Windows 8 – the Apps

In an earlier post I spoke about some of the new apps that come ‘out-of-the-box’ with Windows 8; needless to say they have been revamped and some are quite cool.

I will not be using the Mail and Calendar apps as I use Outlook but if you use HotMail or Google Mail you may want to take a look at them as a good way of reading your mail without using a browser.

The apps I really like are News, Weather and Map; you can allow these apps to be location aware in the same way that you can allow apps on your Windows 7 Phone, IPhone and Android Phone and, once you allow that, they do a pretty good job of locating you; for example here is the Map app showing my location:

image image When you first open the app it shows a high level view of the UK (probably gets that from your computer settings so if you are in the USA it will centre on there). Once it works out where you are it zooms in to centre on your location. Just to show how accurate it is I zoomed in a bit more and it is pretty much right on the house.

The News and weather apps were not all that good for the first release as they were very USA centric but that has all changed. Here are some views of today’s weather courtesy of the Weather app:

image image image image image image

The opening page shows the overview for the next 10 days although only 5 at a time; this caused a slight bit of confusion as, on a touch screen you just flick the screen to the left to make it scroll to the next page. if you look closely at the right edge of page 1 you will see a little arrow which you have to click or touch to get the second five days. sliding to page 2 gives the next 24 hours in detail; page 3 shows a set of weather maps and page 4 shows average temperatures, rainfall and snowfall with the highlight showing the current month and some detail on the right.

image When you click on one of the maps it zooms to a nice time based animation.

The News app could very easily become my daily newspaper:

image image image image image image

The layout is logical (for me) with each page showing progressively more detail; the opening page is the top story of the day followed by headlines for the follow up stories.

Each of the sections has an expander; click this and you get the rest of the headlines in that subject area, i.e. Sci/Tech expands to :image image

The expanded section has, in this case 2 more pages of headlines: once you see a story that you want to read more about you just click on it and you are taken to the source article, in this case the BBC’s technology page.

As with the move from Windows 3.11 to Windows 95 and with the change from drop down menus to the Ribbon bar in Office, Windows 8 is a paradigm shift which, I have no doubt, some will moan about, although I think it will appeal to the people who’s main use of a computer is social networking and information gathering.

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