Windows 8's app collection: what you get with the Consumer Preview

Windows 8's app collection: what you get with the Consumer Preview

Summary: The Windows 8 Consumer Preview includes 18 built-in Metro style apps. They're polished and useful, but still deserve the App Preview label. Here's what you get.


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  • The Mail app includes support for Microsoft's Hotmail service and also connects effortlessly to Microsoft Exchange servers. Gmail users can also add an account right out of the box. You won't find sophisticated features like message-processing rules in this release, though.

  • Click the Settings charm to access the Permissions box for any Metro style app. The Calendar app has explicit permission to run in the background so it can display detailed notifications of upcoming appointments on the lock screen.

  • The unified messaging app replaces Windows Live Messenger and allows direct connections to Facebook friends and Yahoo Messenger contacts.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software

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  • Looks good

    I'm eager to try this out on my media centre PC this weekend.
  • It looks cheesy

    I won't be letting that cheesy stuff on a computer near me very soon.
    Is the start panel still missing ?
  • windows crap

    sorry but it SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS
  • win 8

    Once I figured out how Virtual Box works, I loaded and tried it. Slow, but that's how VB works. BTW, what would have been so hard about setting up a Live Disc like every distribution of Linux??? Once inside, the 'App Preview' icons flipped and flopped entertainingly. The Help function showed me how to use the super key to get back to the icons. Help might be the best part of this preview, since nothing about Win 8 is close to intuitive. DOA is what they said, and they were right. Windows is the Republican of OS's; lots of hype, no content. Sorta like all hat, no cattle--remember him?
    • Windows is the Republican of OS's

      Strange, to me Windows is the Democrat of OSes: Dumbed down, like a Fisher-Price toy for the poorly educated awww-you-get-a-gold-star masses: "Hey, look at the blinking squares!".

      By the way, it's not "OS's".
      • By the way, it's not "OS's". .

        By the way, it's not "OS's".

        When you said that, you showed off not only your ignorance in participating here, your picky, senseless attitude and just how uninteresting your posts are. Thankfully there's a name with posts so they can be easily ignored.
    • VirtualBox will give you a taste...

      ... but not the full 'experience'. At least that's what happened to me. It was until I installed as multi-boot on my laptop, that I could test hardware issues -or not- when it comes to drivers and controllers. It was nice to find out that my nVidia GC worked like a charm with the Windows 8 driver I downloaded and got full 3D acceleration on my CAD software; and on the other hand my WiMAX adapter just won't work no matter what drivers I've tried so far.
  • Loving it

    So far I'm loving the new UI, the only problem is that they don't seem to offer any services to us norwegians.
  • Sweet

    I was wondering why my developers preview said it expired when I got like 10 more days left. I think the design is a major improvement for mobile devices. There are a few things I noticed wrong, and other things that don't seem to work, but this is related to another company and not actually Microsofts fault. Would have been nice if Windows 7 stuff did work with Windows 8, but the drivers don't all load correctly.

    @Shaun What you see in the picture is the start panel, or maybe you where just too busy complaining about it to notice. What are you missing from your start panel that you "MUST" have? Programs, settings, documents? They are all there, and you can customize these icons and add new ones to your preferences and liking. If you like using a Windows XP look, you can click the desktop button, might even be a way to disable the Start menu GUI for the basic XP view, but then you might as well just stick with XP 32bit. I personally had no reason to change the Taskbar preferences. Changes create better performance and control. But by all means, I am not stopping you from doing the same task that has been corrected for me to do in 3 mins what it will take you to do in 10 mins.
  • Highly Promising for Tablets, but Fails Miserably on the Desktop.

    For a multi-touch device that will run a few apps at a time, taking advantage of the tiles interface and the strategic locations of certain controls on both sides of the screen, this OS seems very promising and will give a fair battle to competitors on that front.

    For power desktop users that rely on Keyboard and Mouse for fast multitasking, with tens of applications opening and closing from a central location (i.e. Orb, or Windows menu, whatever you like to call it), this iteration offers little to no value. Once you start installing your applications (Adobe, Autodesk, etc.) which some of them add sometimes up to... 20 TILES each! to the start 'menu', then you start to realize the magnitude of the problem. Swapping between the Start Screen and the Legacy Desktop Screen, and having to scroll-right, or rearrange them to get them closer to the start -or both for that matter-, fails miserably when it comes to productivity, and feels just plain awkward and ambiguous.

    I've been testing first the Dev Prev and now the Cons Prev and I was really hoping they would've gotten this issue pinpointed and solved, but apparently that's exactly the way M$ wants it to be. Well, I hope support for Win7 lasts as long as, if not longer than what it was for XP, because I'm pretty sure a lot of power users won't be switching any time soon.
  • The Apps are bad...

    ... when compared to full fledged desktop applications, but probably only slighty anemic in terms of functionality when compared to their android and iOS counterparts.

    Email - looks and works pretty much just like mail on iOS tablets and the Gmail app for android tablets. I once thought that might be a good idea for a desktop email interface and loaded up the Chrome offline mail client. Took about 5 minutes of comparisons to what I could do in outlook to get rid of it. Same is true for this one too limited for what you can do on a desktop/laptop. And why must I put in a hotmail account first? What if I don't have or want one?

    Weather - Total fail. Entered my hometown, made it default removed Seattle, WA and boom, gray screen. App never worked again.

