Windows 8’s Anatomy (Part 3)

12/22/2012 9:12:29 AM

Windows 8 comes with existing apps classified as Media, Social and Search. Most of them look like completed apps which are optimized for previous Windows version we have seen earlier. However, there is room for upgrade and Microsoft did provide regular updates.

Windows 8’s search apps

Microsoft gives Bing a remarkable presence in Windows 8. It becomes the default search engine in Internet Explorer 10.0 and includes Maps, Travel, Sport, News and Finance.

Bing’s apps surely won’t be used frequently as they are carbon copies of search features in internet explorer 10.0 though they own more interesting interface. Maps app is a good version of online Bing maps but it works well on large screen to explorer areas. However, it lacks Bird’s Eye (imagery captured at a 45 degree angle).

Travel app offers eye-catching things, such as info and views of places of interest around the world. As not completed yet, it provides beautiful overviews as well as info about flights and hotels.

In Windows 8’s Consumer Preview version, Sport app concentrated a little more on US. Now it gets along with UK and brings friendly vertical Modern UI to fans of soccer, cricket, golf and F1. In particular sports, such as soccer, you can select a specific team and follow them. Then, feeds are going to bring you info, results and images from that team.

News app seems basic but it lets you create personal news feed by adding sections for topics you cared about. Instead of limiting you in some categories, the app allows you to type and search for titles with the ‘key words’. There’re a lot of news sources to choose from.

Last but not least, you have Finance app which enables you to keep track of stocks and shares (through a list that can be re-configured) as well as financial news. Another section provides stock rates updated in every single minute.

Windows 8’s Search apps

Windows 8’s Search apps

Windows 8’s Media apps

Media apps in Windows 8’s preview versions were example of how the completed apps will finally look like. In final version, they seem like a store rather than a place for browsing and playing your music/video, not just because they are branded Xbox.

Music, Video and Games apps are basically alike although they have different contents. In Music and Video, basic info is hidden in the left and the app default shows songs/videos that are newly added or well-known in Xbox store. You can preview music tracks but now there’s no trailer for most video contents.

For $180 per month (much cheaper than Spotify Premium), you can register a Xbox Music Pass (early dubbed Zune Music Pass) account which allows you to unlimitedly stream music to play on PC, Windows Phone or Xbox.

Photos app haven’t changed much since beta versions. It allows you to view images that are locally stored or kept in online storage, lik SkyDrive, Facebook and Flickr.

You can make one of your images to become app’s background or tile in Start menu. Slideshow button on home screen displays images randomly from all storages but you may opt for a service, like local storage, for photos as well.

Sematic zoom is supported by Photos app, allowing you to zoom out to watch thumbnails of images/folders and making navigating a big library faster. You can also perform pinch-to-zoom on a thumbnail to watch the whole picture in full-screen or pinch again to return thumbnail overview.

It’s possible to import images from USB device or memory card via Photos app and share them through any installed apps that support image-sharing.

Videos uploaded to Facebook can be viewed by Photos app but not in Video app. Oddly, there’s no option for connecting to online video services, like YouTube or Vimeo, in Video app.

Windows 8’s Social apps

Social apps include Mail, Calendar, Messaging and People yet Photos can be considered one of them, given the fact that it collects info from some online services. Initializing any one of these apps at first time prompts you to log in to some services, such as Google, Gmail, Hotmail, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook…

After having been configured, these apps automatically fill your personal information, email, appointments and updates. There are surely going to be overlap between apps, especially People and Messaging.

Messaging lets you add Windows Live Messenger and Facebook accounts, but whenever you compose a new message, People app pops up thus you are able to see who’re online and choose one of them. There’s no overview of contact list of online people like it used to be in full versions of Live Messenger or Facebook. Besides, unlike in Live Messenger, you only can send texts without image or file plus there’re no support for video or voice chat. Messaging app doesn’t work with other IM client apps at the time though the issue will be fixed in near future.

People app seems more completed. You are able to link with accounts from Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Hotmail and Outlook. In case accounts are added and you feel they are crowded, it’s advised to use web interface to remove linked account.

Windows 8’s Social apps

Windows 8’s Social apps

Contacts from each app are automatically synced. On the left lie favorite contacts and Social column which has links to notifications and new feeds.

Mail app is a good example of what can be done well by Modern UI. It is divided into 3 columns with folders (Inbox, Sent, Trash…) lying on the left. In bottom-left area are names of configured accounts, thus you need to click on a name in order to switch to that account.

