Apps I install on my phones

I noticed a thread running on Jason Langridge’s blog about “What are the first 10 applications you install on your phone?“, and thought I’d join in.

As always, conciseness is not my strong point – instead of trying to figure out which would be the first ten apps I’d install, I’ve ended up listing all the Windows Mobile apps I use regularly. (Ah well, if nothing else, it’ll be useful to have all the links in one place the next time I have to hard-reset one of my devices!)

I’ve tried to sort the list roughly in order of how much I use the apps.

bLADE Wiki
Developer: erm… me!
Cost: free
What: A wiki-based personal note-taking app.
I tend to live out of this app. I record everything here: ideas, project materials, reference info, links, meeting notes, code snippets, everything. Run on the Redfly, it really shines – making it an awesome note-taking device.

Pocket Outlook
Developer: Microsoft
Cost: free (preinstalled on ROM)
What: E-mail, SMS, Tasks, Calendar
My PDA is my primary diary, and I refer to it several times a day. The Outlook Tasks list is the base for my personal GTD system, and everything I need to do goes in there.

bLADE Email Triage
Developer: me again
Cost: free
What: E-mail app extension to turn emails into Tasks, Diary or note items
I will often ignore my email while at my desk, letting ActiveSync copy them to my PDA. Then I use random chunks of time – between meetings or while waiting for people – to quickly triage my inbox. I don’t read emails in this time – just skim them to get an idea of what it’s about. Am I being asked to do something? Am I being given some information? Am I being invited to something? The idea is to quickly clear the Inbox by moving emails to my Task list, my Calendar, or my wiki.

Developer: VITO
Cost: $4.95
What: Alt-Tab utility
Small, simple utility, but one that I use *a lot*!

Pocket Internet Explorer
Developer: Microsoft
Cost: free (preinstalled on ROM)
What: Web browser
I do a lot of web browsing on my phones. I’d do more if I could only get a cell signal at work!

Pocket Internet Explorer plugins
Developer: another one of mine
Cost: free
What: Web browser extensions
Utilities that make Internet Explorer more useful – get the current URL and turn it into a TinyURL, post it to (I’m using this less now in favour of Google Shared Items), transcode the current page, or search for selected text in Google. a

Opera Mobile 8.65
Developer: Opera
Cost: free (preinstalled in ROM)
What: Web browser
I have Opera set to identify itself as a desktop browser – and use PIE when I want to do more ‘typical’ mobile web browsing, and Opera when I want a richer web experience. I like the tabs, and the download manager, but sometimes it feels a little slow and heavyweight.

Windows Media Player Mobile
Developer: Microsoft
Cost: free (preinstalled in ROM)
What: Media player
My car stereo is set up to play sounds out of my PDA, and is where this gets a lot of use. I listen to a lot of podcasts on my phone, and it has nearly replaced Radio 4 as my audio entertainment of choice.

Pocket Scrobbler
Developer: Picaresque
Cost: free
What: scrobbler for Windows Media Player Mobile.
Scrobble in real-time while on the go. Very cool.

Developer: HTC
Cost: free (preinstalled on ROM)
What: Close (rather than minimise) apps
I don’t use this for many apps – I’m normally happy to let Windows Mobile manage processes. But this is a must for Windows Media Player – if you pause it in the middle of a long (1hr+) podcast, it keeps way too much of it in memory, leaving virtually nothing left for other programs. Much easier to just kill WMP if I know that I’m not going to need it for a while.

Developer: another of mine
Cost: free
What: Twitter from the Today screen
It’s not perfect, it’s not finished, but I’m increasingly sending most of my tweets with this. Again, I’d send more if I could only get a cell signal at work! Damn you, T-Mobile!

Developer: Lonely Cat Games
Cost: free
What: Mobile IM client – works with MSN and GoogleTalk
Very cool. If only it worked on the Redfly!

Developer: me
Cost: free
What: Password (and other personal codes and ID) manager
I did use SplashID ($29.95) for years – both on Palm and Windows Mobile – but frustrations with it’s limitations led me to come up with my own version.

bLADE Edit
Developer: little ol’ me
Cost: free
What: Notepad for Windows Mobile
Ideal for when you get a file that you can’t open with anything else. I’ve used it to edit scripts, batch files, HTML, CSS, and all sorts of other stuff. Feature-free, but very useful when no other app will do.

Pocket Office
Developer: Microsoft
Cost: free (preinstalled on ROM)
What: Mobile versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint
There is sadly no avoiding Word docs and spreadsheets, so it’s very useful to be able to work on these on the go. In particular, they are a big part of work in roles such as a charity trustee or school governor.

