Welcome to the Fully Featured Web Version of the Windows Store

Ladies and gentlemen, this was unexpected. We now have a fully functioning web version of the Windows Store! We can finally browse, search, and explore apps directly from the web browser without actually needing a Windows 8 PC. I will note right now that this is not officially by Microsoft; it is a third party web app. However, it works like a charm (no pun intended).

Metro Scanner

This website is really cool; it’s called MetroStore Scanner. You can check it out here: http://metrostore.preweb.sk/

Unlike the Windows Store app on Windows 8, this site shows worldwide apps. You can search apps from any part of the world, even if it is not available in your country. Of course, you can filter by country or category. On the picture above, for example, I am filtering out everything but Games form worldwide. According to the website, the total worldwide app is 25,405!

Of course, that 25 thousand plus apps are not all available for your country. So if you want to find relevant apps for your country, make sure to filter it by selecting your country.

Credit goes to Windows 8 Core for pointing this out

Source: MetroStore Scanner

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Why Developers are Developing for Windows Phone 8 rather than Windows Phone 7

Windows Phone 8 Logo

It appears as though developers, especially those of the “big name” apps, are developing apps for Windows Phone 8 rather than Windows Phone 7, but why? This question may or may not come as a surprise, depending on how you look at the scenario. Any apps developed for the Windows Phone 7 platform will automatically, and natively, run on Windows Phone 8 devices; however, the converse is not true. That is, any apps developed for the Windows Phone 8 platform will not run at all on devices running Windows Phone 7.

At the time of this writing, millions of Windows Phone 7 devices has been sold over the last couple of years, but Windows Phone 8 devices are just starting to be sold now. Indeed, Windows Phone 7 has a greater market share, and thus more audience, than does Windows Phone 8. Given that apps developed for Windows Phone 7 can run on both versions of the Windows Phone OS, it only makes sense for developers to code for the lowest common denominator to reach the broadest audience, right? Or does it?

With the launch of Windows Phone 8, many big name developers have committed to developing on the platform, most of which did not appear to have any plans to mingle with Windows Phone 7. We have popular mobile game engine companies, like Havok, Unity, Audiokinetic, Autodesk, etc. developing their engine for Windows Phone 8. We also have big name developers, like Rovio, releasing apps for Windows Phone 8. In fact, Rovio went as far as releasing their latest, and hottest, product, Angry Birds Star Wars, on Windows Phone 8 at the same time as on iOS and Android. How does this make sense? Windows Phone 8 wasn’t even generally available when Rovio was developing the game. Why didn’t they make this game for Windows Phone 7? That would allow the game run just as well on Windows Phone 8 and broaden the audience. This is where it gets interesting; so, bear with me.

Windows Phone 8 has a big advantage over Windows Phone 7. While won’t directly affect consumers, the advantage means a lot for developers, which, in turn, does affect consumers in the long run. The advantage I’m referring to is native code. Native code not only allows big game engine developer, like Unity, build a platform on top of Windows Phone 8, but also gives advanced developers a way to optimize their apps for best performance and freedom. More importantly, however, the native code allows developers to port their existing Android or iOS applications with ease by reusing a lot of their code. This was simply not possible to do easily with Windows Phone 7. This meant that for developers that already had applications on iOS and/or Android, they had to put a lot of investment in rewriting code in Silverlight and make it work on Windows Phone 7. This is no longer the case. Do you see where I am going here?

The limitations of Windows Phone 7 was especially a big deal for developers who had complex apps, like Games. Rewriting code for a complex application is no easy task. Given the relatively low market share of Windows Phone 7, why would any developer go through the hassle of doing this? For developers bold enough to go this far and actually make an app for Windows Phone 7, the annoyance was not over. Any time a major update was released for iOS and Android versions, the updates would have to be redone on the Windows Phone 7 platform. Sticking with our Angry Birds example, while Rovio did release the original Angry Birds for Windows Phone 7, it wasn’t updated to be on par with the iOS and Android version. Furthermore, last spring, we had rumors of that Rovio would not be making Angry Birds Space for Windows Phone 7. At the time, people attributed this to the fact that Windows Phone 7 had too little market share. However, at the time, Rovio was developing it for Windows Phone 8, which had no market share. So it wasn’t market share, but, rather, the ease of reusing code on the new platform.

We tend to point at one cause of a particular problem. I mean why not; we like things to be simple and straightforward. However, there are usually more than one identifiable reason for something. And in the case of apps on Windows Phone 7, the lack of native code was as important, if not more, than the market share itself. With Windows Phone 8, however, even though we are still uncertain how it will do compared to Windows Phone 7, I can tell you this: we are going to have a lot more of the big names iOS and Android apps coming to the platform really quickly.

What are your thoughts? Leave your comments below or you can let me know by twitter. I am @NazmusLabs on twitter.

