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This article was published on October 5, 2012

Microsoft promises slate of updates for Windows 8’s ‘built-in’ apps

Microsoft promises slate of updates for Windows 8’s ‘built-in’ apps
Alex Wilhelm
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Alex Wilhelm

Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected] Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected]

Windows 8 ships with a collection of applications, including a music tool, a weather app, and a Bing feature. The ‘built-in’ app selection has grown since we first saw Windows 8 last year, expanding to stable size.

However, the apps have at times been light on features and polish, as Microsoft built them out as it polished and honed Windows 8 itself. Today, Microsoft promised a final push of updates to its included app catalog.

In the introduction to that post, Microsoft pushed back slightly against the damaging narrative that Windows 8 is somewhat light on apps in its current form: “With thousands of new apps in the Store, there are a lot to choose from and tens of thousands of developers have been very busy around the world creating new apps.”

The below listed app updates will come out over the next few weeks. Bing is the first app that will be given a bump. Note what Microsoft says about its coming boosts to the Music app, a product that has been swirling in the news.

Right, here you go:


  • Search within SkyDrive
  • Rename and move folders and files
  • New first-run experience
  • Custom sort order

Mail, Calendar, People, and Messaging

  • Conversation view of your inbox
  • Complete IMAP account support
  • Accepting and declining invitations in email
  • Capturing and updating your account picture
  • Improved search
  • Search for a contact within the Messaging app


  • Crop and rotate photos
  • New auto-curated collage slideshows
  • View photos and videos on network locations in your Pictures Library such as Windows Home Server, network shares, and HomeGroups
  • Move through photos in your Pictures Library even when you open them from the desktop


  • Bird’s eye view
  • 3,000+ indoor venue maps
  • Driving directions hints
  • Improved navigation and layout
  • Improved customization, including custom pushpins and roaming options
  • Integration with Bing and Travel apps


  • Richer search results for local content and images
  • Bing rewards integration
  • Use zoom on your search results to see related queries
  • Use the file picker to select an image from Bing to use on your lock screen or in your other apps


  • Additional news and magazine content
  • More market exchanges enabled
  • Finance videos


  • Additional news content from partners such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal
  • Enhanced article reader, including font customization, zoom, pagination, and more
  • Improved offline reading experience
  • News videos
  • Slideshows


  • Additional news and magazine content
  • Sports videos
  • Slideshows
  • New soccer leagues, including MLS, J. League, and Brazilian League


  • Additional news and magazine content
  • Improved flight search and new flight progress indicator
  • Improved hotel listing page
  • Interactive 360-degree panoramas (gyroscope supported)


  • Improved default location usability
  • Hourly weather forecasts, up to 10 days
  • Day & evening high/low temperatures


  • Purchasing in local currencies
  • Closed captioning
  • Search by actor or director


  • Expanded music services
  • Rich “Now Playing” experience
  • Discover more music with SmartDJ


  • Exciting new games
  • In-game purchasing
  • Invites and turn notifications

All this should be out and in your hands by the time Windows 8 is released, on October 26th.  What about for folks that are set to buy a new PC once Windows 8 hits the market? They should be more than fine. According to Microsoft: “these app updates will also be available to PC makers to include by default with their PCs shipping in the future.”

In other news, Microsoft has a Surface event planned on the 25th in New York City that TNW will be attending.

Top Image Credit: Michael Coté

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