Check out these Windows Phone apps that are just as good as the real thing (pictures)
Windows Phone copycat apps
While the Windows Phone app store has most of our favorite apps, such as Twitter, Netflix, and Spotify, there are still several apps missing that we wish were there.
Until Google, Dropbox, and others make their way to Windows Phone, we'll have to rely on alternative apps built by third parties. We've rounded up the best apps that take the place of Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Dropbox, Flipboard, Pocket, and Feedly in the Windows app store.
We haven't reviewed all of the apps ourselves, so proceed at your own risk, but our picks have the best reviews and highest ratings in the store. Let us know in the comments if you have any favorite copycat apps that we missed.
The Windows app store is full of nearly identical YouTube (Android | iOS) copycats, which makes it hard to pick out one that's better than the rest. Based on the 8,000-plus reviews, an intuitive design, and plenty of features, our choice for best YouTube alternative is Metrotube.
The app has a Metro-style design and lets you sign in to your Google account to access videos you've favorited or saved to watch later. There are three levels of playback quality: HD 720p, high-quality 360p, and low-quality 240p, which would come in handy when your signal strength is weak. You can also preload videos to watch when you don't have a connection at all.
Honorable mention: YouTubeHD, which has hundreds of positive reviews and solid features, but is harder to navigate through than Metrotube.
We'd all probably get a bit more done with limited access to Reddit. Thanks to Baconit, we don't have to find out: the app brings the Internet's front page to Windows Phone, so you needn't spend a minute without a steady stream of GIFs, memes, and insightful commentary -- but mostly cat photos.
Facebook for Windows Phone 8 is the best way to experience Facebook on a Windows Phone device yet. It has better performance and more features than you get just checking Facebook via Internet Explorer on your Windows Phone.
Dropbox (Android | iOS) client CloudSix has many fans in the Windows app store for its sleek design and reliable performance. This free app lets you view your Dropbox files, download them to your phone, and upload files back to Dropbox. You can even manage multiple accounts at once in the app.
Sure, there's an official Twitter app. But it isn't very good. Fortunately, there's 4th & Mayor: it's fast, simple, and designed to blend nicely into the Windows Phone ecosystem. It even offers a neat Live Tile that allows you to check in automatically, right from your homescreen.
Though it shares the same name as Google's email service, this Gmail is an unofficial email client for Windows Phone. Developer EcoMerc says it used the same code as the official app from Google, which means you'll get a Gmail (iOS) experience that's very similar to the one you're used to from the Web.
The app has a Windows Phone-style design, but all of the features you'd expect are there, including marking messages as spam and labeling your messages. If you pay 99 cents to upgrade to the premium version, you'll get push alerts for new messages.
From developer DreamTeam Mobile, gMaps is a solid replacement for the real Google Maps. The app comes with all the features you'd expect -- traffic, directions, and even Street View. You also can search to find restaurants and businesses around you.
Pinterest has become so popular, it's surprising that the visual social network hasn't built a Windows Phone app yet. Since it hasn't, we're left with a few third-party options, and one of the best new apps on the scene is Pin.it.
Pin.it uses the same simple design aesthetic as Pinterest's website, which makes it easy to navigate if you're familiar with the site. You can browse your feed, like and comment on pins, repin, edit your boards, search, and other useful things.
Twitch, aka Twitch.TV, is pretty much the best way to watch live gaming on demand, and the aptly named LiveGaming is an excellent free Twitch experience for Windows Phone. Everything works as expected: you can pick from a list of popular games or search for your favorite live streamers, and chat with fellow viewers.
There is no official RunKeeper app for Windows Phone, but Caledos Runner is a nice alternative. The app (which is integrated with RunKeeper's Health Graph) tracks your pace, distance, and time as you excercise, offering a fairly detailed history of your activity. You can also sync your data with RunKeeper and post to social networks, too.
It's one of the prettiest and most full-featured Pocket clients in the app store, with filters for your saved items, tag categories, and sharing options. It's a bit more expensive than other apps like it, including Pock8 and Pouch, but I think it's well worth the cost.
Flipboard (Android | iOS) has given us an easy and beautiful way to keep up the latest news and updates from our favorite sites without using an RSS reader. Since Flipboard is missing from Windows Phone for now, Collector looks like a promising alternative.
The app lets you subscribe to curated feeds of content in categories such as photography, fashion, and technology. It has the same social feeds that Flipboard has, and you can also share articles on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Feedly might be the dominant RSS reader on iOS and Android now that Google Reader is out of the picture, but on Windows Phone it's all about Nextgen Reader. The app is a favorite among RSS fans as a way of staying on top of news feeds and blog updates.
The app is a basic RSS reader with four themes, two dark and two light. It also comes with several Live Tile options for keeping track of how many unread articles you have from your start screen. You can group feeds by topic, read full articles without popping out to a browser, and even import feeds from your Feedly account. Bonus: it works on both Windows Phone 7 and 8.
Price: Free with unlimited trial, optional donation ($1.99, AU$1.99, £1.49) to support development