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Extensive updates to Windows 8 core experience apps detailed

WP Central Extensive updates to Windows 8 core experience apps detailed

Windows 8 has been pegged with the RTM title for some time but that does not mean it is really done. The code was simply ready to ship to PC makers and for developers to get busy creating apps.

The end user experience in Windows 8 has remained problematic, mainly due to the incomplete nature of the core app experiences when using the tile based WinRT interface. Whilst there have been a few minor updates nothing much has changed from when the OS was in its first public preview. All looks set to change as Microsoft just announced a slew of coming updates to the entire set of Microsoft WinRT apps.

Whilst there is much excitement for things such as Surface tablets and new PC form factors there has also been some worry about just how well Windows 8 will work in everyday use. With Windows 8, Microsoft has kept the core apps separate from the OS, they're just apps like everything else and can be updated through the Windows Store in the same way and as often as they like through that mechanism. Therefore, unlike Windows Phone, which currently requires a full OS update to change the People hub, mail and maps, Windows 8 should be able to keep up with new services and features as required.

 

What can we look forward to?

In short they have detailed lots of small but important functional updates are coming that will greatly improve how robust the out of box experience is on the new OS. Here are some that we think should be greatly welcomed. Mail is set to get IMAP support and a Conversations view, which many will be happy to see. SkyDrive will finally let you create a custom sort order and search, which should help those like myself who have over 100GB of files. The photos app picks up some basic editing abilities and the interesting inclusion of photos on network locations being made visible from Windows Home server, Standard network shares and HomeGroups.

Maps gets some nice additions such as the inclusion of indoor maps and the fantastic Birds Eye view. The Music app is set to receive expanded music services so we’re wondering if others will be able to plug into the built in Music experience, we’d love to see a unified place for other music buying and streaming services. In the case of the expanded Music services, we’d guess this is just the addition of the new music streaming services we now know about. Games get updated to include features such as in game purchases.

WP Central Extensive updates to Windows 8 core experience apps detailed

SkyDrive

  • Search within SkyDrive
  • Rename and move folders and files
  • New first-run experience
  • Custom sort order

Photos

  • Crop and rotate photos
  • New auto-curated collage slideshows
  • View photos and videos on network locations in your Pictures Library such as Windows Home Server, network shares, and HomeGroups
  • Move through photos in your Pictures Library even when you open them from the desktop

 

Maps

  • Bird's eye view
  • 3,000+ indoor venue maps
  • Driving directions hints
  • Improved navigation and layout
  • Improved customization, including custom pushpins and roaming options
  • Integration with Bing and Travel apps

 

Bing

  • Richer search results for local content and images
  • Bing rewards integration
  • Use zoom on your search results to see related queries
  • Use the file picker to select an image from Bing to use on your lock screen or in your other apps

Finance

  • Additional news and magazine content
  • More market exchanges enabled
  • Finance videos

 

News

  • Additional news content from partners such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal
  • Enhanced article reader, including font customization, zoom, pagination, and more
  • Improved offline reading experience
  • News videos
  • Slideshows

 

Sports

  • Additional news and magazine content
  • Sports videos
  • Slideshows
  • New soccer leagues, including MLS, J. League, and Brazilian League

 

Travel

  • Additional news and magazine content
  • Improved flight search and new flight progress indicator
  • Improved hotel listing page
  • Interactive 360-degree panoramas (gyroscope supported)

 

Weather

  • Improved default location usability
  • Hourly weather forecasts, up to 10 days
  • Day & evening high/low temperatures

 

Video

  • Purchasing in local currencies
  • Closed captioning
  • Search by actor or director

 

Music

  • Expanded music services
  • Rich "Now Playing" experience
  • Discover more music with SmartDJ

 

Games

  • Exciting new games
  • In-game purchasing
  • Invites and turn notifications

 

What they don’t mention

These are very short bullet points on what appears to be the final push to get these core apps up to spec in time for the big day at the end of October when Windows 8 is released. We’d expect the look and feel of these apps to change fairly radically when they appear. As these are going to be delivered at the time of the full OS launch, we’re sure there will be more than a few extra surprises here. Of course, there is something they haven’t mentioned, the new software to enable Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 can sync.

As ever, we would like to hear from you. Any features here that excite? If you have been using Windows 8, what are your thoughts on those built in apps?.

