Our favourite MS tweeterer and Trekkie-extraordinaire Brandon LeBlanc posted this blog post today to inform that the power of Bing, the same that powers our lovely Cortana is now in Windows 8 common search feature or “Smart Search” as Microsoft likes to call it. Before you only search as always with keywords, now you can input search in Natural Language in the Windows 8 search box, and Bing has got your back to understand your intent and bring you relevant result. Continue reading
As you can see above, all Built-In Microsoft Apps for Windows 8 has been updated for General Availability (GA) of Windows 8.1 later today. Microsoft has informed severally in the past that they are preparing all their apps for the GA. The Store is at the moment in big state of Flux as MS prepares it for GA, and part of flux are these apps you can see above.
Also earlier today, MS made the mistake to surface the Official Facebook App in the Store before the GA. They made the same mistake with the Movie Moments app that you can see there in the list above. It was also released before time, but I was able to nab it before it was pulled in the Store. So, we now know for fact that there is an Official Facebook app to be made available today. We are all waiting with passion to know what other surprises MS has in store for us later today. Keep checking this Site out as we’re all over the GA as you would expect.
You may now ask what has changed in all these Apps, yes we asked the same question. A casual check on these apps reveals one consistency, there’s not much info. Some of them have the same Change Log that we’ve seen before, some went outright and removed all Change info with nothing to see. The Third-party Apps here above gave a little bit more info, for example eBay informs they now better support Split-Screen scenario and support more Markets. The Netflix app doesn’t give any info at all. All in all, you can just be happy these apps are updated, I guess we’ll see what changed as we continue to use them.
There is only catch with all these updates, they are only available for the RTM version of Windows 8.1. You can force-update these Apps by going to the Store app, go to Settings > App Updates and hit the “Check for Updates” button.
Let us know if you come across anything spectacular with these apps. We will keep you updated here too.
Last year everyone was worried that Windows Phone was not getting the traction it deserves. Phone houses weren’t selling these devices, even actively turning potential buyers away from Windows Phone. It was absolutely frustrating. How is it possible that Windows Phone with such gorgeous tiles be so abominably misunderstood by the populace? Then it dawned on me! At the time of the writing of that post, Microsoft just released the Developer Preview of Windows 8. So I decided to title the post “Selling Windows Phone and Windows 8”.
The beauty of Windows Phone and Windows 8 is also their undoing. Windows Phone and Windows 8 are not devices you just look over for 5 minutes and conclude your opinion. Metro devices have to be used to be understood. You need to have your data on it and see how it all connects. So I proposed to Microsoft to create a fictive personal to sell both Windows Phones and Windows 8 devices. This persona should have normal data that everyone in their daily life have. Mails, SMS, Call history, Pictures, Music, Video etc. You know, the kind of data you accumulate after months of using a device. With this data, a seller can demo the device using this data so that a potential buyer will then understand what Metro is all about. Nothing beats a Tile popping up your messages and notifications!
And today, I have just read a post on NeoWin that Microsoft is bursting out Windows 8 with fictive personas built-in, and has trained sellers in its Stores to know these fictive accounts inside out. Awesome! Nice job Microsoft. Can I now have my mention?
Image Credit: Microsoft
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.
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.
The integrated Social-media App FlipToast has made it into the store. FlipToast if you remember is the official first Indy Twitter/Facebook app in the store (after the MS people app; duh) for the Consumer Preview timeframe. The App has now returned for Windows 8 Release Preview sporting a new GUI, and muscle to boost. You can still connect to both Facebook and Twitter as usual. The app can be found in the Social Category in the Store, if you can’t find it, search for it via the Search Charm.