies, and even start where you left off on your TV or computer.
21) Flickr Manager
The photo sharing service, Flickr, already has some presence in Windows Phone 7. You can see Flickr images from your friends who have linked their Flickr and Windows Live accounts. However, if you’re a full-fledged Flickr user, you’ll want more. The Flickr Manager lets you view and manage your photostream, view your favorites, sets, and tags, and those of your friends. You can even upload photos with GPS positions.
Next time it’s killing you that you can’t remember the artist of a song that’s playing, just point your phone to the music. This app will detect the song and give you the details. Reminisce over old tunes or discover new artists.
This gives you the world’s largest collection of movie, TV, and celebrity information in the palm of your hand. Look up showtimes, watch trailers, search for actors, view TV listings, and more.
24) 170,000+ Recipes – BigOven
Search and reference over 170,000 recipes. Discover new dishes and access the ingredient list when you’re at the store. Plus comment on or share recipes right from your phone.
Windows Phone 7 already integrates fairly well with Facebook. Installing the app gives you even more access to your Facebook account, including the inbox, messaging and events.
Are you a Follower and/or Tweeter? Install the official Twitter app to keep up with your friends, colleagues, and celebrities. It even detects your location and can give a map-based listing.
Similar to Foursquare, discover where are your friends are at and explore local locations. You can send Pings to friends and family, which are text messages containing your location info. Discover the favorites places your friends visit. You can check in to places to share your location with Facebook and Twitter friends.
Similar to Loopt, see what friends are around you and discover area businesses. You can also check in to places to share your location, discover where your friends frequent, and unlock rewards as you travel.
Have one or more Twitter and/or Facebook accounts? With this app, you can view and update all of them via one interface. Tweet and update your Facebook status at the same time. Plus share your location by geotagging your updates and share photos to photo sharing services.
If you blog with WordPress, this is a must-have app. Write or edit posts, view statistics, and moderate comments, all from your phone. Works with WordPress.com or hosted WordPress version 2.9 or later.
Tools and Utilities
31) Flashlight 7
No flashlight? Just pull out your phone and open this app. It can give you plenty of light in different colors and also comes in SOS, strobe, and police modes. Swipe up or down on the screen to adjust brightness or speed of the strobe or police lights.
32) Send to WP7
Lets you easily send website addresses or text from your computer’s web browser to your Windows Phone 7. This is great for sending directions or maps to your phone before running out the door.
33) Voice Recorder
Turns your phone into a digital voice recorder, great for podcasts, mental notes, meetings, and more. Record and edit audio notes, convert them into WAV files for use with other applications, and apply metadata descriptions. You can even sync the recordings to your computer via USB or Wi-Fi.
34) Calorie Counter By FatSecret
Gives you the tools to help you achieve your food, diet, and exercise goals with the free FatSecret service. You can find nutrition info and track your meals, exercise, and weight. Your information is sync with your account so you can track your progress anywhere on the web.
35) Unit Convertor by Microsoft
Quickly convert values of length, temperature, speed, time, volume, angles, weight, and area. You can even save conversions for later reference. This is great for all types of things, including the cooking, construction, and technical fields.
Store and retrieve loyalty, reward, and membership cards. Once you add cards to the app you can lighten your wallet, while still saving money or earning points.
37) IP Camera Viewer
Watch IP-based cameras and webcams right from your phone. Use to keep an eye on your home, office, or store. Check out public feeds or add your own.
38) Top Apps_
Want to discover more cool apps and games? This lists apps and games sorted by their rating, giving you the best of the best. You can also filter by categories and subcategories.
Gives you quick and easy access to live and recent scores for NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB games. Keep an eye on your favorite teams when you’re out.
If you’re a runner, this app can track your speed, distance, and estimated calories burned. The performance info and route map are saved for your future reference.
41) Runsat Free GPS Sports Tracker
Helps you track and share your runs, bikes, skates, walks, and more. It features manual and auto lap functions, auto pause, live map of your path, integrated diary, and online sharing.
If you’re into Mixed Martial Arts, including UFC or Strikeforce, this one is for you. Get details on news, events, and fighters.
Get distances to the front, center and back of greens and hole info for over 21,000 golf courses world-wide. Don’t see your favorite course, you can map it.
Gas prices can fluctuate quite a bit in town or across states. When you’re traveling or just out and about, use this app to see real-time gas prices. Quickly see the nearby stations or enter a desired location.
Tired of looking up time zones and doing the math when visiting or calling afar? Add your favorite locations to this app and you’ll always know the time—quick and easy.
46) Where’s My Car?
If you do a lot of driving or traveling, this can save you a big headache. Simply open the app and set your location. Then when its time to head back, open it back up for a map and directions. You can even take a photo for a visual. Even if you have good memory, it can come in handy when trying to explain to a family member how to get back.
Need advice on nearby restaurants, stores, and gas stations when you’re traveling or out on the town, just Yelp! Search this database for business details and reviews.
48) Translator by Microsoft
If you travel abroad, this is a must-have app. Enter words or phrases to translate between English, French, Italian, German, or Spanish. It even speaks in the native accent. Use in-person or study the language before hand. It’s history feature saves your translations for quick use later.
Convert amounts for 190+ currencies and four precious metals using OANDA Rates. Great when traveling abroad or doing international purchases or business. You can even factor in rates charged by your bank or credit card.
50) GPS App
Navigating on your phone is usually only done by entering an address. This app gives you support of the actual GPS coordinates. You can view your current coordinates and enter a pair to navigate to using a compass or map.
Eric Geier is a freelance tech writer. He has authored many networking and computing books for brands like For Dummies and Cisco Press. He’s also the founder of NoWiresSecurity, which helps businesses easily protect their Wi-Fi network.