Windows 8 has been available since midnight. Reception of Microsoft’s new Start Screen and the other user interface elements will, in my opinion, make or break this operating system’s launch. Part of the Start Screen approach includes Windows 8 apps (formerly referred to as Metro style apps). I’ll agree that the apps look good and are more touch friendly, however, they also seem limiting and simplistic compared to a traditional desktop application. It moves Windows from being a computer closer to being an appliance, something good for consumers but a let-down for power users.
My opinion aside, the big companies are rolling out their Windows Apps. Skype, Netflix, Amazon’s Kindle, and other apps are showing up on the Windows Store. These apps will allow Windows 8 and Windows RT users to run the applications.
You can view app’s direct page but not easily browse the store outside of Windows 8. You can learn more about Apps in the Windows Store from Microsoft’s page on the topic. Here are a few of the bigger apps that have announced earlier this week. Of course, checking out the New Releases and Featured apps inside the Windows Store would be your best bet to find applications of interest.
Being a Microsoft-owned product now, it’s not surprising for Skype to be right on board with Microsoft’s changes. What caught people off-guard was how much they liked the Skype for Windows 8 app when it was announced.
Netflix’s user interface changes haven’t been going smoothly for the company. A fixed, consistent design like a Windows 8 app might just help out. In addition, they have a number of other features to take advantage of. They brag about them on the Netflix Blog.
- You can access the Netflix app on your “Start” screen without needing to go to our Web site. Many new Windows 8 devices will come with Netflix pre-installed so it’s easy to access. If you don’t see Netflix on your start screen, you can download the Netflix app from the Windows Store at no cost.
- Once you’re in the Netflix application, you can browse for movies and TV shows by moving from left to right to move through the personalized genres and dive into any row by tapping (or clicking) on its name. Speaking of tapping or clicking, everything works whether you’re using your finger or a mouse & keyboard.
- Windows 8 also allows some other cool, standard actions that we’re taking advantage of. For example, we have enabled a feature called “Semantic Zoom” on the “Home” area of the app so you can pinch and zoom out to see an overview of your top recommendations.
- Windows 8 also lets you have two applications open at once, a feature called “Snap View.” This means that you can watch a movie or TV show on Netflix and be checking out Facebook or Twitter at the same time, for example.
- While you’re roaming around the app, we realize that you may want to get back to your favorite titles. We’ve created a navigation ribbon that’s accessible in key areas in the app that provides access to the Home area, Top 10, New Releases and our main genres.
- Video plays smoothly in full HD (when available). By bypassing browser plug-ins, we were able to make our video player more efficient. This results in smoother playback with less strain on your PC—and that means less fan noise and more movies on a single charge.
Hulu Plus gets the Windows 8 treatment. With a computer, you can watch Hulu free through your browser. With the Windows 8 app, however, you will need to be a Hulu Plus member like you were viewing videos on other devices.
Google is launching a campaign at www.getyourgoogleback.com to educate folks to add Google Chrome and Google Search to your Windows 8 Start Screen.
If you were involved with computers in the early 2000’s you should shudder at the name WeatherBug. Don’t worry, your users and family members can continue to grate your nerves by installing the WeatherBug Windows 8 app, as announced in this press release.
Any other apps catching your eye? Apps can vary from free or $1.49 and up. Does the cost defer you from apps? Will you try out free apps or hold back?
As companies fight for real estate on your Start Screen what would it take to add an icon? Will you pin websites? Will you clean up extra application shortcuts?