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Five apps to hope for on Phone 7

Microsoft showcases apps in development on You Tube

With the opening of Microsoft’s Phone 7 Marketplace expected in early October, the app development community is busy readying applications for users to download as soon as they get their hands on the new smartphones, which should also happen this fall.

Microsoft last week released the final version of the Windows Phone Developer Tools, a move our John Cox reports signals a more high-profile marketing campaign to enlist developers.

Some enthusiasts didn't need to be persuaded and have already been at work building their own apps, some as far back as the spring. Microsoft has created a You Tube page of about 25 apps in various stages of development. Here are five that are worth a closer look. Where I point out apparent shortcomings, I understand that these are works in progress so I don’t mean to be mean.

  • Grand Piano, by WrongWayGames. The developer narrates a video of the application that allows you to play a piano on your Phone 7 device. It shares a resemblance to the iPhone Pianist app, although it could also have been inspired by Piano Cat, in which hitting certain keys creates different meow notes. Nonetheless, Grand Piano has a full 88-note keyboard with the notes for each key identified. It can play chords as well as individual notes. While the app allows you to record the music you’re creating, the demo only shows the plink ... plink ... plink of individual notes slowly, so I’m not sure this is something Jerry Lee Lewis could work with. The app was built with Visual Studio 2010, Silverlight and XNA Audio extensions.
  • BulletAsylum, by UberGeekGames. The developers say they were inspired by Microsoft’s encouragement for Phone 7 developers to “do something epic.” This game is their contribution to the “defend the city from meteors” genre.
  • Headliners, a Phone 7 RSS Reader, by OkGoDolt, a team of Microsoft interns. Now here’s something this news junkie could actually use. Like most RSS readers, this app allows you to set up RSS news feeds and share specific stories with others via e-mail, Twitter. To add a bit of snarkiness to their demo, the last headline that appears on the screen reads: “iPhone not king.”
  • TWiT.tv, by Dimtry Lyalin. TWiT.tv is a site full of Web casts and podcasts on all things geeky. This app is already available on iOS and Android, so this is just another extension of the app to what Microsoft -- and Lyalin -- hope is the next big platform. Users can instantly watch video/audio streams of an episode or download the MP3 to the phone for offline listening, Lyalin said.
  • DroppyPop, by SpriteHand. No smartphone app marketplace would be complete without a few, silly, mindless game apps and DroppyPop delivers. Here’s the concept: A rag doll falls through a sky full of balloons, but you can slow the doll’s plummet to earth by popping the balloons or managing to grab hold of one. Use this app when there is absolutely no news of interest on #3, your Headliner RSS Reader.
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