Guess what? The Windows 8 App Store actually has some great official apps. It’s just that nobody knows they’re there.
Windows 8 and Windows RT have the potential to be groundbreaking operating systems if taken seriously by developers. But that’s a big if. What the Windows App store is seriously lacking at the moment is, well, apps.
Now, I don’t mean by numbers. By numbers, the Windows store looks fabulous. But that’s part of the problem, too. All these mediocre apps have flooded the store, so it’s difficult to find the decent apps when they arrive. In the past few months some long-awaited apps have hit the store, yet many people haven’t realised they’re there. We’re here to fix that – for you at least.
The Bing Translator is not like most other translating apps. It’s really very clever! It uses your camera to view the text it should translate, then overlays the translation onto the image. You can also download language packs for offline translation if you know you’ll be travelling without cheap accessible Internet access. Traditional translation methods are also available, such as pulling text from a webpage, cutting and pasting text or translating text from another Windows app.
This app has been around on Windows Phone for a while now, but has only just made it to the Windows 8/RT store. It’s just what your Windows tablet needs if you’re travelling or living the expat life.
Can you believe it? This is an official Adobe Photoshop express application – and it’s FREE! Download this app and what you get is essentially the power of Photoshop simplified. This is not an app for people who like to fiddle extensively with their photos. If you just want to take a photo and “Make it better” before you upload it to Facebook, however, you can trust Photoshop to have a pretty good idea how to do just that.
It has all the basic features of cropping, rotating, straightening and red-eye removal. There is a one-touch auto-fix tool for people who don’t know what they are doing or have limited time on their hands. There is also a simple colour slider, basic filters and in-app purchases of more tools and effects if you want it. Every hobby photographer needs this app.
For those of us who took up using Endomondo on their Android phone or iOS device (see our review of the Endomondo Android app), we can now share our data across to Windows with the official Endomondo app.
In brief, Endomondo is a workout tracker that automatically tracks your workout as you do it using GPS or your fitbit. The Windows app is a companion app to the mobile phone app, which does the automatic workout tracking.
You can add workout records manually, share your favourite routes with other local users and share your workout history with your friends. Later, these workouts can be automatically synced to other web apps like MyFitnessPal to track your overall health progress.
Finally, a decent Foursquare app! It doesn’t matter if you don’t use Foursquare, this app will still give you local suggestions of great places to visit. Just search for your heart’s desire and browse the gorgeous images until you know where you want to go. Each location shows a few key images, a user rating, you can quickly see commendations and easily view how many people are checked in currently.
You can also limit your search according to distance from you if you’re not keen to go far. The app will give you directions and opening hours to make sure you find the place and arrive at the right time.
If you are a Foursquare user, you can also use this app to check in, rate places and upload photos, chat with friends and make lists of the places you should visit later. This app is perfect for travellers and local socialites alike.
If you have been using Windows 8 for a while, you may have previously settled on one of the many third-party Twitter apps. However, the official Twitter app was released earlier this year. Sadly, due to the way the Windows app store works, this official app still isn’t very prominently featured, so I doubt many people even know it’s there.
The Twitter App is gorgeous and I personally love that you can navigate through to your favourite Twitter lists and pin the list to your start page. That makes the app perfect, as you can put relevant Twitter lists in with apps of a similar nature. For instance, I can pin my Tech News list and keep it with my RSS feeds and daily news. I can also pin my Friends list and keep it with my favourite social networking and IM apps.
Try it, use it, love it, share it. It’s sleek and simple, doing everything you need Twitter to do and nothing more.
More Windows 8 Apps & Tips
There are lots more great apps for Windows 8 and tips to help you make the best of the operating system. We’ve previously covered some great apps to get you started with Windows 8, apps to make you love the Modern UI, full-screen news apps for Windows 8, stylish Windows 8 apps, how to remove ads from Windows 8, numerous ways to add or remove apps in Windows 8.
What official apps have you recently found for Windows 8? Let us know your favourite new additions to the Windows App store.