Windows 8: Built-In Applications

Windows 8 comes with the following built-in touch-optimized applications out-of-the box (meaning that they're installed by default). These apps can perform several different types of functions from managing your digital communications (email, IM, etc.) to browsing the different types of content (movies, videos, pictures, etc.) on your local system.

As I talked about in an earlier article, there are two types of applications available for Windows 8. There are the older desktop applications that are installed by using optical media or by downloading it off the Internet. Then there are the native Windows 8 apps that are written to take advantage of the new Windows UI.

The native Windows 8 applications can only be downloaded or purchased from the Windows Store. Native applications come with a few advantages, first the Store handles all the updates from the publisher of these programs. Second, if you have to rebuild your system, these apps will be reinstalled for you automatically.

Information Applications
  • Bing: Perform searches using Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
  • Finance: Allows you to display the up-to-date financial news, add stocks to a watch list, or view graphs of market performance.
  • News: Allows you to browse and read the latest news. The "Bing Daily" news is shown by default, but you can subscribe to other news sources, such as the BBC, New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.
  • Maps: Uses Bing Maps to display location information locally or from around the world.
  • Sports: Allows you to stay on top of the up-to-date sports related new stories, game schedules and scores about your favorite teams.
  • Travel: Allows you to browse information about popular tourist destinations. The application also provides flight and local hotel information, tourist guides about the area, and finding local attractions.
  • Weather: Displays the latest weather and extended forecast information for the local area or other designations that you specify. The current weather updates can be configured to display on the device's lock screen.

Personal Applications
  • Calendar: Displays personal calendar event information from online services, such as Hotmail, Outlook.com, and Google Calendars and combines them into a single view.
  • Mail: A simple email client that provides a basic set of features. Works with Hotmail, Outlook.com, or GMail accounts. There is also support for email accounts that support the following protocol: IMAP, POP, and Exchange ActiveSync (EAS).
  • Messaging: Supports Microsoft’s Windows Live Messenger (formerly known as MSN) and Facebook chat, other IM networks are not supported.
  • People: Allows you to bring together all your contacts and related social updates from different sites into one app. The application can pull contact and update information from: Hotmail, Outlook.com, Google , Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

General Applications
  • Camera: Allows you to capture still images and videos using the webcam attached to your computer.
  • Internet Explorer: Windows 8 comes with Internet Explorer 10, which includes all the latest features and other technologies for browsing the web (such as: HTML5, CSS3, SVG,etc.). There are two versions of the IE interface, one that supports a minimalistic touch-optimized UI, and the other version that is optimized for use on the desktop. Its important to note that these are not two versions of IE, its just two different interfaces for the same application.
  • Reader: View PDF and XPS files without having to install an additional 3rd party application.
  • SkyDrive: Allows you to manage (download, delete, or upload) files stored in your SkyDrive account.

Content Applications
  • Games: From here you can play Xbox-branded Windows 8 games, unfortunately you're not able to actually play Xbox console games. When you sign in with your Xbox account, you have access to Xbox-related social features, such as: Xbox achievements, game invites, turn notifications, and more.
  • Music: From here you can listen to your own music installed on the local computer or access "Xbox-branded" music. The application also offers free, advertising-supported music streaming like Pandora and other similar online music services.
  • Photos: This app allows you to view photos from multiple sources, including your local computer's Pictures library, or ones stored in other online accounts, such as SkyDrive, Facebook, or Flickr.
  • Store: allows you to find, purchase or download free Windows 8 native apps, it also allows you to update your existing ones.
  • Video: Like the Music app, from here you can watch your own videos installed on the local computer or buy some "Xbox-branded" movies, videos or other content.
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