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HTC Titan - Marketplace, Apps and Games

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

The HTC Titan's official app store is Windows Marketplace. Just as heavily stylised as the rest of the Windows Phone operating system, it looks great and is very quick to navigate through.

If you don't know exactly what you're after, you may find it tricky to find what you want as discovery tools are lacking. Microsoft offers its "featured" selections and 17 categories, as well as "top", "free" and "new" charts for each, but you'll find a lot of scrolling is needed to dig up app gold.

Marketplace

Quite how easy and quick flicking through lists of apps is on Windows Phone makes this less of an ordeal than it is on a 2.x Android phone, though, and each listing shows you its star rating and how may users have voted.

In late August 2011, Microsoft revealed that the Marketplace had 30,000 apps filling its shelves. To put this into context, the Android Market has more than 250,000 and Apple's App Store over 500,000. In a straight comparison, the Windows Phone app market is tiny, but it does offer some bonuses over Android.

The Windows Phone styling has been carried over into many third-party apps, making them feel very well-integrated with the phone. Running the official Twitter app on the Titan, we find it - and several other top picks - strike a good balance between assimilating and offering their own flavour.

Social networking

Facebook and Twitter apps are flavoured with WP7 sauce

There's also Xbox Live gaming to consider. This is the glitzy end of the Windows Phone game scene. Each Xbox Live certified game reaches a decent level of production and overall quality - not every one is a guaranteed hit, but you won't find utter dross here. And you can earn Xbox Achievement Points by playing, just like an Xbox 360 game. There are just 83 of these titles at the time of writing - hardly a massive collection.

If you're willing to leave the safety of the Xbox Live interface, Windows Marketplace offers a less-regulated vanilla "games" category. This is where most smaller developers fire out their wares into no-man's land of the Windows app store. And as most significant developers are Live-certified, the hit rate here is pretty low.

Xbox Live

Many will be satisfied by the limited glossy library of Windows Phone 7 apps and games, but if you're an apps or gaming nut, it's not a patch on what the iPhone offers. The exciting development culture just isn't here, primarily because the Windows Phone userbase is still small. A game new to Windows Phone might be a year or two old on iPhone and Android. Angry Birds only came out in July 2011, for heaven's sake.

Good stuff? Yes. Timely releases? Not normally, no. This may change as the platform spreads its roots - something that's bound to happen once Nokia's Windows Phones arrive - but who knows how long this will take.

HTC offers a selection of its own apps too, but these haven't been updated much since the first wave of Windows Phone 7 phones arrived a year ago. HTC Watch offers movie trailers and downloads, for example, but they're all hopelessly out of date.

HTC apps

The rest don't suffer from this neglect as much, mind. HTC Hub packs-in the clock and weather visuals from HTC Sense that were unable to be integrated into the Titan itself (Microsoft doesn't allow direct changing of the interface by 3rd party manufacturers except Nokia), Connected Media hooks-up with any media files shared over your Wi-Fi network and Photo Enhancer fiddles with your images. Inoffensive stuff, certainly, but nothing that should influence whether you buy the phone or not.

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jingyeow

September 2, 2011, 10:05 pm

I expect MS to give financial incentives to app developers to create cross platform apps. That should open app stores to real competition and grow the WP userbase

ffrankmccaffery

September 3, 2011, 5:49 am

@Dave Gilbert: The two reasons you've given against choosing this handset - the OS and the utilitarian design - are exactly the two I'd look for when buying a phone. The sheer clarity and cohesiveness of WP7 are qualities that even iOS can't manage let alone the afterthought that is Android. The application market is constantly growing and with quality submissions. I have an Android tablet (Nook Colour) and visiting the app store feels similar to shopping in a pound shop - mountains of tat hiding the odd gem.

David Gilbert

September 3, 2011, 6:20 pm

Point taken, but it was not the OS itself I have an issue with, more the lack of support given by developers, a similar problem facing the Android tablet market. I think that WP7 is indeed a powerful OS, but like MeeGo could disappear due to lack of support, which would be sad as diversity if always good.
By the way, I completely agree regarding the Android app store, it's like shopping in the discount bin of a bargain basement shop.

ffrankmccaffery

September 3, 2011, 11:03 pm

The support while no where near the level of even Android is gradually growing. I was pleasantly surprised to find 'International Snooker' a wonderfully realistic game and a personal favourite of mine having already been ported from over from iOS and Android. You have to remember that Microsoft has a lot riding on WP7 and few would bet against it pulling it off. Meego sadly took too long to enter the market and lacks the devotion from it's parents Nokia and Intel to really make even a late effort. All being said who really what the future really holds.

Runwaypimp

October 21, 2011, 5:25 am

The Apps are just too expensive to consider buying a windows phone. Don't care why, it just makes WP7 a big no no.

Greg Shewan

October 21, 2011, 12:17 pm

I disagree about the screen size issue, I think these powerful smartphones are content driven and anything under 4 inches is just underselling the entire point of owning one. However the phones themselves could use a bezel trim, with that accomplished I think we could see significantly smaller phones with large screens.

Case in point: the Galaxy Nexus. It is about the same size as the SGSII but has a screen with a .35 inches larger diagonal. If WP7 and iOS ditched hardware controls like Meego and ICS then this would be possible. Only a thin strip would be needed for the earpiece, sensors and camera. On my SGS the top and bottom of the bezel are almost 15mm when they could be as small as 4-5mm, perhaps even smaller if Samsung could make the branding smaller.

Martin Daler

October 21, 2011, 1:18 pm

The huge screen seems like a waste of space, literally. It is just a regular 3.7" screen stretched out to 4.7". Had they instead kept the same pixel density and added more pixels, that would have been a benefit. But to simply make a 3.7" screen take up more space, why? When I could achieve the exact same benefit simply by holding a 3.7" screen a bit closer to my face?

We don't want 'bigger' screens for the extra space they take up, we actually want more screen.

Den

October 21, 2011, 2:16 pm

Andrew (The reviewer), you say the multi-tasking is a bit meh as the app is restarted when you tap on it again. Well it also did this on the iPhone when it was first introduced. Apps have to be modified to work properly with multi-tasking just like the iPhone.

Luan Bach

October 21, 2011, 2:46 pm

They'll get lots of cross platforms apps as soon as they let people develop in C++

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