Marc Saltzman , Special for USA TODAY10:03 p.m. EST December 24, 2013
A look at some of our faves:
Exclusively available for Windows devices, Halo: Spartan Assault ($6.99) brings the celebrated sci-fi series to the palm of your hand. This “Teen”-rated top-down shooter has you fight your way through 30 missions against the malevolent Covenant, with high-tech weapons and vehicles, and earn experience points (XP), achievements and emblems along the way.
There’s a lot more to the free Flixster than movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes, 15,000+ trailers and showtimes. You can now stream your entire UltraViolet movie and TV show collection – a cloud-based service that lets you access your content in a password-protected locker, of sorts. Windows Phone users can also pin a Flixter “live tile” to the Start screen.
As the name suggests, Bing Sports is a free app that lets you keep up with the sports and teams you care about. Along with the four S’s – scores, schedules, standings and statistics – this app offers top headlines for all major sports, photo galleries and ways to personalize the interface and content in a number of ways.
A simple but powerful note-taking app, Papyrus for Windows Phone (free) marries “old school” handwriting with the convenience and versatility of digital note-taking. Using your finger or stylus pen, jot down notes you can zoom into, insert photos or drawings, move and resize items, and choose from multiple pen and paper types and sizes. When you’re done, organize notes within notebooks, pin to the Start screen or share with friends.
Securely access all of your files in the cloud with the free SkyDrive app. This small (2 megabytes) download lets you view and edit your offsite documents, photos, presentations and other content, plus there’s native support for SkyDrive right from within the Office and Pictures hubs. SkyDrive can also automatically upload photos that you take on your Windows Phone device.
Music lovers can stream more than 70,000 radio stations from around the world — and online stations and podcasts — with the free TuneIn Radio app for Windows Phone 8. Whether you want to tune into a jazz station from New Orleans, a reggae channel from Kingston or an Internet-based classical musical site, you can listen as much as you like. Search for music by country or genre, plus there are thousands of stations and podcasts featuring news, talk, comedy, sports and old time radio dramas.
Follow Marc Saltzman on Twitter: @marc_saltzman.