Windows 8 has started to land on millions of computers. Although the transition from the previous version may seem tough at start, this is something which must be done for evolution’s sake and for more entertainment than ever. As with any configuration, applications are the heart and the soul of the system and Windows 8 makes no exception.
Besides the included set of pre-installed packages, there are some titles which should not miss from the desktop, nor from the tablet, even in this early stage of conquest. The following list of Windows 8 applications contains the top 10 best titles of what Microsoft’s latest operating system can offer, at this moment. These programs were created for entertainment and productivity mainly, but you will find a pinch of security and other trends below.
10 best applications for Windows 8 beginners
All of these apps are compatible with both standard and RT versions of Windows 8, and will work in the former-Metro interface only. Although touch has been mainly the concept in thought when designing, we are most sure that developers have not forgotten about mouse and keyboard also.
Already encountered on other operating systems like iOS and Android, musiXmatch Lyrics is basically an application which finds lyrics for almost every song on the planet. The service has a huge database made out of over 6 million songs and is worth noting that has tracked everything we have thrown at it. Moreover, musiXmatch also offers a collection of the latest US and UK hits, which can be listened by users or enjoyed using videos ported right from YouTube. Or, if you are a karaoke fan…
Norton Satellite comes as an easy implementation of a helpful security assistant, which does not offer the same protection as a full-antivirus suite but has a few features which surely feel appealing. For instance, Norton Satellite scans every file from Facebook, Dropbox and other services from that area, and protects the user by preventing infections from arriving on the local machine.
Although it does not come with real-time threat detection, Norton’s software is specialized on web detections and from time to time, it can also be used to scan specific files found on the local station, but only on demand. It’s simple to use interface and the fact that it does not consume many resources have definitely convinced us to adopt it, for an extra level of security.
SmartGlass is a Microsoft application which comes in hand for those playing on the Xbox 360. It’s main purpose is to offer a complementary screen for the console, while keeping track of achievments, charts and additional video content. This app transforms the device into a console companion and whenever needed, it can also turn a tablet into a remote platform by launching apps, videos or games on the TV.
Although SmartGlass was published long before the final version of Windows 8, Microsoft has update the client with a collection of new features, in which users can also find real-time stats for sport watching and various other small, but important options.
Every tech reader has surely heard about TuneIn Radio for Windows 8 until now and if you haven’t, there’s no need to worry. This application supplies radio services through the use of internet with style. In a few words, TuneIn Radio contains more than 70,000 stations, streamed from every corner of the world (yes, we know it’s round).
Users can browse through stations basing on various criteria (music, sports, news, comedy, language, country), including location – those which permit the application to access location details, will be shown a list of nearby posts. Moreover, users can also define a list of favorite posts or even pin one on the Windows 8 Start screen, for easy access.
Multimedia 8 is the unofficial Windows 8 variant of the past Media Centre, but with some flavors added. The application allows users to browse through music files located on the station, videos and playlists, while supporting access for files found on the internet. The juicy part comes only now, because Multimedia 8 also has an unusual set of interesting features, like:
- 3D video support
- Multilanguage media support
- Advanced management of playlists (shuffle, create, etc.)
- Conversion from video to .MP4 or .WMV
- Streaming for DLNA TV
- Subtitle support using SRT and WebVTT
- Wireless streaming using PlayTo from other devices with Windows 8 or Windows Phone
- Video stabilization
- Audio and video recording
The News Bento is a classy display of always-updating content, showing headlines from various US-based publications by default, but permitting heavy customization for sources and even compatibility with Google Reader. This news application for Windows 8 displays the titles of stories updating tiles with relevant information and a small area for related sources.
Moreover, if the user wishes to expand the capabilities of this platform, News Bento can focus on certain sources, extracted either from RSS feeds either from the good-old Google Reader, and show story summaries right away. Those who want to read the full-version may do so by clicking the excerpt, and the whole information will be displayed in the same windows by the use of the ex-Metro interface, without relying on the browser at-all.
OneNote MX is Microsoft’s note-taking assistant which works from every Windows 8 platform (even mobile) and it’s fully integrated with the standard search function. Once created, notebooks can be located from remote terminals, as long as the one searching them is the same user.
Speaking of creation, OneNote MX can help you build documents from photos by interpreting the handwritten or typed text, manually create text notes or even capture pictures. For those who wish to extend the features a bit more, this application can also draw and record audio. It’s a perfect combination of creativity, productivity and mobility for someone who needs to write things on the way, from multiple devices. Wait, that’s me…
Wikipedia was one of the first important clients to release an Windows 8 compatible application, and as several reviews suggest, developers have done a great job of porting the classic printed look to a program optimized mostly for tablets.
Once inside the Wikipedia app, eyes will surely be drawn close to the featured pictures section, which once tapped, redirect the user to a relevant article about the photo, but without existing the panel. Moreover, Wikipedia 8 (let us call it that way) also offers a nice main screen, recently-updated articles, shiny design and an ample use of tiles.
One thing we’ve experienced while reading articles from the Windows 8 app was that Wikipedia has introduced an invisible “reading-mode”, if I can call it that, just like the latest version of Microsoft Office. While the user is reading, most things are hidden from the interface and the only thing left on the screen is the information itself. Another plus for Wiki.
Wasting time on IMDB to look up information about a movie will never be simple with MovieGuide, the Windows 8 application which combines the use of the website with trailers from YouTube and the advantage of creating movie lists. The information encountered within is actually sourced from our buddy Wikipedia upstairs and depending on the movie title, it can be too much or to less for certain users.
The strong point of MovieGuide is accessibility and the nice design, which makes searching very easy. Also, those YouTube trailers bypass the slow-loading ones of IMDB and the summary information is ideal for someone who wants to make a general idea about a movie, but insufficient for a review.
SnagFilm is a broader NetFlix variant and can be considered as the perfect tool to use when there is no signal on the television or you are on the road. The application can stream everything from a cooking show to the latest episode of Boardwalk Empire, providing on-demand access to thousands of shows. The best part is that a vast part of these titles are free to watch and that independent movies are also included.
Browsing through application is done by using categories ( thriller, comedy, drama, family, science, nature, etc.) and the collection holds titles from minor pictures to well-known movies.