I've been writing a lot about beta versions of new Bing apps for Windows Phone 8 lately, but today Microsoft announced that they're all generally available. But there's more: the Bing apps that were previously available have all been updated as well, and all of these apps now sync preferences, favorites and other information between the apps on your PCs, tablets and phones. It's a Bing app bonanza.
Roaming between Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8 versions of the apps
First, here's how Microsoft describes that cross-platform syncing capability.
"You only need to set your preferences once, and your favorite stuff will always be there," Microsoft corporate vice president Brian MacDonald writes. "In the Finance app for example, when you setup your stock watch list on Windows 8, it will show up the same way on the Windows Phone. And it works the same way if you set it up on your phone – so no matter where you start, you don't have to set it up all over again, changes and updates work the same way. So setup your favorite cities for weather, pick your favorite sports teams, chose the news topics you want to follow, and those things will be with you at your PC at work, on your Windows 8 tablet in the living room, or on your Windows Phone when you are on the go."
There are three new Bing apps for Windows Phone: Travel, Food & Drink and Health & Fitness. I've written about each recently in Bing Travel Beta for Windows Phone 8, Bing Food & Drink Beta for Windows Phone 8 and Bing Health & Fitness Beta for Windows Phone 8, respectively. They're all fantastic, and Microsoft describes them each as "companion apps" to the versions that ship with Windows 8.1 for PCs and tablets.
And then there are the Bing apps that were already on Windows Phone 8: Bing Finance, News, Sports and Weather. They've each been updated as well.
Bing Finance picks up the My Finance brokerage account aggregators that was previously available in the Windows 8.1 version of the app. It's US-only and works with E*TRADE, Fidelity, Fidelity NetBenefits, Sharebuilder, Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade. You can also pin favorite stocks to the Start screen, use the new mortgage calculator, and enjoy new news sources like the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Bloomberg and others.
Bing News gets some high-profile new sources (Wall Street Journal and the New York Times), and new sharing functionality so you can send an article via text, email or on your connected social networks.
Bing Sports now features live event coverage for NBA, NFL and all major soccer leagues, dedicated player profiles with news stories, photos and social media updates from the players, the ability to pin a team's schedule to the Start screen, and news personalization so you can follow your favorite teams and leagues.
No word yet on any changes to the Bing Weather app, though it was also updated today.