5 (M2M) Windows Apps to Consider

With the increasing popularity of Windows-based smartphones and the availability of Microsoft’s enterprise-focused tablet, Surface Pro, you may be looking for the latest connected apps for your Windows device. The number of apps that leverage M2M technology for Windows smartphones and tablets is growing every day. Here are several that are garnering positive reviews.

WinPhone Info ($1.99) is one useful tool to have at your fingertips. The app displays realtime information about your Windows device including location, memory, media, network, and sensors. Using a Metro-style interface, the app lets you tap a Live Tile icon to quickly view and modify connectivity settings for Bluetooth, cellular, and Wi-Fi, making it easy to switch to airplane mode or adjust based on your needs. You can easily share your location via email or text, or create a report of your device’s data and email it to yourself.

If you plan to use your connected device to encourage a healthy lifestyle, try the LiveScape app for $4.99—a health journal and activity tracker for Windows 8 devices. LiveScape turns your device into a pedometer, tracking number of steps and distance traveled using GPS. The app logs daily activity levels, calculates calories burned, and helps monitor calories consumed. A handy ‘Import Nutrition Facts’ tool uses the device’s camera to import nutritional data from a food label. The app will even synchronize health data from connected health devices such as Wi-Fi scales and blood-pressure monitors using Microsoft HealthVault.

Amazing Weather HD ($1.99) is a top-rated app designed to be informative, location-specific, and aesthetically pleasing. No matter where in the world you’re traveling for business or pleasure, the app offers beautifully designed Live tiles and an auto-location feature. The app uses GPS to pinpoint your location, and then customizes the display based on current weather conditions. The app offers animated weather alerts based on GPS coordinates, along with daily forecasts, seven-day forecasts, and detailed condition reports including wind speeds and humidity levels.

Interested in contributing to the growing pool of apps for Windows 8 devices? The free TouchDevelop app lets you create connected apps on your phone and share them with friends and coworkers. The app offers tutorial videos to help you along the way. TouchDevelop provides access to your device’s accelerometer and other sensors, including GPS, which lets you add location data to a solution. If you think the app will benefit others too, submit the finished product to the Windows Phone Marketplace.

NFC (near-field communication) is gaining popularity in the mainstream consumer space. NFC Launchit, a free app that lets users program compatible NFC tags, is ahead of the curve. Using the app, you can program NFC tags that will prompt an action when it detects your device’s proximity. For instance, create a tag to call a phone number, to change your phone’s Bluetooth settings, or to launch an app quickly and easily.

As more consumers invest in connected devices for their personal and professional lives, companies will continue to jockey for their attention. To stay relevant in today’s quickly evolving technosphere, tech providers will need to look beyond the hardware by developing the types of connected solutions that will drive users’ everyday decisions.

App development continues to be the name of the game in technology these days. Don’t miss your chance to get your hands on open government data and to code on five different platforms in order to create that next great M2M-based app. The U.S. DOE will be on hand at the 2013 M2M App Challenge in Santa Clara, California, June 7-9 to guide you on creating that next great app. The big question is: Will you be there?

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June/July 2014
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