Fifth in a series. Welcome to this week's look at some of the best apps released over the past seven days for Windows 8. Before we start, I'd like to quickly explain how you can browse the newest applications in Windows Store as the question came up recently.
All you need to do is open Windows Store, type * to search for all apps, tap on the enter key and change the sorting for relevance to newest. This displays all apps sorted by date they have been added to the store starting with the newest entries.
When Microsoft announced the Surface product family a few months ago, I was immediately drawn towards Surface Pro, and not Surface with Windows RT. Imagine my disappointment when Microsoft went silent again after the revelation of the company's first entry in the tablet market. Essential information like price or availability were missing at that point in time, and it was shortly before launch of the device that Microsoft revealed anything meaningful.
There was no word on the Surface Pro though, until now. Tami Reller, Windows and Windows Live Division chief marketing officer, reveals at the Credit Suisse Annual Technology Conference 2012 that Surface Pro will launch in January 2013. Today, Microsoft also revealed pricing: $899 (64GB); $999 (128GB).
Windows Store is among the noteworthy features of Microsoft's new operating system released just a month ago. Users can install free and paid applications right from the store interface that is integrated into Windows 8's new Start screen interface. This improves security for users as store apps do get verified by Microsoft before they are made available in Windows Store.
Many paid applications in Windows Store are available as trial versions that you can try for a seven-day period before you need to make a buying decision. Developers do not have to offer their products as trial versions in the store, but they are encouraged to do so to make their apps available to a wider audience.
Fourth in a series. A month has passed since the release of Windows 8 and in that time, Windows Store has grown significantly. Wes Miller, an independent analyst, recently reported that the worldwide app count broke the 20,000 mark, and that about 500 new apps are added to the store each day.
While that is still far from the numbers that Google Play or Apple's Apple Store get, it is an indicator of a healthy store ecosystem. On we go with this week's best apps for Windows 8.
If you do not like the Windows 8 Start screen, you can bypass it easily with a few simple modifications or by installing a program that handles that for you. If you miss the Start menu on the desktop, you can get that back as well by installing a program like Start8 or Classic Shell that also handle the redirecting and mapping of shortcuts keys for you if you want.
RetroUI Pro is another Start menu program for Windows 8. It looks different than the others as you can see from the photo, but on first glance, it is just another Start menu for the operating system.
Three weeks have passed since Microsoft released Windows 8 to the public and there already is chatter on the Internet that the operating system is a failure. There are rumors that sales are not as good as Microsoft hoped they would be, and the leaving of Steven Sinofsky certainly adds fuel to the Internet rumor mill.
I do not want to write about sales and projections because frankly, we do not have any data from Microsoft or other sources that can be used for an analysis of the system's financial success or failure. What we know is that Microsoft sold 4 million upgrades of the operating system in the first three days after release. It is not surprising that updates sell like hot cake, considering that they are heavily discounted until January 31, 2013 and that Microsoft charges the same upgrade price regardless of the previously used operating system. What we can do however is to look at the operating system from a user's point of view.
Third in a series. Each week we are looking at the best apps released for Microsoft's new operating system Windows 8. Today, we introduce new information to the format that informs you about potential compatibility issues with Windows RT. As you may know, apps released in Windows Store are always compatible with Windows 8 and Pro, but not necessarily with Windows RT, the version running on ARM hardware, such as Surface.
Not compatible with Windows RT indicates this if so. We also take a look at application updates and if they introduce exciting new features, include updated apps in the list. This week that's for instance the case with the Google Search app, which not only becomes compatible with ARM systems but also introduces YouTube video playback with an update.
When Microsoft first announced that Internet Explorer 10 would be part of Windows 8 most users assumed that this would also mean a release of the browser for the version 7 operating system. The first version of Internet Explorer 10 was released publicly with Windows 8's Developer Preview back in 2011, and then updated whenever new versions of preview builds released. Microsoft at that time was tight lipped about the future of IE10 for Windows 7
October 2012 came and brought along Windows 8's launch. It was in the week prior to the release of Windows 8 that the company shed some light on the future of IE10 for Windows 7. A blog post indicated that Microsoft had plans to release a preview version for Windows 7 in November 2012.
The Windows 8 Start screen is without doubt one of the prominent new features of the operating system. It is the first screen of the operating system that new users see when logging in and also the screen that the majority see every time they do so. While there are ways to bypass the Start screen to go straight to the desktop, it is unlikely that the majority of people will make use of those.
It may feel like an oversight to some users that Microsoft decided to lock down the available Start screen customization options. Instead of giving users the option to select any background image they want, the company limits the Start screen backgrounds to 20. While Windows 8 users are still free to select custom pictures as desktop backgrounds, they do not have the same option when it comes to this important part of the operating system.
Second in a series. Welcome to this week's installment of the new "best Windows 8 apps" series here on BetaNews. The first post went live on Sunday but we decided to move the series to Friday instead, which means that there are only five days between posts this time. All posts of this series will be posted on Friday from now on.
The links point to Microsoft's Windows Store, which offers detailed information about each app. To get an application, open the Windows Store on your computer and type the name as listed on the store front to find the program and install it on the system.
The Start screen is without doubt one of the major new features of Windows 8. It may come as a surprise that the Start screen's customization options are not as extensive as those made available on the desktop. There are, for instance, only 20 designs that you can select for the Start screen's background, opposed to an unlimited amount of custom wallpapers or desktop backgrounds that you can add to the Windows desktop. The color scheme too is limited to 25 different pre-configured schemes, while you are not limited to fixed color schemes on the desktop.
Stardock, the creators of Start8, a popular Windows 8 Start menu program, have created Decor8 to tackle the issue. Decor8 introduces options to change the appearance of the operating system's Start screen in a way that goes beyond what Microsoft has envisioned for it.
Some computer games require you to be connected to the Internet at all times to play them. While that sounds reasonable for online multiplayer games such as World of Warcraft or Team Fortress 2, it doesn't make sense for single-player games that you play on your own. Always-On DRM limits access to the purchased game due to that requirement.
Not only is it necessary to have an Internet connection to play the game, which means no playing in situations where you do not or where unreliable, it also means that you rely on the game company server to be online as well.
Windows 8 ships with two versions of Internet Explorer 10. First, the regular version that runs on the desktop and packs all the features one would expect from a browser, and then the Start screen version of IE10, which is a plug-in free version that is limited in what you can do with it on the Internet and locally.
Microsoft has integrated Adobe's Flash Player natively into Internet Explorer 10, but there are again differences in the implementation between the desktop and start screen version of the browser.
The Firefox Developer Toolbar is a new tool that landed last month in the stable version of the web browser. It is a console that enables you to issue commands right from the page you are on, and while it has been designed with developers in mind, it makes available features that regular Firefox users can utilize as well.
The basic idea here is to use the Developer Toolbar for things that you normally handle using the menus the browser makes available or third-party tools. To display the toolbar in Firefox press Shift-F2. This opens a small toolbar at the bottom of the browser window. If you want to close it again, either use the same keyboard shortcut to do so or the close icon on the right side of the toolbar.
First in a series. Welcome to this new series here on BetaNews where I'll take a weekly look at some of the exciting new apps released for Windows 8. The overview does not include games and will be limited to around 10 apps per week to keep things manageable.
Microsoft launched Windows 8 on October 26, introducing the new Modern UI. To get supporting apps, you need go no further than the built-in Windows Store, which also is the only place you can get them. To start off the series, here are 10 apps that were recently published to the Windows Store.