So you’ve just fired up your fresh upgrade to Windows 8 or perhaps you ran out and bought a brand new Windows 8/RT device. What now? While there aren’t nearly as many apps in Windows 8 as there are on current competing platforms, there are still 8000 choices, which can be a little daunting.
If you are just moving to Windows 8, there a few apps you will want to grab right away to jump in and enjoy the experience as best as possible. Let’s take a look at just a few of them:
Netflix for Windows 8 Start Screen UI
Pretty much the de facto movie streaming app out there for any mobile platform these days. The Netflix app for Windows 8 works well and while it has a little Metro-esque flair, it runs pretty close to other mobile versions out there. Having a native app for Netflix without relying on a browser is actually one of the most compelling reasons to use the Start Screen for desktop/laptop owners I’d wager.
Hulu for Windows 8 Start Screen UI
While Netflix might rule the movie streaming world, Hulu is one of the greatest sources for TV entertainment. Having both Netflix and Hulu available from day one is a HUGE victory for Microsoft. The only “downside” to this app is you need Hulu Plus and can’t use a free account, but that’s not any different from the Hulu app you’ll find on other platforms like iOS and Android.
MetroTwit for Windows 8 Start Screen UI
While there is no native Twitter client out for Windows 8 yet, we do have MetroTwit. Not only is MetroTwit a fully functional Twitter experience, it is also very stable and extremely attractive in its overall design. It’s also worth noting that MetroTwit has full support for multiple accounts (via Pro or Plus version), and even geolocation support.
Skype for Windows 8 Start Screen UI
You knew this would on the list, didn’t you? The new Skype app is excellent, if not perfect. It has a great Metro look and seems to have all the basic functionality you’d expect. Is it perfect? Maybe not, but it is certainly functional. If it isn’t enough for you, Windows 8 (x86) owners can also grab the new desktop client.
IM+ for Windows 8 Start Screen UI
While Skype is awesome, not everyone uses a Microsoft or Skype account. For those that use AIM, Gchat, ICQ, Jabber or Facebook, IM+ might be the perfect solution. It’s free and even lets you enable push notifications as well.
TuneIn Radio for Windows 8 Start Screen UI
TuneIn or SlackerRadio
Xbox Music now has free streaming music for Windows 8 owners, but if you want an alternative, SlackerRadio and TuneIn (pictured above) both offer a more traditional radio-station-oriented streaming experience. TuneIn is probably the most robust of these with over thousands of actual U.S. (and global) radio stations avaliable for listening directly through the Internet.
Clock comes to the Microsoft Store
This one might seem a bit silly, but this live tile simply puts an easy to use clock right on the screen. This is much more useful than you’d realize simply because the start screen doesn’t have a clock of its own, for whatever reason. Again, a free and simple app, but worthwhile for those that don’t want to have to jump into the Desktop Mode just to see the time.
SmartGlass for Windows 8
Looking for a way to add cross-functionality between the Xbox 360 and your Windows 8 devices? SmartGlass essentially allows you to use your Windows 8 devices as a remote control for the 360 for controlling movie and other content.
StumbleUpon for Windows 8 UI
Ah, StumbleUpon. For those that like random stumbling into great articles– there is few better places to go. The StumbleUpon app is quite attractive and works rather well. Not only that, but you can also share websites, audio and video directly through the Share Charm.
Summing it up…
Odds are that I missed a few good apps out there, so my apologies. That being said, downloading just these few apps should help you dive in to an excellent multimedia and social experience with Windows 8. Some of these excellent apps go a long way at a showing that you don’t need 500,000+ apps in order to have a functional mobile experience.
Windows 8 will continue to grow and more apps will likely surface each and every day. In the meantime, there are already tons of great choices as illustrated in the creation of this list, just head over to the Store and check them out for yourself. Do you have Windows 8 already?
What are some of your favorite new apps?