The Windows Store in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview is full of third-party preview apps. They’re not complete, but they give us a taste of what we can expect from Metro and Windows in the future.
All of these apps share a minimal interface with a focus on content and graphics, pushing traditional interface elements into the background. Whether you love Metro or not, Microsoft has decided that these sort of apps are the future of Windows.
If you’re using Windows 8, you can tap the Windows Store tile on the Start screen to browse the store and install apps.
You can also search for apps directly from the Start screen. Just start typing and select the “Store” category when the search screen appears.
Cookbook is a slick recipe application. Its presentation, with its minimal interface and focus on mouth-watering pictures, is beautiful. You can browse by category or search for specific items from a catalog of over 200 000 recipes from BigOven. Even the recipe pages aren’t cluttered, like many recipe websites are.
Cut the Rope
Cut the Rope is a Metro version of the popular mobile physics-based puzzle game, which you can also play for free in your browser. In fact, the browser version and Metro versions are basically the same — developers can use HTML5 to write these apps.
Cut The Rope shows the potential of HTML to create powerful, first-class Windows apps that are also cross-platform.
The Kobo app turns Windows into an eReader. It definitely feels like a tablet eReader app and it’ll be right at home on a Windows tablet. It’s also a way to read books on your PC without a taskbar or other interface elements distracting you.
Other eBook stores are sure to follow Kobo’s example. In fact, there’s already a Kindle app.
Ashampoo ImageFX can quickly apply a variety of effects to image files. It can also capture images directly from your webcam.
It’s a basic app with few features at the moment, but this is the kind of simple image editor we’re sure to see more of in the future.
It’s unsurprising that Windows 8 doesn’t offer a YouTube app yet, since YouTube is owned by Google. There’s a Vimeo app, though, and it’s a showcase for the kind of interface video apps are sure to have. Click one of the video tiles and you’ll get a full-screen player.
News Republic is a news reader app that allows you to search for and select your favorite topics. It offers a preview of the kind of news readers we’re likely to see — ones with a focus on content that push navigation to the background.
Slapdash Podcasts is an application for discovering, downloading, and listening to podcasts. It’s got the same sort of interface the other applications here have, with a heavy focus on graphics and content.
Grantophone is clearly designed for touch interfaces, but you can also use it with a mouse. It turns your tablet — or PC, rather — into a musical instrument. You can adjust tons of settings and tap or click the buttons to play sounds.
Like other Evernote applications, Evernote’s Metro app synchronizes online with your Evernote account. The current Evernote preview is limited to text input, but it will show images already attached to notes. The preview shows where Evernote is going with its interface.
Pirates Love Daisies
Pirates Love Daisies is another featured game on the Windows Store. Like Cut the Rope, it’s an HTML 5 game that you can also play in your browser. It’s a tower defense game where you control pirates that try to protect… daisies.
Well, it’s certainly an original concept.
There are other great apps that weren’t listed here. In particular, I couldn’t find the Kindle, Slacker Radio, or SigFig apps in the store, probably because they’re region locked.
Feel free to explore the Windows 8 Store yourself — new apps are being added regularly.
Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.
- Published 03/14/12