    Music - Why can't I turn off all the other crap from the store and just have my music? If I had to look at that every time I pulled up the app it would drive me crazy. A full 24 inch screen full of my album art artistically displayed with a little ribbon of controls near the bottom is a major waste of real estate.

    Pictures - How can I add more from metro (no cheating and using the nasty old legacy Win32 Windows Explorer) that come from my file system or local area network, or even a thumb drive? What if I don't use Skydrive, Facebook (the horror), or Flickr? Do I always have to look at those tiles?

    Lets just face it, whatever merits Metro has as a tablet or phone interface and possibly even as a TV interface, its stinks as a laptop/desktop interface. MSFT, please give us the opportunity to just turn it off on our desktops and laptops.
    • Let me answer that

      We can expect the email functionality of Windows Phone which is ahead of Android and ios. Also, since this is a PC, we can expect the functionality of Hotmail with flags, sweep, and integration with various other apps.

      Weather - there will be a TON of weather apps at launch and they will all be pretty good with live tiles and interesting features, if Windows Phone is any indication. So, it will be up to personal preference at that point.

      Music - snap it to the smaller snap pane and it gives you just a player where you can see playlist, artists bios, and recommended artists whose music is similar. This too will get more robust, like Zune (arguably the best music software UI there is) with updates.

      Pictures - will be able to be pushed/pulled and added/deleted from any service or device you have as well as the cloud once this is complete.

      As a desktop interface, I'm flying around this thing on my 42" tv with very few if any hitches. This after 2 days.


      Email = Beta

      Weather = Beta

      Music = Beta

      Pictures = Beta

      ALL other apps and the OS = beta
      • Why

        Would "artists bios, and recommended artists whose music is similar" be a desirable feature in a music player? That's exactly the stuff I want to turn off. Ditto for the social features which I'm sure are coming.

        Pinning to the side is not nearly as efficient in terms of screen space as minimizing to the task bar. Besides, in the task bar + notification tray, I can monitor not only my music player (which is not bugging me with recommendations), but my IM application, email and a bunch of other stuff. Not to mention that, at the same time, I could have gadgets running on the desktop with a stock ticker, CPU usage and network meter in the same space pinning to the side takes all while working on a spread sheet in most of the window.

        There are two different form factors that require two different approaches to maximize their effectiveness.
      • Pictures

        Ah yes, I can see me pushing and pulling my 4,000+ photos around on the desk top! In my worst nightmare! I am glad some of you are having fun with Windows 8. Guess I wish I had time to have fun too, but I have work to do and if I can not find and open and run my programs the system is worthless. I do not use 99% of the apps that came with the preview and my working programs added so many new "windows" that I can no longer find anything with out a 10 minute reading session and I read a lot faster than average and trying to work with the search is impossible, I have abut 40,000 files that begin with the word Vosburgh and no I can not change them to first name first. If I were 18 again I might enjoy learning a whole new language and system. If I were healthy I might want to do for the challenge. I am neither and i have work to do, and will stick to Windows 7 which mostly lets me do it my way.
  • TV

    I am actually very interested in this as a possibility on my TV. However, the lack of flash in Metro makes it problematic at this time. Without flash in WinRT I have to "shell out" to to use Amazon Prime Video, ESPN, see video on FOX and CNN, watch back episodes of shows on CSB, NBC, CBS, etc. Since I can already see these sites in Win32 on Windows 7 Win 8 provides no advantage over Win 7 plus Media Center which has essentially the same interface.

    All of my comments are directed at the inadequacy of WinRT as a desktop/laptop interface. Its apps are about the same (perhaps a little worse at this stage) as iOS and Android on tablets and phones. But without the capability to have multiple overlapping windows open it is not a very capable desktop/laptop system. Sure you can get some stuff done, but its capabilities pale in comparison to what a windowing system let you do.
  • WHAT!?!?!?!?

    Are we going back to Window 3.11 HOOKY Icons and Text?

    I'm in no hurry to get this piece of *CARAP* !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • windows 8 is doa

    sorry but it sucks so bad so no it is not any good at all
  • Can I say wow....

    Been "playing with this for two days now.
    Running on an ASUS UL30VT, i3, 128gb SSD, 4 gb RAM

    It is different. While there are a number of things that bear further investigation, there is an aweful lot of "forced" functionality - you have to use this and do it only this way.

    I will keep an open mind but, wow......
  • Just sayin'

    ...the Pinball game was actually in NT, not 95/98...
  • Almost but no....

    A mash-up of mindless drivel. A second run attempt just like Zune to cash in on a concept that has already left the station. Microsoft should buy Apple stock, they will make more money that way. And to Microsoft we see you! The savvy of us get the fact that you want to use this vehicle to move users to a subscription model. I, for one, remember the bad old days of being a mainframe slave. I don't want to go to "the cloud" AKA dumb terminal and "subscriptions" AKA buy time on the big iron.

    I still have an XP system that works fine. I will keep my Win 7 laptop until the wheels fall off and I am learning Linux as a backup. At least Linux is free not some ill thought out half finished cr**p that will probably have service packs larger than the original system.

    So you went from making COMPUTER operating systems that worked, kinda, to a tablet system that is ugly, hard to use, and not cutting edge. I guess the adults have left the kids in charge at Microsoft.

    Linux is looking better and better!