SUNNYVALE, CA, United States - After narrowing down the list of 32 down to 16, we’ve actually done it – we have arrived at the Excellent Eight.
From our large field of apps divided into the four categories including: games, social, news and entertainment and utilities and productivity, we now have eight apps that will duke it out on the way to the finale later this week.
Personally, I’m excited about the Excellent Eight because we have a fantastic mix of independent titles, old favorites and even my favorite Windows Phone publication.
To see the full bracket, updated with the Excellent Eight winners and contenders, see this link.
Of course, if you need to research your choice and study the form, visit the Windows Phone Marketplace – and remember, you can try the apps before you buy on a Nokia Lumia phone. You’ll find over 70,000 apps on offer there.
Voting is simple. Under each pairing, select your favorite from the choices below. We’ll take it from there.
So, here are the titles that will duke it out in next round!
Gaming: Gravity Guy vs. Wordament
Social: 4th and Mayor vs. Facebook
News and Entertainment: Newsy vs. AAWP (All About Windows Phone)
Utilities and Productivity: Nextgen Reader vs. SkyDrive
Kicking off the voting
To begin the voting on the first half of the Excellent Eight voting, we’ll take a look at the first two categories including Games and Social.
Facebook is the social utility that has become the defacto standard for connecting with family and friends online. The Facebook Windows Phone application is a styled application that takes the Metro UI and gives us easy access to our News Feed, Pages, Groups and banner images. With a recent update, the application also lets you handle requests, messages and notifications at the top of the main interface.
Facebook on Windows Phone supports Live Tiles and lets users peer into who liked your posts, filter your Feed and more.
I like the Facebook application because it gives a full picture of what’s going on in my Facebook universe. It’s nice to see notifications, chats and photos all in one succinct app that looks good all the while.
4th and Mayor
4th and Mayor is a application for Foursquare users who tote a Nokia Lumia phone. Written by independent developer Jeff Wilcox, 4th and Mayor gives us quick access to the most valuable facets to Foursquare. I constantly use 4th and Mayor to check-in, see venue information and to see where my friends have checked-in to recently.
With 4th and Mayor, users can check-in via QR code scanning or by simply choosing their location from the list. Accessing friends’ location is super easy and viewing the Leaderboard is simple as well. The app may not be graphically intense, but this is by design – the simple UI gives users one-click access to information about venues around you and the location of your Foursquare friends.
A recent update to 4th and Mayor has made the app lightning fast, even over Edge connections, by utilizing web compression to speed data requests. Also, location accuracy has been improved, showing you the venues closest to your current location.
Gravity Guy combines two elements that make a mobile game successful – being fast paced and frustratingly addictive. Gravity Guy takes place in a universe where he can flip gravity as he sees fits as he is chased by Gravity Troops. It’s the players job to get Gravity Guy through mazes and to outrun the rabid troops in the process.
Succeeding at Gravity Guy involves trying to get as far as you can into a level. The farther you get, the more points you achieve in your effort to gain a spot on the leaderboard. By blending fun gameplay with awesome graphics and a soundtrack that compliments the game perfectly, Gravity Guy is very compelling.
We’d like to see some group gameplay in Gravity Guy, but this game is already addictive enough on its own!
Our own Adam Fraser is a huge Wordament fan. This independent game puts Windows Phone users up against other Windows Phone users in a tournament to create the the most words in two-minutes from a grid of letters that changes after each round. When the game starts, you have two minutes to drag your finger over the tiles to create as many 3+ words in the 120 seconds.
When done with that round, your score is displayed along with the potential words that you missed out on. I love seeing these words as it makes the game that much more entertaining. As with other games, a leaderboard for that tile set and a list of every player is displayed to anoint champions for that particular board.
The game flow is simple enough that after a quick read through the “How To Play” section and one quick game – you’re hooked. With a phone in your hand and Wordament loaded, you can have hours of competition on your hand. Just try not to get sucked in with this wordplay fun!
One editorial note. In the Supreme 16 round, we made a mistake in the pairings in the social category. The proper winners were put up for voting, but the apps were put in the wrong pairings.
To remedy the problem, we took the winners in that one section based on the overall number of votes, just as we would normally.