Back before the new Consumer Preview of Windows 8, I made it clear that I really was on the fence about Metro and likely would stay that way until I had a better idea of how the apps work.
Fast-forward to today and I’ve had about 8 hours or so of Windows 8 CP experience. Am I any closer to passing true judgment on Microsoft’s radically new Metro UI?
Actually, I’m just as torn as ever. Windows 8 Consumer Preview looks a million times more refined than the Frankensteinian monster that was bolted together for the Developer Preview, but it still leaves me as puzzled as ever.
I had hoped that I would get to try a robust library of key apps that proved just how impressive METRO was and why I should use it. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect tons of apps, I just figured Microsoft would focus on only the most useful ‘key’ apps for the Consumer Preview.
Browsing through the Windows Store I found that this was far from true.
Sure, there are about one-hundred apps. Do they really do what I’m looking for though? Not really. In order to truly enjoy Metro I need a few ‘key’ things.
A POP-based email client, a quality browser, and a way to type within Metro. I really didn’t expect that last one, and likely won’t get any real Metro Word Processor experience for a while. As for the first one, IE for Metro isn’t bad. It’s clean and easy to use, but it still isn’t as flexible as Firefox.
Finally, email was a bit disappointing. While there is an email client built into Metro it only supports a few standards like Exchange and Google Mail. No Yahoo and no way to input your own POP accounts.
Keep in mind that I do not claim to be an expert, so maybe there is a way to do this and I just missed it. If that is true, though, MS did a poor job making the Email app easy to use. My guess is that is simply isn’t supported.
So the three things I truly need the most do not exist in METRO at this time. Again, I didn’t necessarily expect a Word Processor this early into the game. The problem is I can’t fairly give the Metro my approval or disapproval until more apps arrive.
So I will put it this way, Metro’s interface is easy to use and has a reasonable foundation. As a platform I think it has some major potential. What it will really come down to is the apps. Strong apps will make Metro a compelling experience. Without it? I’ll likely spend 99% of my time on the ‘desktop’ side of Windows 8.
I was a little disappointed to see that MS didn’t leverage its existing Windows Phone apps better and start working with developers to convert some of the most key apps on that platform. While a social system does exist, I would have loved to see official versions of apps like Facebook. A name-brand e-reader program like Kindle Books would have been a nice bonus, too.
I think when it boils down to it, I don’t know if I like the way the operating system switches between interfaces. The problem is I think I’d rather use Desktop for 90% of everything, or Metro for 90% of everything.
Until Metro gets better apps upon release (which I’m sure it will), I will likely only be going into Metro for occasional testing, reviewing, and to better help our readers make a decision about Metro for themselves. Of course it hasn’t been even 24 hours yet.
Perhaps something I find in Metro will truly win me over between now and the official release.
What do you think of Metro and its existing apps? What killer apps do you hope to see when Windows 8 is released commercially?