Updated with some corrections
Recently, Microsoft made available for download, the Consumer Preview of its upcoming operating system,Windows 8, which, besides bringing tablet optimization also introduces a native app store. Microsoft decided to extend its Metro design philosophy from its Windows Phone OS to Windows 8, so the new apps also follow the same design guidelines. Interestingly, on the day of the release, there were a number of Indian apps available for download in the Store. We observed that the apps were mainly developed for demonstrating the Metro UI and lacked extended features such as social sharing, and value adds like weather widgets. We might see new features over time, and after Microsoft releases the final version. Here’s a brief round-up:
– iStream – Video aggregation company A2Media, which had launched an online portal, iStream, offering live TV streams, video clips and movies, has extended it to Windows 8, through a native app. The company says that it will add hundreds of new videos every day to its library of News Bulletins, TV Shows & Movies in five Indian languages. The company claims that iStream app on Windows 8 registered 5,000 downloads in 4 days of its launch. The app is built in accordance with the Metro design guidelines and offers videos across featured, movies, news and tv categories in English, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu. We did not encounter any problems while watching videos inside the app, but it’s more of a video browser lacking additional features such as bookmarking. Sharing via Mail or 3rd party apps, and Search, is integrated with the charms bar.
– CBazaar– E-commerce site CBazaar, which offers Indian clothing and focuses on South Asians living outside the sub-continent, also launched a Windows 8 app. The app allows users to browse, search and buy products from the company without visiting the website. The app allows users to browse apparel categories such as wedding collection, women & men clothing, kids clothing, jewelry and handbags in a tiled interface, in line with the Metro UI.
– Zomato – The restaurant and events guide also offers a Windows 8 application. The app makes an interesting use of the Metro UI with random food thumbnails or tiles leading to a list of Restaurants(in a tile view) that offer that particular type of cuisine. It also features Crunch, a content section, that offers recipes, interactions with chefs and articles on eating out. In addition to this the app features an Explore utility that offers restaurant recommendations on a map near the user’s location and otherwise, featured reviews, curated lists from Zomato execs, and Zomato’s Twitter stream. There were some issues loading content at times.
Also, we’re surprised that there’s no keyword Search feature, which is present in Zomato’s other apps. Correction: Search is integrated with the Windows 8 Charms Bar.
– NDTV – The app is divided into news, photos and videos with each section listing different categories such as busiess, sports, entertainment, finance and others, accompanied with featured items as tiles, that link to news articles, pictures and videos. News articles also display a frame offering other stories in the same category. The app is essentially a Metro-fied version of the NDTV website, offering very few add-on features. There’s no social sharing, except sharing an article via mail through the Windows Charms bar, no stock ticker except a tile with quotes for the two indices, no weather updates, features which are present across NDTV’s apps on other platforms. The app also offers a live tile, with trending stories appearing on the app’s tile in the Start menu.
– Burrp – Zomato’s competitor, Burrp, also offers a Windows 8 app. In addition to Restaurants and Nightlife recommendations, it also offers listings related to shopping, beauty and health. Each section is spread across tiles of different categories, with picture thumbnails offering listings.
Again, even this app misses out on a keyword search feature. Correction: Search is integrated with the Windows 8 Charms Bar.
– TOI – The Times of India app on Windows 8 is also a much watered down version of its other apps and website. It offers Top News stories, News sections spread across various categories, Photos and Videos. The news sections further include sub-sections and stories laid out in tiles, expanding to a full view. Although, users can comment on stories, there’s no social sharing(except sharing an article via mail through the Windows Charms bar) or personalisation or ability to change font size. Perhaps, Windows 8 apps available with the Preview are just for demonstration purposes focusing on the UI, lacking extended functionality.
– Sify- Sify also offers an app featuring news stories and features from its website, spread across categories such as News, Sports, Finance, Movies and Techtalk, which further expand to sub-categories. Like other apps, this one also offers a Metro UI based experience, acting as a news feed reader, without much extended functionality.