Review: AppRaisin


If the Windows 10 Store was any good, it would have all the charts and filters that let users find out about great new applications and games, in an intelligently curated way. And, in truth, the Store is getting better. Very, very slowly. In the meantime, applications like AppRaisin here have risen up to take on the discoverability challenge, helped by being fed from the wide network of developers using the AdDuplex system to monetise their free apps and games. AppRaisin ends up being well coded, as you'd expect, and always interesting, though never definitive. 

Buy Link | Download / Information Link

Built for Windows 10 (Mobile), AppRaisin's purpose in life is given in the Store as:

Discover new apps and games. Learn about improvements to your favorites and help them get discovered. You decide who rises to the top!

Be part of the community deciding which apps and games deserve to be noticed by the wider Windows ecosystem. Keep on top of all the important releases and updates. Everyone can post the news about Windows Store apps and games, and everyone can influence how far it spreads.

AppRaisin is a community-driven news source delivering the top of the crop app and game releases and updates from the Windows Store. All you need to know about Windows apps and games in one list. Ordered by you and your peers.

If an app or game release is not on AppRaisin - it didn't happen.

My issues with AppRaisin really stem from some of the claims above. 'All the important releases', 'All you need to know', 'If an app or game release is not on AppRaisin - it didn't happen'. In other words, AppRaisin is setting the bar for itself impossibly high - and of course it fails to deliver. A brief perusal of the apps and games on my own Windows 10 Mobile devices shows that most of my established favourites are nowhere to be seen in AppRaisin.

And when I say 'brief perusal', I mean fail to find a search function in the app and end up having to use the 'Add news' function, which searches for previous news item about a particular application name. Which is a very roundabout way to help users find something that may or may not previously have been mentioned in despatches.

But, as the developers themselves will say, all this is missing the point of what AppRaisin actually is. I just think that they should downscale the rhetoric in the Store description!

AppRaisin is effectively a relatively fun way to browse a number of new applications, update and general platform news stories from the last few days, each submitted by helpful members of the [AppRaisin] community and then stories get 'raised' (hence the 'AppRaisin' [sic] name) so that the more important or interesting are given extra prominence in the 'Rising news' timeline. A 'Latest news' timeline presents stories in reverse chronological order.

AppRaisin screenshotAppRaisin screenshot

The two main views, one 'raised'/curated, one strictly time-based - the formatting is nice and clear, with the AMOLED/theme caveat mentioned below. It's easy to download, share or 'raise' directly, with one tap.

Each story can be commented on, 'raised', 'shared' (socially via the usual Windows 10 mechanisms) or the linked app downloaded in the Windows 10 Store. It's a nice idea, though the quality of the submitted apps, news and updates does vary plus there's undoubtedly some gaming of the timelines going on - as you'd expect for a socially driven system (e.g. Dev submits his new ad-strewn game and gets his six buddies to all 'raise' it), but on the whole I found the timelines interesting. Crucially, I found several applications for review that I didn't know about, which is the whole point of AppRaisin. 

AppRaisin screenshotAppRaisin screenshot

Great to see a multitude of ways of signing in and being part of the action; (right) Windows 10  through and through, there's a hamburger menu for anything non-timeline-related...

That's about it, you get the general idea. Not every developer is part of the AppRaisin/AdDuplex community and not every member of that community posts updates and app news to the application, but there's easily enough to justify having a quick look each day in case you spot something of interest that you might have missed in Microsoft's somewhat hit and miss curated highlights and dodgy search results. Just don't expect a comprehensive breakdown of everything available for Windows 10 - anything which isn't totally new or recently updated won't appear at all.

AppRaisin screenshotAppRaisin screenshot

Digging into an entry, there are more prominent control and download options, along with user comments and interactions, it's all very social; (right) there's good control over notifications too, if you want to stay bang on top of every new entry, every comment....

There's also a live tile, alternating between the AppRaisin logo and the latest 'Rising news' headline (or at least the latest when the background agent was last run) - I'd have expected a wider range of items here - at least half a dozen recent headlines and why have the AppRaisin logo at all? I'm also slightly disappointed that AppRaisin only runs in 'white'. Given the preponderance of AMOLED-screened Windows 10 Mobile smartphones, it's very wasteful of power not to have a dark theme - having the background white just burns through the mAh....

AppRaisin screenshotAppRaisin screenshot

Search is the single biggest area that needs improving, in my opinion. Even going into 'App Search', under 'Add news' (keep up at the back), and then typing a generic word that appears in many app titles and then tapping on the magnifying glass icon shows no matches whatsoever; (right) I got this error quite a bit, perhaps server issues at the AppRaisin end?

Still, it's tough to be too critical of something that's free. Install AppRaisin, check it once a day and you may just find the odd gem of an app or game. Heck, you might even get hooked and become a valuable member of the AppRaisin community, in which case you can do your bit to suggest new things that you've discovered in the Store.

There's no one definitive way to find the best apps and games on Windows 10 Mobile. I'd argue that my own curated directory is a great start. As is browsing the official Store. And keeping an eye on AAWP (naturally!) Add to that list AppRaisin though, certainly worth an install and a look, especially if you like your applications free to download and ad-supported, which is AdDuplex's strength.

Reviewed by at