Flickr for Windows Phone 7: Pretty as a Picture

Since I’m hedging bests on which will be the third mobile platform behind iOS (s aapl) and Android (s goog), I nabbed an inexpensive Windows Phone 7 (s msft) handset from an eBay (s ebay) auction last week. In my initial look at the HTC HD7, just after Microsoft launched WP7, I had a hard time finding decent apps. It’s now four months later, and the software situation isn’t as bleak as it once was. Take, for example, this week’s debut of Flickr (s yhoo). It’s geared towards a very specific audience, but it’s well done, and (dare I say) at least as good as its iOS counterpart. I can’t compare it to the Android version for one simple reason: There is no official Android version of Flickr.

Near as I can tell, the Flickr app for Windows Phone 7 essentially mirrors the functionality of the iOS version. The difference comes in the form of usability, due to Microsoft’s panoramic WP7 interface. You can easily swipe left or right to navigate between various features. This lets the user get around much faster in the app, because let’s face it: You’re using a Flickr app to look at awesome images, not buttons and menus.

With Flickr for Windows Phone 7, I’ve easily been able to upload pictures directly from my phone’s camera and gallery, browse my personal photo sets and keep up with the photos of my contacts. While I saw an awesome shot uploaded by Om this morning, I’m bedazzled by Thomas Hawk’s stellar photography on a daily basis. It’s also easy to search for pictures, comment on images, mark favorites or see an integrated map of where photos were taken if the photographer geo-tagged their shots. The small map function (under a picture) works fine, but tapping it opens up a blank Bing map, so that function may yet need work. Images can be shared with friends by email, even if they don’t have a Flickr account.

About the only aspect I don’t like is that pinning the Flickr app to the Windows Phone 7 home screen simply places a shortcut. Since the home screen tiles are “live” and can act like widget to show information, I’d like to see the Flickr team turn the tile into an ever-changing stream of Flickr photos. And along the same lines, it wouldn’t hurt for Microsoft to add the ability to link a Flickr account with a Windows Phone 7 device like it does for Facebook. In the core Pictures app, my handset shows not only the images local to my device, but also those I’ve uploaded to Facebook, and adding Flickr support would make it even more versatile. Even with these minor quirks, however, Flickr for Windows Phone 7 has found a home on my handset.

Update: Ivan notes in the comments that the Flickr tile does update with images a few times per day. I’ve only seen the Flickr logo on my tile, but perhaps the random updates are done sparingly to conserve bandwidth. Thanks, Ivan!

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