Don't be fooled by all this blabber about Windows 8.1 being Microsoft's grand chance for a re-do—talk I'm admittedly guilty of myself. Windows 8.1 does a terrific job of refining Microsoft's modern-style vision, but as an operating system built from the ground up to revolve around an app-based experience, it—and specifically the Start screen—can never truly shine unless the Windows Store is stuffed.
That's a big problem, since both the quantity and the quality of the Windows Store's selection has been lackluster thus far. Microsoft seems to be tackling the issue head-on, though: Not only did the number of apps in the Windows Store spike in the weeks ahead of Build 2013, but Microsoft took advantage of the developer conference to announce a slew of high-profile apps coming to Windows 8's virtual marketplace.
Here's a rundown of the biggest apps destined to land on the Windows Store's currently dusty shelves.
Yes! A Facebook app is coming to the Windows Store.
Finally—finally—a proper Facebook app is coming to Windows 8, where we hope it will embrace the modern style as wholeheartedly as the Windows 8 Twitter app. While no official launch date was announced, you can look forward to a day where "Pin an IE shortcut to the Start screen" isn't Microsoft's official answer to the missing Facebook-app question.
Yes, the popular social check-in service is coming to Windows 8 at some unspecified point in the future, Microsoft announced yesterday. Live Tile fanatics will no longer have to rely on third-party alternative apps to become the mayor of their favorite taco carts! The few screenshots Microsoft showd really seem to nail the modern motif.
Don't worry, we'll get to apps that don't start with F soon.
Flipboard is a newsreader app with an image-heavy style that should translate well to Windows 8. It's similar to the Microsoft-exclusive New Bento. Flipboard pulls in not just news, but also posts from your various social feeds, making it close to a one-stop, up-to-the-minute news shop. It's incredibly popular on iOS and Android, so look for the app to make waves in the Windows Store whenever it launches, too.
Streaming music services haven't exactly stampeded to Microsoft's camp. Aside from Slacker Radio, Nokia Music, a couple of apps that play digital streams of terrestrial radio, and Microsoft's own baked-in Music app, all has been quiet on the Windows front. Microsoft's storefront still doesn't have dedicated Pandora, Spotify, MOG, or Rdio apps—but now, it does rock one of the most storied names in streaming music: Rhapsody.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.