My contract with Alltel (now Verizon) is pretty solid so I cannot consider another phone for at least another year. That means, for good or for ill, I am stuck with Windows Mobile 6.1. While I did take a brief look at WM 6.5, there really was not much of a reason to switch anyway. For mobile phones there has been much ado about the apps available for other platforms. If like me you are mired in another contract and want to try some decent apps for free I have compiled my list of favorites:

Skyfire – Simply put Skyfire is the best mobile web browser I have ever used. This puppy handles Flash with ease, You Tube is accessible and even useable. I have been on board with this browser since early beta version were available. At this point it is difficult to use any other browser, my only concern is the underlying technology routes all traffic to the Skyfire servers that includes passwords. Needless to say I would not do mobile banking using Skyfire. Get it here!

Bing – Live Search recent rebranding to Bing has finally trickled down to the mobile world and while there are no substantive improvements, this app is still worth considering if you you want to get the best Gas Prices, Maps, or local searches in your vicinity.

My Phone – This was already a solid product during the beta release, helping with the task of phone backups. Well they added the ability to share photos on you favorite social networking sites. To round this out they have added a couple of premium features (at cost to you) that allow you to locate a lost phone, or even wipe data from a stolen phone. Real nice!

Windows Live – Again this an existing app found on most Windows phones, however, there has been a nice refresh that adds a lot of polish and also bring the app in close relation to the Windows Live experience on line. If you have a Windows Live account and use Live IM then this is a compelling upgrade for your phone.

Microsoft Tag Reader – With the Microsoft Tag application, just aim your camera phone at a Tag and instantly access mobile content, videos, music, contact information, maps ... nothing to type! Of all the apps I believe Microsoft Tag reader has the best chance of changing the way we interact with our our environment using our phones, just have to wait and see if this really catches on.

Netflix - Only really useful if your a member of Netflix but still … Managing a Netflix account while mobile has never been easier!

With the release of WM 6.5 and WM Marketplace getting a list of top rated apps is really easy, unfortunately there is some artificial delay in letting WM 6.1 join the fray. Until then (late November?) I hope you find this list marginally useful.