Spb Finance
Developer: Spb Software House
Cost: $24.95
What: Personal finance manager – syncs with Microsoft Money on the desktop
It comes with two GUIs – a quick entry client for capturing transactions, and a full-featured mini-version of MS Money. I record everything we spend in this, and it helps with sorting out the bills.

Developer: Fictionwise
Cost: free
What: eBook reader
I rarely read paper books now – most of my fiction reading is done in this. I read a couple of books a month, so it sometimes feels like I spend a fortune on But it’s worth it – I love reading like this.

Pocket Sharp MT
Developer: Randy Rants
Cost: free
What: WordPress-compatible mobile blogging client
I love this. It comes with a desktop version which syncs with the mobile app, so you can work on a blog post on both your phone and your desktop – posting from whichever. The mobile version has all the features I would ask for. Being able to work on blog posts while offline is great.

Developer: Garish Kernels
Cost: $12.95
What: RSS client with support for enclosures (e.g. podcasts)
I used to use this as my main RSS reader – letting it download feeds overnight that I could read throughout the day. Since signing up to an unlimited mobile data plan, the need to download feeds while at home isn’t as important. And it became a pain seeing the same items when I checked my feeds on a desktop feedreader.
I’ve since switched to Google Reader, using the mobile version on PIE or the iPhone version in Opera Mobile.
I still keep Egress around, but it’s become mostly a podcast downloader for me now.

TomTom Navigator 5
Developer: TomTom
Cost: Can’t remember. A lot!
What: GPS Sat Nav
Installed on a phone with integrated GPS, this is very cool. Never need to worry about getting lost… which is ideal for someone like me with no sense of direction!

Pocket Informant 2007
Developer: WebIS
Cost: $29.95
What: PIM
I bought this because everyone raves about it, but I never really got into it. It just felt too heavyweight for me – slow and clunky. I actually prefer the default Windows Mobile Task / Calendar / Contact apps!
Since getting the Redfly, I’ve started giving the Tasks app in Pocket Informant another go, as the ability to set the font size quite small for the big screen, together with more advanced filtering, might actually make it quite useful.

Adobe Reader LE
Developer: Adobe
Cost: free (preinstalled on ROM)
What: PDF reader
PDFs are everywhere. So it’s good to be able to read them without waiting to get back to your computer.

bLADE Camera
Developer: this one’s mine
Cost: free
What: Camera which can upload to flickr
An extension to the in-built cameraphone app, with the ability to post pics to flickr. Now I’m a paid-up pro flickr member, I’ve got no excuse not to use this more!

Pocket PuTTY
Developer: Ales Berka
Cost: free
What: SSH client
This is becoming increasingly useful at home since we got a home Linux server. It’s quite cool to be able to SSH to it without needing a computer.

Live Search Mobile
Developer: Microsoft
Cost: free
What: A Mobile Yellow Pages
Find businesses in your local area – once you find what you want, it can give you directions, help you phone them, display maps, and so on. This is really useful app – one of Microsoft’s more refined Windows Mobile programs.

Google Maps for Mobile
Developer: Google
Cost: free
Like Live Search Mobile, but not as good. I keep both of them installed because it’s interesting to compare, but I almost always use Live Search first.

bLADE Disk View
Developer: I made this
Cost: free
What: Displays disk usage in the form of a treemap
I don’t need this very often, but I keep it installed for those times when you are running low on storage and want to know quickly what is filling up your PDA.

Developer: Barry White
Cost: free
What: London Underground route planner
This is my least used app purely because I so rarely go to London. It’s very cool – and also my only regularly used Midlet app!

That’s all of them. I’ve used lots more, but these are the ones that are continually useful enough for me to keep them installed.

Oh – and apologies if including a few of my own in there looks like self-promotion… but I really do use them! 🙂

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4 Responses to “Apps I install on my phones”

  1. […] loaded with my favourite apps, it can do everything on my list above and […]

  2. […] mentioned a few times before that I use a personal wiki-based notetaking app to keep myself […]

  3. Anders Holt says:

    Hello Dale, I use uor wiki – as a very good substitute for Notestudio, after having moved from Palm os to windows mobile on my Treo pro. Thank you for this program!!!

    A question: Do you use taskswitcher (bought it tonight, but i can not get it to work on my treo pro – do you?

    Anders Holt

  4. dale says:

    @Anders – Thanks very much for the comment – very kind.

    I’ve not tried taskswitcher on the Treo, I tend to use the one which came with the Celio Redfly software or the one on the Treo Pro’s Today screen.