Microsoft is finally launching a variety of its Bing apps for Windows Phone 8. After shipping versions for Windows 8, Microsoft's mobile store now includes phone variants of Bing Weather, News, Sports, and Finance. The phone versions are near-identical to their desktop counterparts, demonstrating Microsoft's long promised ability for Windows Phone developers to port apps between each platform easily.
Although Microsoft has previously built an optional weather app for Windows Phone, the Bing Weather version includes hourly and daily forecasts, with support for multiple places that can be pinned to the Start Screen with Live Tiles that update periodically throughout the day. It also includes the same animated weather maps found on the Windows 8 version. Bing News for Windows Phone 8 also works in a similar way to the desktop version, with the ability to add, edit, and reorder sources. Bing News also includes notifications for breaking news, and a Live Tile of the latest news.
Bing Finance is the typical stocks and shares app you'd expect. There's a customizable watch list, and a Live Tile that supplies the latest financial market information on the Start Screen when the app is pinned. For sports fans there's also Bing Sports. You can pick a favorite teams across NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, the English Premier League, and much more. Individual teams can be pinned to the Start Screen, and fixtures and tables are all available.
Identical to the Windows 8 versions, but they could integrate better
Overall, the apps are near-identical to the Windows 8 versions and it's a logical step that Microsoft makes them available on Windows Phone. As Microsoft moves increasingly closer to its aim of a common app platform between Windows and Windows Phone, we'd expect to see more instances of these types of apps on both ecosystems. The only disappointing aspect to these phone versions is that they don't pull your places, favorite teams, news sources, and other settings from the Windows 8 apps. If Microsoft is serious about this integration, then cross-platform apps that sync are the types of experiences we'd like to see in future.