Microsoft unveiled a nice surprise at its 2014 build conference: the third major upgrade to the Windows Store! Windows Store was introduced on Windows 8.0 as a software distribution platform. It received a major upgrade that drastically improved its usability with the launch of Windows 8.1. However, Microsoft still didn’t go far enough to make the browsing the Store a pleasant experience as it is in competing platforms. Although there were minor UI enhancements since the launch of Windows 8.1, the third upgrade to the Store truly brings it on par with the app stores of iOS and Android. I am very excited for this and I hope you are too. So let’s see what’s new!
A Beautiful Homepage
Pictures say a thousand words, so above is a picture of the new landing page of the Windows Store.
The new homepage is now fully editorially curated! In “version 2.0” of the Windows Store, you were bombarded with sub-par and rip-off apps on the home page, such as “Facebook+”, “Facebook HD”, “Flappy Birds”, all of which are pretending to be the genuine apps. The reason you saw this was because Windows Store “2.0” showed trending apps and apps that Bing recommended based on past downloads. Trending apps tends to be these sup-par and rip-off apps for whatever reason. For me, the Bing suggestions are not worth the front page because it’s not that good.
A New, Mouse-Friendly, Menu Bar
Windows 8.1 Update 1 makes it easier to use the OS with your mouse. The new Windows Store follows suit by introducing a new menu bar that is mouse-friendly. You no longer have to right-click to find a hidden menu. It also helps a lot with discoverability. Thank God for this. I love it!
The new upgrade also introduces editorial collections. The Store staff now hand picks apps and groups them in specific collections that make sense. There are collections based on functions, such as photography or productivity, collections based on events, such as a holiday, and more!
Deals and Sales Seeks Your Precious Attention
Another neat feature of the Windows Store is that sales and deals are clearly marked. The original prices are crossed out with the new, dropped, price highlighted in red. When you are on the landing page, you can even see how long the sale will last! That’s something that the iOS App Store doesn’t do to my knowledge (not sure about Android).
A Better User Experience
The third major upgrade to the Windows Store is a huge win for developers and customers. It’s now easy to find great apps, and developers have a better way to get their apps featured and have deals. For me, this is the biggest thing about Windows 8.1 Update 1. I can’t wait to use the new store!
Images courtesy of Microsoft