Windows Phone may be the new kid on the mobile block (until BlackBerry 10 launches later this month), but it’s quickly shaping up to be a reliable platform for travelers. The user interface is one of the most beautiful out there, and a number of developers are embracing the new landscape to produce some incredible programs. Here are a few can’t-miss downloads for travelers from the Windows Phone Marketplace.
Last quarter, we recommended that owners of Lumia devices – Windows Phone handsets made exclusively by Nokia – download a suite of top-tier navigation tools. Since then, Windows Phone 8 has shipped, and with it has come one hugely important change: the Nokia mapping suite can now be downloaded and used across all Windows Phone 8 products, not just the ones produced by Nokia. This means that WP8 phones from HTC and Samsung can now enjoy Nokia Maps, Drive, and Transport. Drive supports offline turn-by-turn navigation, while Maps and Transport can help you get from Point A to Point B, even via mass transit options.
Next, no avid flyer should be without FlightAware. While Flight+ works wonders for those with an iPhone, this app is an excellent alternative for users of the Windows Phone platform. It's free, astonishingly, and provides real-time tracking of commercial flights worldwide (and private flights within the U.S. and Canada). You can search by aircraft registration, route, airline flight number, city pair, or airport code, and even if you're not checking up on your upcoming travels, it's a pretty awesome way to kill time.
It comes recommended on other platforms as well, but WorldMate's Windows Phone app is without question its most elegant. For those unfamiliar with the service, it's effectively a rival to TripIt, but it tends to handle multiple flight confirmation numbers a bit better, and generally rings up a bit cheaper for the Pro level of service. Even for those who use the free services, you'll be able to keep track of all of your forthcoming itineraries, including flights, hotels, rental cars, train reservations, and more.