Microsoft will refresh Windows 8 apps before launch

by David Needle

October 5 2012

The Windows 8 Store tile will notify users when updates to apps are available.
The Windows 8 Store tile will notify users when updates to apps are available.

In advance of the official rollout of Windows 8 on October 25, Microsoft has announced it’s set to release updates to many of the apps that will be included in the new operating system.

The updated apps will also be available to all of the software giant’s hardware partners so the expectation is that all new Windows 8 tablets will have the latest version of the apps at launch.

For any that aren’t up to date, Microsoft’s new Store tile will notify users when updates are available. Clicking that Store tile will show an updates link with a list of apps with updates and users can then choose which ones to install.

Microsoft listed a number of apps and specific new features at its Building Windows 8 blog. 

First up is Bing which was updated just today.

New features in Bing include “richer” search results for local content and images and the ability to zoom search results to see related queries.

Microsoft also added search capability to SkyDrive and the ability to rename and move folders and files.

New features in the Mail, Calendar, People and Messaging apps include a conversation view in your inbox; complete iMAP account support and the ability to accept or decline invitation in email. You’ll also be able to search for a contact within the Messaging app.

The Finance app will have additional news and magazine content at launch, finance videos and more market exchanges.

Microsoft also announced that Windows 8’s News app will have additional content from such sources as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, an “improved” offline reading experience and news videos and slideshows.

Catching up to Apple and Google

While the included apps are a good launch point for new users to be productive and engaged right away, Microsoft hopes to attract lots of third party developers to build out the number of apps in the Store which currently totals in the thousands, but is easily dwarfed by Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

“The Windows Store represents an unprecedented opportunity for developers to reach hundreds of millions of customers, and we’re very pleased to see the exciting things that are showing up every day,” said Gabriel Aul, of the Windows 8 program management team, in the blog.  

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