App landscape for Windows Phone

[ This article is for Windows Phone 8 developers. If you’re developing for Windows 10, see the latest documentation. ]

Windows Phone is a software platform that can improve a person’s life. Its ability to do so is determined by the apps that it can run. It’s up to designers and developers to create the apps that meet specific customer needs in a way that’s engaging.

People use their Windows Phone under all kinds of situations and for many different reasons. One person may use his Windows Phone primarily to stay connected with his friends while another person may use hers to help manage her busy schedule. Other people may be using their Windows Phones to enjoy a mental escape through games, music, videos, reading, or social networking.

Windows Phone Store is where customers go to find the exact app that meets their needs. The Store categorizes apps by their functionality. Some categories are further broken out into subcategories. Examples of the top-level categories are News and Weather, Health and Fitness, Sports, Productivity, Lifestyle, Finance, Travel, Games, Entertainment, Social, and much more. We’ll now look at examples of apps in a few of these categories.

This topic contains the following sections.


People use their Windows Phone to help them live the type of life they want to enjoy. That means they find apps that support their lifestyle. Apps that help support these types of activities are a valuable part of the Windows Phone experience., eBay, and Bigoven apps

These types of apps are very valuable to customers because they help reflect who they are and what they can share and enjoy with others. Each of the three apps shown in the preceding figure helps people find things that fit their lifestyle—in this case, searching for the perfect home, locating that hard-to-find item, or cooking the foods they like.


Connected mobile devices have given people the ability to socialize throughout their day, and a Windows Phone is a great device to help fulfill this human need. Windows Phone helps people share text messages, photographs, audio and video, and much more.

People Hub app on the Windows Phone

Apps that enable social interactions might be isolated in their usage, or they might tie in with other phone features and apps. For example, the Pictures Hub app that comes with Windows Phone is a central app used to organize your photos and even share comments on photos through social networking sites. Apps can be made to work with the photos to alter them and enhance the social aspects of photo taking. The Classic Christmas Cards app lets you take photos from the Pictures Hub and create greeting cards to send out to friends.

Classic Christmas Cards app

Health and fitness

Health and fitness apps can make use of the mobility aspect of Windows Phone. People are happy to take their phone to the gym and use an app to step them through their workout routine. They expect to be able to enter the type of body conditioning they want and then be directed through a weightlifting or cardio regimen. Additionally, some specialized apps for runners help them plan their running route and track their miles run and their best times.

runsat GPS Sports Tracker app


There are an endless number of entertainment app possibilities on the Windows Phone. Entertainment on the Windows Phone can come from sophisticated apps or from simpler novelties such as an on-screen cowbell that makes sounds upon touch. Apps like Netflix provide entertainment through streaming of movies and television shows. Other apps tie into the person’s actual real-life entertainment needs by helping them to locate movie times or comedy shows to attend.

Netflix shown streaming a video and Fandango apps


Games are always big sellers —there’s a game for just about everyone, from the classic Windows Solitaire card game to today’s more advanced 3D graphics adventure. The category of Games is so large that it has many subcategories. The Windows Phone is a great device for people to engage in solo or multiplayer games.

ilimilo and the harvest games


People carry their Windows Phones with them wherever they go, so it’s only natural to enable them to use them in ingenious ways. An app that mimics a real-world device or tool can be valuable to people. From the simple flashlight app to a ruler or metronome, there are many useful tool-type apps available.

Metronome and Clinometer apps

Unlimited possibilities

The Windows Phone platform has many more types of apps than can be covered here. What’s been shown demonstrates the richness and robustness that apps can achieve. The number and types of apps for the Windows Phone will increase over time, and we won’t soon exhaust the possibilities of what can be created. Apps should strive to bring customers mobile-specific functionality through content that is connected and beautiful.