It may not be 'America's pastime', but Microsoft still proudly announces that it is making a deal with Major League Soccer to bring the sport to its Windows 8 customers. The sport known as soccer in the US, but football to most of the rest of the world, joins the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey Leagues on Microsoft's latest operating system.
The announcement came at yesterday's game between the Los Angeles Galaxy and New York Red Bulls held at Red Bull Arena. The MLS Match Day app is not new, only "improved". This new version features exclusive content and this season’s schedule, standings, highlights, play-by-play, roster lineups, game stats, goals, cards and substitutions.
Twenty-ninth in a series. The US Windows 8 apps store crossed the 50,000 apps mark for the first time today; a total of 50,156 apps are listed in the store, with the majority of them free to download and use.
That's an increase of 1,639 apps in the past seven days, a sharp drop over last week's increase of nearly 2400 apps.
Twenty-eighth in a series. Several popular apps received updates this week. A new version of the ESPN app was uploaded to the store adding tennis coverage to it and fixing a couple of bugs related to the live scoring tile feature and the display of select sports when they are snapped on to the side of the screen.
Toolbox, an app offering access to custom tools that you can display next to each other on the screen received its first commercial in-app upgrade. Users can add a Twitter client to the app for a one-time payment of $4.99.
Judging by all the heavy criticism hitting the interwebs each day one would rightfully assume that Microsoft is on the wrong path with Windows 8. The operating system is often blamed for declining PC shipments, an user interface designed only for touchscreen devices or a scarce Modern UI app ecosystem filled with knockoffs. So, therefore, Windows 8 must be a clear sales miss, right?
Today, Tami Reller, Windows & Windows Live CFO, boasts about 100 million Windows 8 licenses, a figure which does not fall in line with what every naysayer leads you to believe. "This number includes Windows licenses that ship on a new tablet or PC, as well as upgrades to Windows 8. This is up from the 60 million license number we provided in January. We've also seen the number of certified devices for Windows 8 and Window RT grow to 2,400 devices, and we're seeing more and more touch devices in the mix".
Twenty-seventh in a series. Growth remained stable but below the 2,000 new apps mark this week. The overall app count is now at 46,143 in the U.S. Windows Store, an increase by 1,788 apps in total. The store features 36,164 free apps, an increase of 1,362 apps, and 9,979 paid applications, which increased by 426 apps this week.
Several core apps were updated this week. The OneNote application for Windows 8 received an update that adds finger drawing support to it. To use the new feature, tap on the screen and select draw from the radial menu that opens up when you do.
Twenty-sixth in a series. Windows Store app growth has slowed down a bit in the past two weeks. The overall increase dropped below 2,000 new apps in both periods. The overall app count increased by 1,877 this week to 44,355 apps in the US Windows Store. Free apps increased by 1,372 to a total of 34,802, and paid & trial apps by 505 to 9553 apps.
The Windows 8 news app received an update this week that added support for RSS feeds to it. To add an RSS feed click on the Add a source link after you have opened the news app and add the RSS URL at the top of the source field on the page that opens up. You should not expect "Google Reader"-like controls but if you follow a couple of sites, you can add them here to do so using the news app.
Stardock Software has released ModernMix 1.05, the first major update to its paid-for Windows 8 tool for running full-screen apps in their own window within the confines of the Windows 8 desktop.
Version 1.05 adds background sound support for apps such as Netflix that don’t explicitly support it, meaning users don’t need to focus on the window in order to hear that app’s audio output. The new feature is joined by a preference that allows this support to be switched off if it’s not wanted.
Twenty-fifth in a series. The increase of new apps slowed down a little bit, falling under the 2,000 apps per week mark that was passed in the last three weeks. A total of 1,928 new apps found their way into the store this week. The total number of apps in the U.S. store is now 42,478, made up of 33,430 free apps and 9,048 paid ones. Free apps increased by 1,447 this week and paid ones by 481.
The core Bing apps received updates a couple of days ago. I won't rehash all that we previously reporting, only this much: Bing News supports custom RSS feeds now that you can add to the app so that you can add your own news sources to it. News also supports keyword-based news that you can add easily to the application.