Beside this, Mail provides few features. You only can sort emails by time and there’s no way to flag or mark messages. Talks are not display in threads. We think that many people will prefer continuing to use their webmail app tasks that are more complex than instant messaging or e-mailing.

One useful feature is to pin a folder (Inbox, for instance) into Start screen. Through this way, you would create a shortcut for each email account and jump into it instantly from Start screen.

Calendar app synchronizes all of your accounts logged in to gather dates. Feeds are marked with colors and you can turn it off (if preferring) as well as change the overview into day, week, month…

SkyDrive app provides a simple way to view, edit and download you online files. Application bar, showing up when pulled out from the bottom (or once user right-click) plus options are ready for you to create, upload or delete folder.

Mail app is a good example of what can be done well by Modern UI.

Mail app is a good example of what can be done well by Modern UI.

Internet Explorer 10.0

You may note recognize 10.0 in comparison with its previous version (in Windows 7). By default, websites are displayed in full-screen mode containing address and thumbnails which pop up only when you right-click or slide from the screen’s top or bottom edge.

This means that you are able to see more than one web page but we are confused by why Microsoft move address bar into the screen’s bottom. It may be an attempt to break an unnecessary familiar habit and tabs should be easily seen in the bottom.

Internet Explorer 10.0

Internet Explorer 10.0


  •  Luna Keyboard - Illuminate Your Workspace
  •  iStorage diskAshur 500GB Review
  •  Lite-On iHes112-115 - 12x SATA Internal Blu-Ray Combo Drive
  •  Microsoft Wedge Keyboard - The First Keyboard To Be Built For Windows 8
  •  Microsoft Wedge Touch Mouse - Windows 8-Friendly Four-Way Scrolling Anywhere
  •  Organize Windows With Virtual Desktops
  •  SEH Computerteknik myUTN-150 - USB Deviceserver
  •  Home PC Group Test - December 2012 (Part 2)
  •  Home PC Group Test - December 2012 (Part 1) : Arbico i5357 eXcel, CCL Elite Raven, Chillblast Fusion Orb
  •  How To Deal With Windows And Network-Related Problems (Part 2)
  •  How To Deal With Windows And Network-Related Problems (Part 1)
  •  Kyocera Ecosys FS-4300DN - Power Up Your Department
  •  Windows Vista : Scripting Internet Explorer
  •  Windows Vista : Programming the WshNetwork Object
  •  Windows 95 - Recall When It Was First Introduced
  •  StarDock Start8 vs. Classic Shell - Head To Head
  •  Sapphire Pure Platinum A85XT - Sensible Smattering Of Features
  •  Synology DS213+ - Great Features, But Expensive
  •  Thermaltake Level 10m - The BMW Gaming Mice
  •  ZOTAC GTX 650 TI – It’s Time To Play
    Most View
    Without A Wire
    Turn An Old Computer Into A Server Using Ubuntu (Part 2)
    Microsoft Content Management Server Development : Building SharePoint Web Parts - Configuring the Web Part, Debugging the Web Part
    Push Your Phone To Its Limits (Part 2) : Swype for tablets
    Track Down! It… Some Proper Security Softwares For Your Laptop (Part 2)
    Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5 - The One Launched Later Is Not Necessary Better (Part 2)
    What's New In Visiual Studio 2012
    HP ElitePad 900 - HP's First Windows 8 Tablet For Business World (Part 1)
    Exposure 1010 CD Player And Integrated Amplifier
    Vertix Raptor-I Wireless Helmet Intercom
    Top 10
    HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook - A First Chrome OS Attempt That Cuts Too Many Corners (Part 2)
    HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook - A First Chrome OS Attempt That Cuts Too Many Corners (Part 1)
    Holiday Gift Guide – Smartphones – Aug 2013
    Holiday Gift Guide – Tablets – Aug 2013
    Wacom Cintiq 13HD - A Space-Saving Pen Display For Designers (Part 2)
    Wacom Cintiq 13HD - A Space-Saving Pen Display For Designers (Part 1)
    Armour39 - A Fitness Tracker For Those Athletes Who Want To Become The Best (Part 2)
    Armour39 - A Fitness Tracker For Those Athletes Who Want To Become The Best (Part 1)
    Krell S-550i – Not An Amplifier, It’s A Kind Of A Beast. (Part 2)
    Krell S-550i – Not An Amplifier, It’s A Kind Of A Beast. (Part 1)