Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 operating system attempts to bridge a large gap between the ways that different users get computing tasks done. Like the Windows operating systems of yesterday there are desktop apps that allow users to get the best of their mouse and keyboard. Microsoft has also integrated a new Start Screen and app environment that allows users who are familiar with the way smartphones and tablets work to use devices loaded with Windows and Windows 8.1 just as easily as they would an iPad or Android-based tablet.
Here are 5 Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 apps that use the new Start Screen and its capabilities to give uses a best in class experience without resorting to using the desktop or a web browser.
Google still refuses to build a customized YouTube app for any of Microsoft’s platforms. That much hasn’t changed. Fortunately, there are developers who have no problem creating third-party apps that allow Windows users to watch their favorite feeds and comment on videos. MetroTube is such an app. Not only does it enable native YouTube playback; it does so absolutely free of charge. [ Download MetroTube from the Windows Store for Free ]
Unlike YouTube, there is an official application for accessing Twitter on Microsoft’s latest operating system. On the other hand, Twitter for Windows simply isn’t that great. Tweetium is a great replacement though. For just $2.99 users get a customizable Twitter app that supports columns, tracks their favorite searches and actually looks attractive. Tweetium also allow users to open more than one Twitter window at a time. [ Download Tweetium from the Windows Store for $2.99 ]
Users looking for a Craigslist client have too many options in the Windows Store. However, none of them are better than Qwilio. It supports both landscape and portrait views, has integrated search capabilities and allows users to favorite different Craigslist posts for follow ups later. Qwilo is completely free, however users should be aware that it does contain a few advertisements. [ Download Qwilo from the Windows Store for Free ]
NextGen Reader isn’t just a solid reading app for Windows users. It’s solid in comparison to any other fully featured app on Windows. Users can snap it to the side of their screen and have it split half of their display with whatever app their working in. There’s also live tile support that surfaces exciting stories on the Windows Start Screen. About the only thing that’s missing is a built-in library for users don’t already have a collection of feeds. Luckily, NextGen does have Feedly, the now default standard for all news readers. [ Download NextGen Reader from the Windows Store for Free ]
Package Tracker doesn’t do much but allow users to track incoming packages with ease. That’s it. No frills, no extra features. It tracks your packages, gives you alerts on when they’re expected to arrive and syncs that information to multiple Windows devices and Windows Phone. Package Tracker isn’t free, it costs $2.49. On the other hand, it’s worth every penny. [ Download Package Tracker from the Windows Store for Free ]
Those are five great apps for Windows and Windows 8.1 users just picking up a device or journeying into the new Windows Store for the first time. Of the five apps here, all but Qwilo also boast native versions on Windows Phone, allowing them to integrate with a user’s life even more.