Now, I should perhaps point out that I'm talking about 'applications' here, not 'games'. The latter comprising a pretty large chunk of the top charts on other platforms. Plus, each platform breaks down applications into 'Paid' and 'Free'. So, in a bid to try and stay on-topic, what I've done below is pick the top applications from both paid and free lists, on both Android and iOS, and hopefully you'll recognise just about every entry listed below. But can Windows 10 Mobile's ecosystem provide a match, aided by a few (fully compatible) WP8.1 apps, as appropriate?
For ease of reading, Where there's no match at all, I'll shade the cell in red, where there are 100% viable alternatives, I'll shade in a less obvious orange(!):
|#||Application (iOS/Android combined)||Description||Present or equivalent?|
|1||Bitmoji||Tool for creating emojis||Quite a few alternatives in the Store, but I doubt anyone reading this on AAWP has any interest whatsoever in them!|
|2||Who Stalks For My Instagram||Works out who's been interacting with you most||For uber-narcissists? Nothing similar on W10M, but again, is this really needed? Really?|
|3||Whatsapp Messenger||The famous IM client||Available and working well (last featured here)|
|4||Social photo sharing||Available and working well in UWP form (last featured here)
|5||Snapchat||Media-centric IM||Not available under any name or version|
|6||Facebook Messenger||IM and sharing based on FB account||Available and working well* in UWP form (last featured here)
*it's a bit of a clunky beast in terms of speed and resources
|7||House Party||Instant group video chat||The same functionality is available in the Skype UWP app, though you have to explicitly make a group call etc.|
|8||YouTube||Video streaming||Ahem. Nothing first party, other than a web wrapper on the (admittedly excellent YouTube mobile web site. Still, there are at least four top quality third party YouTube clients. Perfect Tube is my favourite.|
|9||Social network||Available in UWP form, though on the large size in terms of bytes. Last covered here. See also SlimSocial, far faster.|
|10||Spotify Music||Streaming music||Available and working well, albeit a Silverlight (WP 8.1) applicaton. No sign of an official UWP app yet? There's the third party Spoticast UWP, mind you.
|11||Google Maps||Maps and more||Microsoft Maps for Windows 10 does a similar job, with arguably better offline capabilities but worse live traffic routing|
|12||Shpock boot sale||Car booting aid||Not available, I'd never heard of this before, mind you!|
|13||Wish||Online shopping||Available in the Store.|
|14||Amazon (Shopping)||Online shopping
||Available in the Store as a UWP, but it's really just a web wrapper. It works, but not as elegant as a full native experience.|
|15||Netflix||Movie streaming||Available and working well, though still in WP8.1 form.|
|16||Social 'stuff'||Nothing official, but there are several decent third party clients, including pin.it
|17||Social||Available and working well in full UWP form, including a dark theme, which it acquired long before the iOS/Android official clients
|18||Uber||Taxi-hailing||A UWP app for phones is in the works, I believe - meanwhile it only exists for the PC. Though the old 8.1 Uber application still works just fine.|
|19||Google Search/Now||Search||Cortana is the direct rival, of course, and arguably does just as good a job.|
|20||SoundCloud||Music and podcasts||Nothing official, but the API is so good that there are a dozen third party clients, including AudioCloud UWP.|
|21||Tinder||Dating||Nothing official, but there are several decent third party clients, including 6tin and Timber.
|22||BBC iPlayer||Video streaming||Available and works well, though without the ability to download for temporary offline watching. There's probably a DRM-related reason behind this....|
|23||ITV Hub||Video streaming||Available and working well|
|24||eBay||Shopping||Nothing for W10M, not even the old 8.1 app - so you have to use the (admittedly good) mobile web instead.|
|25||Outlook||Built into Windows 10 Mobile, of course|
|26||Gumtree||Shopping||Nothing available officially, though the mobile web site works really well, so....|
|27||Super-Bright LED Torch||Utility||LED torch is built into the drop-down Action Center in Windows 10 Mobile|
|28||Skype||VoIP and more||Built into Windows 10 Mobile in UWP form, as seamless as SMS, in theory|
|29||Fitbit||Fitness utility with accessory||Available in full UWP form, last covered here.|
|30||Google Photos||Online photo backup||Microsoft Photos does the same job in this ecosystem, of course. Annoyingly, you can't get to Google's version even via the Web though|
|31||Booking.com Hotels||Hotel booking||Nothing, you have to use the mobile web experience. The Expedia UWP app (last covered here) does much the same job though, in fairness.|
|32||Z Camera||Camera alternative, with effects||Windows 10 Camera is still the best in terms of quality, though a hundred alternatives with effects are in the Store.|
|33||Musical.ly||Video social||There's just a fake app of the same name in the Store (avoid!)|
|34||Shazam||Music recognition||Available and working well, plus Cortana does much the same job as well
|35||Deezer Music||Music streaming||Available and working well in UWP form. Last covered here.
|36||Dropbox||Online storage||Available and working well in UWP form. Last covered here.|
|37||Flightradar24- Flight Tracker||Flight scanning||No longer available. Have to use the good (but not perfect) web site.|
|38||Microsoft Word||Word processing||Built into Windows 10 Mobile, obviously(!)|
|39||Viber||Calling, VoIP||Available and working well in UWP form.|
|40||The Official DVSA Theory Test Kit||Driving education||Various alternatives, but nothing official, and all a little out of date.|
A slightly patchy, but not disastrous, report card for a platform widely perceived to have a yawning 'app gap', though I'd add three huge caveats:
- Where there's not an obvious official application for a service, some of the third party replacements are downright opportunistic, merely existing to scoop up search results and serve ads or worse. Again, there's a lot more that Microsoft Store QA (if, indeed, they employ anybody - I do wonder sometimes!) could do here.
- Although in many cases the third party replacements are very good (e.g. Perfect Tube for YouTube, 6tin for Tinder), their naming is not obvious. While the Store application correctly throws them up as valid search results for the original service or site, user confidence isn't going to be very high in terms of them having found what they're looking for....
- A cursory look at 'top 40' applications, as here, completely misses a bigger failing for a minority platform like Windows 10 Mobile, i.e. that there's a 'long tail' of lesser used but critical applications that are missing altogether. Archetypal here are banking and store apps, though there are also niche utilities and corporate/database stuff - and it might only take one "Oh, Windows 10 doesn't have that!" moment to dismiss the entire platform.
We're still living with a platform that can suit millions of users then, but a lot depends on what someone needs a Windows 10 Mobile device for. I could personally live with Windows 10 as my only platform, with only a couple of small niggles, and we know from recent podcasts that there are others who are 'all in', but there's so much good hardware on iOS and Android now, along with an even fuller spread of software, that you really have to want to exist in an all-Microsoft ecosystem (W10M, Surface, etc.)