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Product: Windows 8
Company: Microsoft
Website: http://www.microsoft.com
MSRP:
See Pricing
Review By: Andre Da Costa

with Byron Hinson, Robert Stein  contributing

Windows Store

Table Of Contents (45 Pages)
1: Introduction
2: Pricing, Editions & System
Requirements
3:
Installation, Setup & Upgrading
4: Initial Impressions
5: Daily Usage & Application Compatibility
6: Desktop
7: File Explorer
8: Start Screen Apps
9: Internet Explorer 10

10: Networking & Connectivity
11: Windows Store
12: Gaming
13: Advanced Features - Part 1
14: Advanced Features - Part 2
15: USB 3.0 Support & Security
16: Performance & Reliability
17: Support Services & Activation 3.0
18: Other Features
19: Conclusion & Online Resources

Microsoftís digital store for purchasing applications for Windows 8 is now open. Featuring a decent starting collection of evaluation applications and games from third party developers, the Windows Store is exclusively a Modern interface, you wonít find any desktop applications here. Microsoft is carrying the platform in a new direction, if you want classic applications you can continue to acquire those through the Microsoft Store or third party developer and merchant websites or brick and mortar stores. What I like about the Windows Store is the deep integration with Windows 8 from a Start Screen perspective, applications are tightly integrated, whether it is searching the store or installing an application. Navigating comes across too basic because of Microsoftís mandatory horizontal right scrolling philosophy. It would have been nice to have a vertical category list for quick access to popular categories. I assume the fluidity of Modern interface on Tablets will change this perception. Itís just that itís a different story when using with a mouse and keyboard on a traditional laptop or desktop PC. The acquisition process for applications is a piece of cake, the store contains a combination:

  • Games

  • Social

  • Entertainment

  • Photos

  • Music & Videos

  • Books & Reference

  • News & Weather

  • Food & Dining

  • Travel

  • Productivity

  • Tools

  • Security

  • Education
     

When you find an application you want, just click on it to learn about the app, which includes a page description and accompanying screenshots. When you are ready to download, click Install and your new app will be pinned to the Start screen while it downloads. Applications are relatively small; I tried out the new Evernote app for Windows 8. While it downloaded I went off to do something else in the mean time. Windows 8 graciously notified me the app was downloaded and I clicked on it to start using it, really nice and simple process that does not cause any frustration. Finding apps on the store was not immediately obvious; I accidentally discovered this through the Search Start Screen interface which offered an option to search for Modern interface apps, including the Windows Store.

One of the things I sense about Windows Store and generally across all Modern interface applications is itís really designed to be a Touch Centric app. Yes, keyboard and mouse are supported, but the feel of the interface makes it come across more geared towards using on a Tablet. Donít get me wrong, you can get by just fine with a keyboard and mouse, but when you think about things like the category view and horizontal scrolling, I think a little accommodation for mouse and keyboard users with a frozen vertical category view pane would have been nice. We are looking at the future of application acquisition on Windows and I believe Microsoft has done a good job so far. The dynamics that the new Modern interface Language and itís under the hood tools offers is an opportunity to improve the store as the need arises. Speaking of updates, the Windows Store takes care of updating all your built in Modern interface and third party Modern interface apps bought through the Windows Store. This is very convenient and itís something I would have loved to see for desktop apps, but Microsoft notes the complexity and diversity of third party desktop apps make this difficult. The Windows Store is more managed; third party developers have to adhere to certain standards before they can be approved for the store. So, things like security and maintenance are all taken care of. Another benefit is, when you refresh your Windows 8 PC, your apps are automatically preserved. Another bonus convenient feature is the ability to redownload all the apps you have installed across multiple Windows 8 devices. You have the option to pick and choose or just download everything. In addition to that, you can use your store bought apps on up to 5 Windows 8 devices which is really nice.

Windows 8 presents a new paradigm in software development and software distribution. The future is headed in a direction of web only for procuring software. Windows 8 embraces this new way of acquiring software with its new Windows Store and the experience so far is quite good. My only drawback is traditional desktop apps are not supported like the App Store on the Mac. Easier access to categories would be nice instead of using the horizontal scroll through method.
 

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