Microsoft’s gone and added to its Bing apps offering across the Windows Phone platform – it previously loaded the mobile OS with apps that aped the Bing News, Weather, Sports and Finance experience of its Windows 8 desktop counterpart. Do you remember the first time?
These old favourites have been updated but also sit alongside brand new Windows Phone equivalents of Bing’s Travel, Food & Drink and Health & Fitness apps.
All Bing apps are free to download and can be found in the Windows Phone Store.
The Travel app makes it easy to search, research and ultimately book potential holiday destinations. Hotel reviews and listings are plentiful, plus there’s a wealth of both professional and user-generated travel photos to browse. You can also find details of nearby restaurants and attractions, as well as look-up local weather conditions so you’ll know exactly what to pack.
You can also pin details of your future flights in very much the same vein as the app’s Windows 8 counterpart – putting it in prominent, easy view while you wait.
The only feature we find lacking is the gorgeous panoramic imagery that puts the larger, wider PC and tablet displays to great use. But there’s enough good here to forgive this minor shortcoming.
Food & Drink
Feeling hungry? Fire-up the Food & Drink app for Windows Phone and feast your eyes on thousands of recipes from some of the biggest online culinary providers.
The app functions a little like an interactive cookbook, just scroll with your finger until a particular dish catches your eye. If you don’t have all of the ingredients in your kitchen you can always make use of the shopping list feature (it beats scribbling illegible notes on the back of your hand).
The Food & Drink app provides helpful illustrations and step-by-step instructions so users can enjoy and prepare over 600,000 recipes from such sites as AllRecipes, BigOven, Epicurious, Bon Appetit, Saveur, Food52 and more.
One of the most popular additions to the Windows 8 Store has been the Cocktail Flow app, Bing’s Food & Drink now offers Windows Phone users a similar experience with a handy encyclopaedia of cocktail recipes, wines and tasting notes. Foodies and drinks enthusiasts should certainly check this out.
Health & Fitness
We’ve saved the best for last… On the face of it the Health & Fitness app presents a somewhat dizzying array of features, you’ve got a Diet Tracker, Cardio Tracker, Fitness Instructions, a symptom checker as well as inbuilt GPS tricks.
But dig deeper into its component parts and it becomes clear that it could make a feasible assault on the big-guns in the fitness app market. The Trackers work in tandem to gather information necessary to help you make better, more-informed decisions about your daily activities and nutritional health. For starters the Diet Tracker contains a database of over 200,000 different foods and products. You can set it to monitor your daily intake, the app can then be programmed to collate weekly and monthly reports, as well as the ability to set customisable goals accordingly.
With a little assistance from the GPS Tracker, the Cardio Tracker keeps track of time spent exercising and keeps a tally of calories burned. And if you’re feeling uninspired you can always consult Bing’s very own Fitness Instruction that details over 1,000 different exercises and workouts (along with step-by-step instructions).
We’re all guilty of trying to self-diagnose weird ailments and it would seem that the all-seeing Bing Health & Fitness app knows this. That’s why you can also find a handy Symptom Checker here too – but note that all of the advice given is not supposed to be taken as gospel, look upon it as helpful reference.
You can teach an app new tricks…
It’s not just the Bing apps on Windows Phone that deserve the spotlight, Microsoft’s also updated Bing News, Finance, Weather, and Sports on Windows 8 to enable users to sync their data between the two platforms.
For instance, installing the Bing News app on both desktop and mobile means you’ll be able to enjoy your own customised news experience as all of the news sources you’ve set up previously will be present. Likewise the Sports app will bring across all of your favourite teams and leagues, while Finance will ensure you don’t miss a beat when it comes to the day’s happenings on your watchlist.
To update your Windows 8 Bing apps: visit the Windows Store (found on your Start Screen) and tap/click on ‘Updates’ towards the top-right of your screen. If you’re a Windows 8.1 user you’ll have noticed that your apps update automatically by default.