Here’s how Steam and Minecraft can Play Nicely with Windows 8 Metro

Before we start the discussion, let’s recap on some basic topics, including a quick look at Steam and Minecraft and, also, the whole issue regarding these products and Windows 8. If you are familiar with the matter discussed in the overview, please skip to the next section, as it will contain more valuable insights that haven’t really been discussed much. Continue reading

Two New Xbox Games Arrive on Windows 8

4 Elements II Gameplay
4 Elements II Gameplay
Xbox games are rolling in to Windows 8. Today, we have two more Xbox games for you to enjoy on your PC. One of the neat things about Windows 8 is the Xbox LIVE integration. For the first time, Windows users will be able to enjoy what Xbox users have been able to enjoy for years. With leaderboards, achievements, and Xbox avatar, the entire Xbox experience now comes bundled in with Windows 8. Furthermore, users are able to play some Xbox games with others regardless of platforms; that is, users will be able to play with others a game even if one is on, say Windows 8 PC while the other is on Windows Phone.

Continue reading

Intel AppUp Center App is in Windows Store

image

Intel AppUp Center has joined the Metro Craze. Intel created the AppUp Center as an answer to Apple’s AppStore then, to create a central place for PC users to find and install apps for the PC and Windows platform. This was a pre-cursor to Microsoft’s own Windows Store that we have for Windows 8 today. So now that Windows Store hosts both Metro and Desktop Apps, the question that begs to be asked is, is there any need then for AppUp Center from Intel? Time will tell.

In the meantime, you can enjoy this Hub-in-a-hub, but its mostly about Desktop Apps. If you have a lot invested in Intel’s AppUp, then go get this app via the Source link.

Source: Windows Store.

The Windows 8 Store is Ready for RTM – [Updated]

Microsoft is overhauling the Store in preparation for the RTM of Windows 8. Last week, the Store peaked at 322 total applications, as of yesterday, the number has dropped to 269 total apps visible to users. My analysis is showing that the Apps that debuted, but are now invisible are possibly the apps that will become paid apps with Go-Live of Windows 8. I am still analyzing the changes and the trends, but clearly the Store is going through some changes.

Microsoft explained some of this in their blog post at BuildWindows8 on their preparatory efforts of the Store for RTM. You may want to read it for more information. I will be updating this blog with more info as it becomes available.

[Update: 2012-07-07]
I promised to continue analysis and report back my findings. Indeed I have found out the real cause of reduction in the number of Apps I am seeing in the store. It doesn’t have anything to do with the updates Microsoft is making to the Store in preparation for the RTM, but actually to do with the activation of the Regional Feature of the Store. The Regional feature can be found in the Store Settings shown here below:

This setting has been there all the time, but it has never had any effect. So with my analysis this week I realized I was seeing only English Apps, before you will see Apps for different countries and different languages, French, Chinese etc apps,  all of a sudden these were all gone. Then I realized in the past I have set the “Preferred Languages” option ON for my Store Settings.

So the drop in number of Apps was easily explained, Microsoft just activated this week the regional feature of the Store Servers to obey the User’s Preferred Languages option. To confirm this I set the setting back to NO as shown above, and refreshed the store, and the total Apps count jumped to 332, and when I set it back to YES, it was reduced to 278 as of today.

So, there you have it. Indeed MS is preparing for the RTM. They’ve activated Regional settings for the Store, so your store will always show Apps developed for your region. So those of you complaining not seeing all the Apps I have been mentioning, please see if your Preferred Language setting is YES, if so set to NO and see if you can now access all Apps in the Store.

Apple: No CES, Egged in Beijing

(AP Photo/Andy Wong) A large crowd is turned away by a sign reading

A lot of our talk lately has been about CES week and many evolving things from Las Vegas. Well, what happens in Vegas may just stay in Vegas. As of late, many Apple rumors have been circulating throughout the web that include some of the top “heard of rummors”. During the week Apple sent invites out for a “education-related event” that is being held in New York at the Guggenheim Museum. This event is expected to be mainly focused on Apple’s iBookstore and other resources available to the educational community. This in fact does correlate with rumors that were previously circulating about Apple hosting an event from their Cupertino, California headquarters. One of the nation’s leading retailers- Target has admitted that they are building enhanced displays for Apple products in a limited number of their stores from around 25-30.

In the midst of all of this technology news there has been a potentially bad event that has taken place in the Apple community. Apple released their iPhone 4S to China this week and it did not make a great first impression. In Beijing, Apple’s flagship store did not open on time and failed to release the iPhone 4S. This unusual turn of events coming from Apple left many people that had been waiting outside for the past 24-48 hours in the inclement weather. So, when the store did not open at 7:00AM as proclaimed, the crowd erupted in anger and chaos. Some fans were so frustrated with the store not opening on time eggs and other objects were thrown at the building. Due to all of the chaos, representatives at the Apple Store decided not to open the store and post a sign [as seen above] in the store’s window saying that “iPhone 4S is temporary out of stock”. After the area had been cleared and the crowds had been escorted out of the area Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu had this to say on why the store did not open;

“We were unable to open our store at Sanlitun due to the large crowd, and to ensure the safety of our customers and employees, iPhone will not be available in our retail stores in Beijing and Shanghai for the time being…”

There were other Apple Stores in China still selling the iPhone 4S on its release date but with limits. One of those stores was the Apple Store in Shanghai. It limited its iPhone 4S sells to only 2 per person. Some people made the comment that were over 2,000 people lined up outside the store at one point which is not an unusual thing for the new releases of Apple products. Apple did refer that those who wanted to buy the iPhone 4S near the Beijing store should “go online and purchase…” to avoid these circumstances in the future.

