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There's a myth, reinforced by the Windows Developer Preview sample apps, that Metro style apps have to be simple, stripped of complexity, scaled small, and incapable of doing anything except basic tasks. The reality is that a skilled developer using Microsoft's tools can build some pretty damn awesome Metro style apps.
Here's my wish list:
1. Music/video player
At the top of the list for me is a music player. If Windows 8 had a slick Metro style music player, I'd have a reason to visit the Metro side of Windows 8 every day. I'd probably end up with the player snapped to one side of the screen, dedicating the rest of the display (the fill pane) to my Windows desktop. There's no excuse for delivering anything less than a world-class music app here.
This is a slam dunk. Microsoft needs to deliver functional Metro style versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint along with the public Windows 8 beta. At a minimum, you should be able to view any document in those formats, make basic edits, and share the results using e-mail or online services.
3. People hub
Social media clients make ideal demos of Metro style apps, which is why the Windows Developer Preview includes both Twitter and Facebook clients. With the Mango update to Windows Phone 7, Microsoft has done an amazing job of unifying information from social media streams, e-mail contacts, and instant messenger lists into the People hub. That same functionality should be in a Metro style app for Windows 8.
Windows 8 needs a great Mail app. It should be able to connect to any cloud-based service—Hotmail, obviously, but also Google Mail—and it absolutely has to support Exchange servers out of the box. Hey, if Apple can do it, so can Microsoft.
Everything I just said about mail? It applies to calendars, too. You should be able to see a month-at-a-glance view in the full Metro style app window or snap your upcoming appointments and events to the side of the screen.
6. Skype / Lync
Now that Microsoft has got the thumbs-up from antitrust regulators to go ahead with the purchase of Skype, it's time to Metro-ize a Skype app. In fact, it should be able to outdo Google's Hangout feature from Google+. A slick, well-built Skype client that handles multiple simultaneous conversations would be a killer feature. Add an iOS and Android app and you've replaced Apple's FaceTime, too.
7. Photo viewer
Everyone loves digital photos. Here, too, this is an opportunity to take what already works on Windows Phone 7 and extend it to the PC. A great Metro style photo app should make it ridiculously easy for me to find photos on my own PC, plus those I've shared via online services, and then add the pictures my friends are sharing on Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, and other services. The Contracts feature in Windows 8 should make it easy to share or send those photos with other people. This is another amazing app opportunity that Microsoft has to deliver as a core part of Windows 8.
This is, in my opinion, the killer third-party app on the iPad. It should be a showcase Metro style app on Windows 8. Microsoft should be throwing money and developers at Flipboardto have this ready with the Windows 8 beta.
9. Angry Birds
If you don't have Angry Birds, you don't have a platform. I expect to see lots of Metro style games, but this is the big one.
The iPad has been on the market for 18 months, and Facebook just released a native app for it. Given that Microsoft actually owns a substantial stake in Facebook, this app should be there early, and it should be a showcase for the platform.
So what's missing in action? Well, I don't expect to see a Metro style iTunes app, which means that syncing a Windows 8 PC with an iPhone or an iPad is still going to require the desktop version of iTunes.
I also suspect that Google Apps will be mostly unsupported. If you're a heavy Gmail/Google Docs user and you have a Windows 8 PC, you're probably going to spend a lot of time on the Windows desktop running Google Chrome.
That's my list. What's on your must-have Windows 8 app list?