Windows Phone 7 devices are social by their very nature. Even so, there are a tremendous number of apps you can use to expand on the device's ability to interact with your social network. This article discusses five such apps.
It's no secret that Windows Phone 7 offers native Facebook support. But the phone primarily covers the basics: You can post to your wall, upload photos, access your friends' Facebook pages, and make comments to your friends' posts.
While I applaud Microsoft's efforts to integrate the phone with Facebook, two main things are missing. First, the phone requires you to go to different places depending on what you want to do. For instance, if you want to see a friend's wall, you have to go through the People Hub. If you want to post to your own wall or check your notifications, you have to go to the Me hub. The other problem with the phone's native Facebook integration is that it can't use some of the more advanced Facebook features, such as groups.
There are a couple of alternatives to the native Facebook integration. Facebook offers a free app for Windows Phone 7 that allows you to access your Facebook content through a single interface. There is also a commercial app called Facebook+ that allows you to access some of the more advanced Facebook features. Facebook+ sells for $2.99.
2: Facebook Friends
Even though I already talked about Facebook, I just have to mention an app called Facebook Friends because it made me laugh. Facebook Friends is an app for the truly paranoid. It actively monitors your friends' list and notifies you when one of your friends has de-friended you. Facebook Friends sells for 99 cents.
3: Free Talk
Another cool social networking app is Free Talk. Free Talk is a Google Voice client for Windows Phone 7. It allows you to make phone calls without using up your minutes.
I chose to list Free Talk here because although unlimited plans are becoming much more common, they are far from being universal. My own cellular plan gives me unlimited data, but relatively few minutes. Free Talk is the perfect tool to use with such a plan. It can also benefit those who use Google Voice as a business line and who want to be able to make business calls without exposing their personal cell number.
Free Talk is available for $2.99, and there is also a free trial available.
4: Tweet It
The Mango release of Windows Phone 7 includes native Twitter support. But even though the phone allows you to send and receive tweets, the experience could be described as no frills. Tweet It seeks to address that problem by acting as a UI for Twitter. Not only does Tweet It make tweeting more efficient, it also lets you compose draft tweets when no Internet connection is available and send those tweets later on.
Tweet It is available for $1.99
5: Facebook Birthday Tile
I once missed a friend's birthday, which resulted in his drunken wife calling and screaming at me like a banshee. If that's the type of drama you would rather avoid, check out the Facebook Birthday Tile.
This handy app uses a live tile to display the number of birthdays that are coming up (based on Facebook data). A simple tap of the tile takes you to a list of upcoming birthdays. This extremely handy app sells for a mere 99 cents.
What social networking apps do you use on your Windows Phone 7 device? Share your recommendations with fellow TechRepublic members.
Brien Posey is a seven-time Microsoft MVP. He has written thousands of articles and written or contributed to dozens of books on a variety of IT subjects.