VPN One Click Pro: Finally Useful Functionality For Your iOS Device

One of the many evolving apps in Apple’s App Store is the “VPN Once Click Professional”. When you first download the App from the App Store it prompts you with a request to subscribe for a cheap 1-Month pay of services for $0.99. So what exactly does this app do?

Well, VPN (short for what I call Very-Private-Network) allows you to bypass any and all blocked websites and content like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube on any network you’re connected to that might have a Burracuda or some other Web Filter. To start off with, this app is one of the easiest and most accessible “proxy” apps that are currently on the market. For the regular “VPN” App you must set up yourself and go through a very lengthy process just to get the App to actually work, on top of having to create an account and more. Well this app does about everything for you. The only task you must complete is to click the “Subscribe one month for $0.99″ Button and click “Install” for the app to; change your settings for the app to become active, and take the 99 cents from your Apple Account.

So far I’ve tested it on my own network at home in which I blocked Facebook for 5 minutes. During that entire time I was able to access Facebook on my phone (with the app installed) but not on my computer (without the app). So far I have no “cons” to report from this useful app and look forward to start using it Monday at school. Last comment on this app would have to be it’s “Subscription Code” feature. This allows you to download the App to any Apple Device and not have to pay another $0.99 but instead adding your ID Code into the “Downloads” section.

What such a great and useful app I’ve to review. I’ll be excited to let everyone know how well it holds up Monday and the flaws that may appear throughout it’s use. I suggest you hurry up and buy it now before too many people get there hands on it! Click the logo to go straight to the App on your computer on other mobile device!

[review pros=”Cheap $0.99 Price

Quick Installation

One price for unlimited devices

Automatic Settings Change” cons=”TBD” score=100]

 

VPN Express Gives Your Fingers A Workout

Who doesn’t hate having to use “https” or some other way of getting around a website blocker? Well, I can now say I have found the perfect solution. VPN (on Apple’s App Store) will escort you around any blocker. Once you have obtained internet access you can use VPN. By using it on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch you can set it up instantly if you know anything about what you are doing.

Out of 10 stars I would probably give it an 8. Why an 8? Simply because it takes some traveling (not literally, but going back and forth to settings and VPN) to get it set up to work. Once you have it set up though, it is fairly easy to use. Just go Settings>VPN>On and once it has connected you are good to go!

 

 

 

[review pros=”Once you have it set up, it is easy to use.” cons=”it takes some traveling back and forth to settings and VPN to get it set up to work” score=80]

Apple Store Down [Update: Back up, featuring iPad 2]

Prior to Apple’s Media event Wednesday morning the Apple Store came up with an unfamiliar icon:

So, this can only lead us to believe that we will be seeing some additions to the store when it is once again available. Keep checking Techtronica throughout the day for breaking news concerning Apple’s Media Event!

UPDATE: The store is back up! For U.S. viewers click here

Apple Mac App Store goes live with thousands of Mac Apps

As promised, Apple has made the Mac App Store live for all Mac OS X Snow Leopard users. The Mac App Store is now live and breathing with over thousand Apps. You need to execute the Software Update in your Mac OS X Snow Leopard based Mac. That will show up the Mac OS X 10.6.6 update packing Mac App Store along with  couple of bug fixes in it. Alternatively, the Mac OS X 10.6.6 can be downloaded on your Mac directly by clicking here. Then do the needful – update your Snow Leopard and restart the Mac.

Speaking in simpler terms, Mac App Store to Mac OS X based Mac is what App Store is to iOS based iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. The Mac App Store will include both and free apps in variety of categories. Here’s a good part – you can use existing iTunes account to purchase the Apps from the Mac App Store. Of course all those region related limitations are bound to follow. For instance, the particular may not be visible to countries where iTunes or App Store doesn’t intend to sell it.

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Looks wise, Mac App Store logo carries the blueish color shade and is perfect mash-up of App Store symbol and iTunes 10 colors. The Mac App Store interface is very similar to iTunes. Inside the Mac App Store, you’ll find all variety of Apps from different categories like News, Business, Entertainment, Social Networking and so on. Apple will also sell its own programs/applications like the iWork Suite apps and iLife Apps through the Mac App Store. Purchasing, downloading and installing apps would be just matter of clicks. The Mac App Store will keep track of free updates released for your purchased or free installed Mac Apps.

Stay tuned for hands-on with the Mac App Store and some of the new apps available, including the New Twitter App and Angry Birds.