Metro apps that should be included with Windows 8 at launch

Metro apps that should be included with Windows 8 at launch

Summary: Windows 8 with the Metro interface is a big departure from the Windows of old. Having the right apps in the box will go a long way to ensuring a positive experience is had by all.


The launch of the most innovative version of Windows is inching nearer, and as information trickles out speculation is ramping up. The Metro interface is polarizing those who try it, and how well it will be received at launch will rely in large part on what apps are available on day one. Metro apps are brand new to the platform, and having a good selection at launch is crucial.

Even more important than having a decent selection in the app store at launch is having the right mix of apps installed as part of the platform distribution. The following apps will go a long way to creating the best out of box experience.

See also: Ed Bott-- Windows 8 wish list: 10 Metro style apps I want to see

Email, contacts, calendar. Tablets are different from laptops in that new owners need to be able to handle these functions at first boot. The lack of these apps is believed to have killed RIM's PlayBook at launch, and Microsoft needs to avoid that. The mobile crowd expects to handle Exchange and Gmail without compromise, and browser-based solutions won't work.

Office. Microsoft has indicated it will make Office 15 available with a Metro finish, not the full Office implementation but nearly so. While this is a good choice for many, mainstream consumers may not find it critical. The average consumer doesn't use Office very often, but appreciates it when it is needed.

Facebook, Twitter. To attract the regular consumer, and choosing the Metro interface on Windows 8 indicates that is who Microsoft is targeting, these apps are crucial. These should rival all other platforms in quality, and be integrated into the base system.

Xbox games. Microsoft is in a unique position as platform owner to bring Xbox to Windows 8. I'm not talking about the social media implementation on Windows Phone, I mean real games that can be played on Windows 8. Leverage your advantage over the competition, Microsoft.

Solitaire. This one sounds frivolous, but the Solitaire game is a fixture for the Windows platform. An updated version of Solitaire to take advantage of the touch interface in Metro, with updated graphics would make new users feel like they are coming home.

Media integration with smartphones. People like to use tablets for listening to music and watching videos, and a good method to sync that content with phones will appeal to many. Microsoft needs to think beyond Windows Phone for this capability. Bringing an app like DoubleTwist to sync with both Windows Phones, Android phones and iTunes libraries would be big.

Kindle, Nook. Reading ebooks is a popular function for tablets, and it would behoove Microsoft to get Amazon and Barnes & Noble to produce their reading apps for Metro.

File Manager. Windows 8 means files, and a good touch-optimized Metro app to handle them will be a big advantage over other mobile platforms.

The apps mentioned are not the only ones that will help Windows 8 make a splash in the market at launch, but they can go a long way to helping the reception of the new platform. Microsoft should be actively working on them now, or doing whatever is necessary to get third parties producing them. The key is making sure Windows 8 with the Metro interface is as productive out of the box as possible.


Topics: Software, Apps, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

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  • More Xbox games!

    I agree that Microsoft needs to leverage Xbox more. With the right games, it could be their silver bullet, their killer app.
    • Win8 applications need to run on all Win8 platforms

      Running Xbox games on an ARM tablet would not only present quite a programming challenge, but it would also challenge the physical capabilities of the machine. The point of the dedicated game box is so that game programmers know exactly what each machine is capable of (and what it isn't).
      Michael Kelly
      • That's not what I wanted to hear!

        ARM chips are getting more powerful & Intel chips are becoming more (energy) efficient. It won't be long before both will be able to handle more complex games. I mean, MS Office is nice for corporate users... but it's not necessarily the only "killer app" that's going to make Windows 8 a player.
      • Not what you wanted to hear?

        @ metromalenyc

        Thing is, Xbox 360 does not use Intel CPUs, for a reason... performance.
        So it is very unlikely that the same games will run on any low-power Intel CPU or ARM CPU.

        But, like the iPad has demonstrated, reasonable games can be made for the ARM CPUs, so there is hope.
    • Not everyone plays games

      While I don't disagree that it will help the platform, not everyone plays games. As a result, I don't know if you could call it a killer app (I could be wrong).
      • Not everyone does anything...

        You're right, not everyone plays games... but A LOT of people do, especially young people. Great games create "buzz" and make a new gadget seem "cool" with the people who matter (i.e., tech writers, bloggers, etc.). But, yes, games aren't the only apps that Windows 8 needs. We need apps for everything, basically.
  • They Don't Need Any of Those

    For tablets and smart phones just give us root access and easy side loading and the market will take care of the rest.
  • Solitaire isn't on there already?

    I seem to remember playing it. It was slower than snot, but that was probably because I was using it on a VM.
    Michael Kelly
    • It is

      But unfortunately, it is a full screen, Metro only app now, so I can't have it sitting in the corner of the screen for a couple of moves, whilst waiting for something to finish or watching a film clip...
    • It depends on the VM ...

      I use VMware's VMplayer and its speed is indistinguishable from bare metal.
      M Wagner
      • Doesn't matter

        It's slower than playing on an 8086 processor with 64K RAM
  • MS Office, Skype, Xbox games, movie & music...

    Those are the basics that are "must-haves." But they're not enough. I'm still frustrated that Windows Phone doesn't have an app for Chase Bank, Bank Of America, or American Express. Those need to happen... soon.
    • BOA

      BOA does have a WP7 app - I use it all the time.
    • BOA and USAA are on Windows Phone

      but you're right about the other banks not showing their support yet.
    • Bank Apps

      Come from the Banks - or some programming house paid by the banks but not M$oft. Having said that, I agree that, free metro-ized apps (from the windows store) from all the bank players would go a long way to help Win8 gain market share.
      Crashin Chris
    • Just as any other app on an iPad or Android device ...

      ... is full-screen. At least Windows 8 does offer a split screen on resolutions at or above 1366x768.
      M Wagner
  • Kindle Preview app

    The Kindle App is already available as a part of the Consumer Preview.
    • Available? Yes but...

      The application is ridiculously bad.
      It is slow, it doesn't respect the Metro styling with is pseudo popup dialogs, the Store is not functional within the app (it brings you to IE), reading only uses a one page layout - way too large on wide screens, there are no transitions or animations to make the app sexier. There is nothing good in this version.

      I understand it is a very early look but still, the Kobo Reader application is already way beyond this.
    • And it got updated today

      Ram U
  • Leg up

    Raltively full featured versions of Office, IE and Photoshop for ARM would give MS a big leg up in the tablet market. A handful of killer games couldn't hurt. Skype/Hulu+/Netflix are also de rigeur.