Apps of the Week: Microsoft’s MSN apps

Apps of the Week: Microsoft’s MSN apps 1

Microsoft has unleashed an entire series of MSN Apps for iOS devices, providing comprehensive apps across categories including news and sports, finance, fitness and health, and food and drink. While these apps were previously available for Windows Mobile devices under the “Bing” brand, Microsoft has released them for the iPhone and iPad platforms not just as mere second-rate ports, but as elegantly designed iOS apps in their own right that take advantage of many of the new features and UI designs in iOS 8.

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MSN Food & Drink (free) — This is a recipe and food information app that provides access to hundreds of thousands of recipes curated from magazines, world-famous chefs, and other online sources, complete with straightforward instructions and elegantly presented photos. An extensive set of wine and cocktails guides are also included, along with tasting notes and reviews on more than 1.5 million wines. Recipes can be searched and filtered by type of cuisine, source, ingredients, dietary needs, difficulty, methods, prep time, and more. A collection of how-to videos with cooking school tips and techniques is also provided.

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MSN Health & Fitness (free) — Microsoft’s app for Health and Fitness provides not only news and information, but a set of fitness tracking tools, including a pedometer and run tracker in the iPhone version, allowing users to track steps taken, calories burned, distance, time, and pace. A Diet Tracker provides the ability to track daily caloric intake by recording meals from a large database of foods, and a Cardio Tracker tracks cardio training. The app also provides access to over 1000+ exercise and workout videos and nutritional and medical reference material. The app is even integrated with Apple’s iOS HealthKit for storing all of your tracking data, and the Medical Reference section includes a Symptom Checker for looking up possible health conditions, and an interactive 3D Human Body for learning human anatomy. As with the other apps, everything can be synced to MSN Health & Fitness on the web and to other iOS devices sharing the same account.

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MSN Money (free) — Not to be confused with Microsoft’s former, similiarly-named personal finance app, this is a financial news and market data app that aggregates content from major indices around the world, including NASDAQ, NYSE, Dow Jones, S&P 500, DAX, FTSE 100, NIKKEI 225 and more. Currency exchange rates and commodity prices can also be tracked, a personal watch list can be configured to track your favourite investments, and market headlines, business news, and personal finance news can all be reviewed right in the app. Preferences can be saved and synced across multiple devices. Financial and budgeting tools are also built-in such as a mortgage calculator and currency converter, and the iPhone version also gets a tip calculator, wealth estimator, and retirement planner, while iPad users get a stock screener.

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MSN News (free) — Microsoft’s take on a mobile news app provides MSN users with their news on-the-go right from their iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Content is hand-picked by MSN editors, and covers both global and local news. Users can customize their own topics, receive breaking news alerts, and save their preferences, which sync with MSN News on the web. Stories can of course be shared via Twitter, Facebook, Messages, or e-mail.

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MSN Sports (free) — Providing real-time game updates, Microsoft’s MSN Sports app also gives you quick access to schedules and standings and league- and team-specific news. The app provides access to coverage on over 150 leagues and thousands of teams, and users can customize, save, and sync their preferences for access from multiple devices and the web. Real-time updates for live games for NBA, MLB, NFL, NCAA Football, NCAA Basketball, and Soccer are all provided as well.

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