Microsoft to update its core Windows 8 apps well before 'Blue'

Microsoft to update its core Windows 8 apps well before 'Blue'

Summary: Microsoft may have refreshes of its Mail, Calendar, Music and Games apps for Windows 8 and Windows RT in its app store as soon as this month.

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There's been some worry that Microsoft's Windows team may be waiting until the "Blue" upgrade to Windows 8 and Windows RT to refresh the Microsoft-developed, first-party apps that are bundled with the operating system.

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I'm hearing from my contacts that this is not the case. In fact, updates to the Windows Mail, Calendar, Music, and Games apps for Windows 8 and Windows RT may be available to users as soon as March (as in this month).

Microsoft officials aren't commenting on this bit of information that I received from one of my contacts who has been dead-on about Blue (so far). Blue is the codename for the operating system refresh for Windows 8 and Windows RT -- as well as a number of other Microsoft products -- that is under development and supposedly set to be released to users this summer.

Microsoft officials have acknowledged publicly that the Windows team is aware that the first-party apps on Windows 8 and Windows RT have room for improvement. Many users have been especially disappointed in the Mail and Music apps for the product, claiming they feel more like betas than full featured, polished products. Even though they're free, these apps, developed by the Windows team, just aren't very good, many of us Windows 8/Windows RT users feel. (The Windows 8/Windows RT apps built by the Bing AppEx team, on the other hand, are quite solid and usable.)

Microsoft made some changes to its built-in first-party apps between the time Windows 8/Windows RT were released to manufacturing (August 1, 2012) and when they went on sale (October 26, 2012). While minor refreshes have come to the Xbox Music app for Windows 8, not much else has happened on the built-in app front.

I've heard that Microsoft employees are currently dogfooding the updated first-party apps. The updated versions all will be pushed out via the Windows Store.

Meanwhile, because I know folks will ask, I don't have an update on the Outlook for Windows RT client that Microsoft employees also have been testing internally.  I have no new word on when or if this will be made commercially available, possibly because of battery-life problems with the app, I've heard.

While on the topic of Windows 8 and Windows RT apps, there are a few new and/or updated third-party apps out this week worth noting:

Topics: Windows 8, Enterprise Software, Microsoft

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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101 comments
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  • Microsoft to update its core Windows 8 apps well before 'Blue'

    I don't think it will help Windows *.....It seams to be just another Me or Vista in the making........they should have stayed with the W-7 format.....................my view
    Over and Out
    • Dropped the Singapore Sam name already?

      You should have used "You Only Live Twice" ;)
      William Farrel
      • Think Twice = SingaporeDung

        Good catch...LOL
        Owlll1net
        • Owlll1net I came by to give you one more kiss

          PS Surface RT still sucks.................
          Over and Out
          • Get lost...

            People with self respect won't change their handle or user-id. Enough said....
            Owlll1net
          • You Get lost... Owlll1net

            People with self respect won't call fellow posters MORANS either Enough said....
            Over and Out
          • MORANS?

            That's how Teabaggers spell MORON. Saw a siga at a Teabaggers rally that said "Get a brain, you MORANS".
            abt187@...
          • Oops!

            Hit a wrong key for sign. Sorry!
            abt187@...
          • ......

            And dems don't spell it because they are just to lazy and the only school they go to is catapelliar sex habits. They rather stick their hands out cry that they are owed something and then demand someone does it for them. You know the typical lazy democartic lifestyle.
            Fletchguy
          • Too

            Adverb
            To a higher degree than is desirable, permissible, or possible; excessively: "he was driving too fast".
            Very: "you're too kind".
            boone51
          • "MORANS?"

            Good catch! I wonder just how poorly educated one has to be to insult people, yet not even be able to spell?
            xplorer1959
          • So funny!

            “People with self respect won't change their handle or user-id. Enough said....”

            Owlnet, Owllnet, Owlllnet, Owllll1net

            Sorry Mary.
            RickLively
          • Hey Mr Owlll1net...

            People with self-respect usually don't hide beind some handle or user-id full stop...
            Jackie-Smith
          • I disagree

            Loving my Surface, and Windows RT. Didn't to begin with, took some time to get my head around the fact it ISN'T Windows, but tablet windows. Now we get on famously. Only detractor... not enough apps. Come on MS, roll out some incentives!
            glenndjones@...
          • Surface RT Sucks???

            SS - Have you used a Surface RT for more than 5 minutes??? It isn't perfect but it really DOES NOT SUCK!

            PROS
            - Office
            - 10 Hours Battery
            - Great size / weight
            - Great keyboard

            CONS
            - Mail App - BIG YUCK
            - Can't install x86 apps -

            The only App I don't have that I need is Visio - would a Adam based laptop be better - maybe - but not for sure!
            davidsmi
          • ....

            You didnt make a very good arguement for the cost and headaches windows 8, rt, pro have. I had been a Microsoft fan and have been a beta tester for last 12 years but doing this and watching Microsoft completely ignore all of it's beta testers and consumers concerns or wants have turned me away. Then they price the tablets in the apple price range meaning your intelligence level has to be very very low to buy one..Office is no big draw when open office does the same for free....10 hours battery life is pretty standard on almost all device android and apple.The size is similar to all other tablets except apple..The weight is heavy compared to all others..The os is broken and not very user friendly..few apps..limited legacy use...not and attractive device...and all around not inticing with the pricing..Yes I have used both the rt and pro but no comparison to any of my android tablets like my samsungs and asus transformer prime.
            Fletchguy
          • An Atom tablet worked better for me

            The big drawback of the RT tablets for me was the inability to add other browsers. I like to sync user data between my desktop, tablet, and phone and Chrome lets me do that. I didn't want to be locked into IE, especially after the clunkiness of the browser in WP7 (I really liked the OS otherwise and yes, I know it is better in Windows 8 and WP8). I also wanted to be able to use Google Drive and iTunes.

            You and Mary Jo and everyone else is right about the Mail App. It is bad in both RT and Windows 8. The People app, however, is really good.
            redhaven
          • "PS"

            And just when did you buy a Surface RT to use so that you would be qualified that pass commentary on it? Oh, you haven't, because you can rely on your own ignorance to pass judgment on products you haven't even tried.
            Now, go run and play with your other little troll friends and come back when you grow up and have some actual knowledge to share...
            xplorer1959
          • Like other tablet operating systems

            RT lacks the luster of a complete OS. If you're in the market for a tablet look to the hybrids with Win 8 Pro.
            Rob.sharp
      • Got me on that one

        Guess I'll have to go back to the drawing board...maybe I'll try "Impossible Dream" or "The Great Imposter"

        Actuall I did think of something similar to it "you only live twice" but than I realized I was way fast twice..........I also was thinking of using Surface RT2 but than I figured RT would be off the market to soon and that people would say his posts are as outdated................... good catch .....see you next time around
        Over and Out