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Do some reading, Metro-style. A variety of apps from major news sources and beyond give you quick, clutter-free ways to read the news you care about.
If there’s one thing Windows 8’s new Metro (sorry, I’m not going to call it “Modern UI”) interface does very well it’s reading. The look is clean and keeps distractions out of the way – at least, once you’ve opened a given app. White space is used liberally and fonts are crisp and easy to read. This was all possible with Windows before, but now it’s the norm.
But to take advantage of this you need to install the proper Windows 8 apps. Let’s take a look at a few of the apps offered in the Windows Store right now so you can get an idea of what to expect.
New York Times
Microsoft’s been showing this one off on the main page of their store, and why not: when Google launched the Web Store and when Apple launched the iPad they showed off the New York Times app too. If The New York Times is involved, the thinking goes, this platform must be for real.
The New York Times app, unsurprisingly, arranges articles in the Metro-style. Scroll left to see more, click an article to read it.
Sure, other apps do a better job of using the Metro interface. They’re prettier. But this is the New York Times, so if you like their content this is your app.
Subscribe or you won’t be able to access all articles, of course. But again: if you like the New York Times, this is your app.
They may lack the prestige of the New York Times, but you’ve got to give the USA Today one thing: they’re everywhere. You can hardly walk a block in American cities without seeing one of their boxes, and every time a new platform is born the USA Today builds an app for it.
These apps are always more feature-filled than the New York Times app, and this one’s not an exception. Charts, graphs and all the goodies you expect are here for you.
Local weather is always found at top-right, and you can click it for a forecast. Browse photos and videos, if your want, or check the latest scores in the sports section. It’s a well-done app, and I think you’ll like it.
Oh, and the use of graphics is kind of beautiful here. Full screen photos in all of their glory.
(The coloring isn’t off in that photo; dude’s just orange).
American media tends to be America-centric. The BBC offers a great counter-point, and an unofficial BBC apps gives Windows 8 users a great way to browse their latest stories. A beautiful main page gives a quick overview of the day’s headlines.
The reading experience is pretty good too, though not incredibly different than the above apps.
It’s a third-party app, but I hope any official app for the BBC works more or less like it. Read more about it from the creator here.
It’s surprising, but no Windows 8 version for Filpboard or Feedly exists, and there’s no official client for Google Reader. If you want something like this, you’re going to have to depend on apps like News Bento, which offer you a way to quickly browse a variety of sites from around the web.
If you’ve been paying attention you more-or-less know how this works: scroll from left to right and read. Unlike the other apps, however, you can choose which sources show up and explore them individually.
News Bento offers support for Google Reader, but imperfectly so: you can sign into the service but then need to manually add your favorite feeds. Still, it’s an attractive app and offers access to a variety of services.
Of course, Windows 8 comes with an app that shows you articles from around the web. It’s called Bing Daily, and it works. You can’t pick your sources, meaning someone is just showing you things they thought you’d like, but it works.
This is a seemingly random assortment of news apps, but don’t worry: there’s more to find. Head to the Windows 8 Store and I’m sure you’ll find something more your speed.
One thing I’ve noticed: using these apps makes me wish I were running Windows 8 on a tablet. They feel strange on a PC, even if refreshingly clean. I wonder, though: do people like using full-screen apps like this on their computers, or will they just stick with the web? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, because as always I want to know.