In case you missed the update, because I nearly did, Microsoft brings better Bing apps to Windows 8. They dropped yesterday, but I'm just getting round to them today. I love `em. The search engine is hugely underrated compared to Google, and the core services look so damn good and feel even better from a touchscreen.
In a self-aggrandizing post, the Bing team describes core apps Finance, Maps, News, Sports, Travel and Weather as "immersive vertical experiences". I so totally agree. Modern UI offers the most immersive experience on tablets, for fully-supporting apps. Microsoft claims that they "were designed from the ground up to embrace speed and touch providing you with a fast, fluid and consistent way to delve into your interests and get things done".
Twenty-fourth in a series. Welcome to another greatest Windows 8 apps of the week. I'd like to use the introduction this week to address Windows Store issues that are getting out of hand. First, an increasing number of unofficial apps for popular services get released to Windows Store. You find Gmail, IMDB or Wikipedia apps that look and feel like official apps. The issue here is not trademark violations, at least not for end users, but potential security and privacy issues associated with those apps.
One of the apps, Gmail Touch, is no longer listed in the store. It is not clear if Microsoft, Google or another party is responsible for the removal of the app or why.
XnSoft has released XnView 2.00, a new version of its freeware multimedia browser, editor and creation tool for Windows. The tool makes it simple to browse, organize and edit images, plus includes a screenshot capture tool in addition to acquiring images from scanners. XnView can also create supplementary material such as slideshows, web pages, contact sheets and video thumbnail galleries.
Version 2.0’s most notable change is the addition of a new optional toolbar style -- Metro3 -- that mimics the tile-based ModernUI interface found in Windows 8. The toolbar isn’t active by default; users must select Tools > Options > Toolbar, then switch to the Skin tab, select Metro3 and click OK.
Twenty-third in a series. The app count in Windows Store made a huge jump this week from 35,631 apps last week to 38,113 apps, an increase of 2,482 apps in total. The majority of new apps fall once again in the free category, with 2,044 new ones released this week for a total of 29,840. Paid apps increased by 439 this week to 8,273 in total. It appears as if Windows Store is picking up pace in regards to apps releases. The chart above highlights the progression in the last five weeks.
As far as updates go: the Skype app for Windows 8 bumped up to version 1.6, adding better options to block contacts in the communication app.
It’s no secret that Windows 8 has seen some controversial changes, in particular the removal of the Start menu. But with all the focus on these larger issues, you might have missed some smaller, but also significant design decisions. Like, for example, that there’s no longer any desktop alert when Windows updates are available.
There is a new alert on the logon screen, of course. And you can always set up Windows to install updates automatically. But, if you don’t reboot often (or you bypass the logon screen), and you want to keep tighter control over your updates, then you’ll need to look elsewhere for a little extra assistance. And Windows Update Notifier is the perfect candidate.
Twenty-second in a series. It has been a busy week filled with announcements and updates regarding Windows Store. The core applications Windows 8 Mail, Calendar and People got updated. Calendar users were in for a surprise if they used to sync their data with Google Calendar, as that does not work anymore after the update. The Mail app received significant improvements, including the ability to create, rename and delete folders inside the application and options to flag emails as important.
The People app got a new feature that lets you post messages to the Facebook Wall of friends, and the Calendar app received an interface makeover. Microsoft updated Xbox Music, too -- a new volume control option now acts independently from system volume and there are several other features, including the ability to make songs added to Xbox Music available on all compatible devices.
Twenty-first in a series. Several things happened in the past seven days with regards to Windows 8 and its apps. Microsoft launched a temporary program that rewards developers with money for apps they produce for the operating system. If you have followed this weekly series you know that the app growths is relatively stable. A monetary incentive may convince some developers to spend some of their resources on the production of apps for Windows 8 or Windows Phone.
Several apps received updates this week, including the OneNote app for Windows 8. It ships with pen and ink improvements, and support for Office 365 notebooks.