Source: MSDN

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Reader comments

Extensive updates to Windows 8 core experience apps detailed

52 Comments

 

Yes, nothing is ever finished but lets hope those core experiences remain a work in progress and don’t stagnate like the old Windows Live programs… RB

Yeah really, because last I was using the messenger app I had to actually goto outlook.com to actually message someone it was saying "can't send message at this time" That was on the RTM. I tried downloading windows live essentials and quite naturally it wasn't compatible :(

I just want to post something to twitter in the People Hub and post something to facebook that isnt a comment, not sure thats coming, but i hope it does.

 

Yeah, tell me about it! How about a more extensible system to allow other people to simply plug into the hub too to allow really powerful new capabilities? RB

Yeah in the RTM version you can post Twitter and Facebook updates from the "Me" page i.e. click on the giant profile picture. and it's right there in front of you underneath the heading "What's New"

 

You are able to send updates to Facebook or to Twitter but cant select to send to both. I presumed that was what was meant. RB

if they don't change the music app i'll probably never use it.
i need to have it in sidebar mode and i need to be able to drag music from a folder on the desktop into that app. Or at least create playlists via ctrl+enter or something.
I mean i'm still on Release PReview here but the Music App is absolutely horrible.

Xbox music on Windows 8 is totally different. You can't even compare it to the one in release preview, it's very fast and I personally like it and use it as daily music app.

Honestly guys the RTM Muisc is much improved, but unfortunately still not perfectly designed--and crashes frequently.

Its useless if you use a NAS because the music or video libraries do not index network shares, in this case the media does not even show up in the app. You have to manually search for music on your share and its slow because of the lack of indexing. This indexing issue goes back to Windows 7 but needs to be addressed.

@OMG55

Crashes because he has crap hardware and bad memory more then likely.

I love how idiots blame the OS for so many bugs when the real culprits are poorly written drivers and buggy hardware.

True. I'm staying with winamp for now for easier handling and vastly more powerful library managment, transcode and sync capabilities.
 
And I'd really like matroska support for the video app. As of now it's pretty useless since I don't watch anything not mkv nowadays. It's the standard format for video enthusiasts, why can't the industry catch on? They don't even have to pay licensing fees...

Hope they've fixed the maps app.  Anyone else have issues zooming in?  It wouldn't load up any zoomed in maps for me. 
And the mail app, they better have that "empty junkmail" function implemented by now.

Will these updates be released all over simultaneously since I have windows 8 consumer preview on my laptop in India?

Aside from localization based impacts, I don't see why they wouldn't all cone out at the same time. have any other windows updates suffered regional lags compared to the us release?

I hope to god that they make the people app auto update the what's new feed then I'll be able to get rid of tweet deck.

What about sharing-setting for files in Skydrive? Right now I hate to go to the Skydrive webpage to do that.
 
And why cant I share a file to a person that does'nt have a MS LiveID-account? My friends always get promted to create an account.
 
Sharing through Skydrive is somewhat broken.

What? It is very related to Win8 as the Win8 SkyDrive Metro-app doesnt have any settings for sharing.

If they make accounts, it raises awareness for people who didn't know about SkyDrive; free advertisement, they are a business and need to gain customers

That's not the way it should work.
In all my cases people I wanted to share with said "Fuck it it doesnt work, use dropbox or something else". People dont bother registering to download a small .zip-file.

"Of course, there is something they haven’t mentioned, the new software to enable Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 can sync."
Does this mean the companion app will be released this week or am I getting this wrong?

Does anyone's Weather app properly show on the Lock Screen? I would have thought it would display weather but not sure if Lock screen apps can do that (seems like only icon + number). I know it displays its icon when there's an alert but that's it.
I want the current temp on my lock screen!

I hope they update the music player where you can search easier instead of scrolling...blah...and clickinging on an artist...maybe have it so you could see all the albums you have.  Seems geared/forced to do everything over the cloud instead of what you own
 
ALso fix the built in pdf viewer..so it can print

I want to see support for the volume bar play/pause/next/back media controls in desktop apps. I was disappointed when not even wmp made use of it...

The mail app is a beauty. And simple to use. And works. Me like.
Actually the entire win8 is great. And those are big words coming from a die-hard maccer!