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

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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Topic: Windows
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1 of 19 Ed Bott/ZDNet

These 18 Metro style apps are included with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Yes, they're polished and useful. No, they're not complete. In fact, you'll see a prominent App Preview label on most, as a reminder that there are features and fixes still to come.

See Ed Bott's full report on Microsoft's Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

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2 of 19 Ed Bott/ZDNet

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.

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3 of 19 Ed Bott/ZDNet

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.

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4 of 19 Ed Bott/ZDNet

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

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5 of 19 Ed Bott/ZDNet

If you've linked social networks to your Windows Live account, status messages show up here. The People app is notably missing a snapped view ("coming soon," it says).

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6 of 19 Ed Bott/ZDNet

The Music app allow you to search your collection or Microsoft's online store for artists, albums, and songs. Presumably a later update will bring support for playlists.

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7 of 19 Ed Bott/ZDNet

You can play back videos in a variety of high-definition formats. That grayed-out button on the right would allow this video to be streamed to an Xbox console, if one were available and connected.

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8 of 19 Ed Bott/ZDNet

The Photos app makes a pedestrian first impression, but when you drill down into connected services you get a rich view of albums. Support for uploading and managing albums is missing in this app preview.

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9 of 19 Ed Bott/ZDNet

My review machine includes front and back cameras. The built-in camera app has the controls you'd expect to create still photos and videos.

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10 of 19 Ed Bott/ZDNet

Microsoft still has a lot of work to do with its SkyDrive app. It's noteworthy that it includes support for sharing files and folders via the Mail app. That's a benefit of the contracts that allow Metro app to share data.

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11 of 19 Ed Bott/ZDNet

The Maps app is, not surprisingly, powered by Microsoft's Bing service.

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12 of 19 Ed Bott/ZDNet

The Weather app is visually stunning and is about as packed with information as you can get. Scroll to the right to see detailed forecasts and historical data for the selected location.

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13 of 19 Ed Bott/ZDNet

The Finance app is another information powerhouse that really shines on large displays. You can set up watchlists and drill down to find detailed stats for publicly traded companies.

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14 of 19 Ed Bott/ZDNet

You won't be able to edit PDF files in this app, but it's certasinly up to the challenge of reading this standard format. Will later updates add more formats, such as Word documents?

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15 of 19 Ed Bott/ZDNet

IT pros will appreciate the ability to connect to Windows servers and workstations using RDP, from this simplified app.

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16 of 19 Ed Bott/ZDNet

The Xbox Companion app, like its Windows Phone counterpart, requires that you log in on your console and your PC using matching Microsoft/Xbox Live accounts. A Windows 8 slate makes an excellent Xbox controller for media apps.

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17 of 19 Ed Bott/ZDNet

Xbox Live games on a PC? Yes, indeed.

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18 of 19 Ed Bott/ZDNet

This pinball game takes full advantage of modern graphics hardware and is deliciously retro. It's another sly reference to the "Windows heritage," recalling the far less immersive Pinball game included with the Windows 95 Plus Pack long ago.

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19 of 19 Ed Bott/ZDNet

How many hours of productivity have been sunk thanks to this game? The tradition continues.

See Ed Bott's full report on Microsoft's Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

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