It didn’t take Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system too long to become more loved than its predecessor, Windows 8. Lots of different changes have affected people’s attitude towards the operating system. Some big interface changes and new design ideas helping Microsoft’s efforts for sure. At the center of those changes are the Windows Store and Windows 10 apps.
All apps in Windows 10 are divorced from the Start Screen, meaning you can open them whether you’re in Tablet Mode or just using your device with a mouse and keyboard. Windows 10 apps are intelligent about adapting to windows size on the fly. They change their interface depending on how big of a screen you have, scaling from 8-inch tablets to 32-inch displays. Simpler tools and a simpler Windows Store make Windows 10 apps easier to create and easier to find.
Over 100 million devices were running Windows 10 when Microsoft last provided downloads statistics in early fall. Some companies have delivered new Windows 10 apps that take advantage of the operating system’s features, like Live Tiles and built-in sharing. For those looking for apps that haven’t arrived yet, there are some decent Windows 10 apps made as alternatives for popular services. Here are our favorites.
Every browser has bookmarking. Pocket is an app and service available on other devices that takes bookmarking to a different level. You add articles to the different versions of Pocket available for iPhone, iPad and the web. Pocket then analyzes those links, breaking down how long they’ll take to read and storing them for later. Native Pocket apps even store the articles on your device.
There’s no Windows 10 app for Pocket yet. Instead, you’ll want to download Poki. It allows you to download your Pocket articles and store them for offline viewing. Better, it syncs back to regular Pocket apps on your iPhone or Android smartphone.
Some assume that there wouldn’t be a huge, growing market for gamers to watch other users play games and talk about their experience with them. Those people would be wrong. Amazon’s Twitch is home to millions of streamers.
To sync down your list of favorite gamers and chat with them in real-time you’ll want Unstream, a cheap Twitch client available on Windows 10. This app connects directly to the website and other apps, making all of your favorites available to you. It will even alert you when your favorite streamers come online for a gaming session.
The world’s most popular video website is YouTube. There aren’t any legitimate competitors at this point. Google’s long-standing policy against embracing Windows extends to the Windows Store, where the company only has a single app available, Google Search. Don’t worry, download Hyper and you can continue to get your YouTube streaming fix. Besides commenting, subscribing and sharing, Hyper also has download options for storing video clips and audio for viewing later.
Player for SoundCloud (SoundCloud)
For a steep $4.99 you can purchase Player for SoundCloud and keep listening to the same music you enjoy on your other devices. Player for SoundCloud lets you locally store some audio and hang on to it for later too.
Client for Hangouts (Gchat)
Chances are that if you have an Android smartphone you’re connected to Google Hangouts, Google’s online chat system that’s very similar to Skype, Aol Instant Messenger and others. Google ties Hangouts support on Windows to its Chrome Web Browser.
Client for Hangouts is a free app that includes basic features you’d expect from a Google-made Hangouts client. There’s support for chatting with multiple people and background notifications. By far, it is the best way to interact with GChat and Hangouts on Windows.
There is an official Wikipedia app available now in the Windows Store. Only, it’s pretty crummy from a interface and support perspective. Recently added to the Windows Store is Wikio, a third-party Wikipedia client that’s easy to use, visually attractive and does a great job of reformatting unwieldy Wikipedia entries into something a bit more browsable. Wikio is free.
Better Reads (GoodReads)
Better Reads is a straight forward way of interacting with the Good Reads social network, without necessarily having to browse to the Good Reads website. Available for free, the app lets you see what others are reading, share what you’re reading and decide what you plan to read next.
Reddit is the world’s premiere community at this point, acting as a throwback to the days when the internet was dominated by millions of small forum websites. There’s no official Reddit client for Windows, but you don’t need one. Readit lets you browse your favorite forums just fine, plus has built-in support for most media types. It’s free to use, but dumping the ads costs $3.99.
Instagram lovers enjoy looking at each other’s pictures and capturing moments of their own to share. There’s only a single Windows 10 app that allows you to upload photos to Instagram at the moment and it’s InstaPic.
Cycling through dates is easy with Timber, a third-party app for popular online dating service Tinder. It behaves just like other clients, letting you quickly and easily swipe for matches. Timber is completely free on Windows 10.
Outlook Mail & Calendar (Gmail)
Microsoft’s Outlook Mail and Outlook Calendar apps are terrific ways to interact with the company’s on Outlook service online. It also integrates with all the important services not made by Microsoft. That includes Gmail and Google Calendar. They’re pre-installed on your Windows 10 device already. Just look for the Mail and Calendar tiles in the Start area.
For $1.49 every Windows 10 device can become a wireless remote for your Sonos speaker system, giving you track information and more. Phonos streams directly to the luxury line of speaker systems and accessories. Microsoft’s Groove Music service also boasts support for Sonos.
Aeries isn’t a completely necessary purchase. That is to say, Twitter has a competent Windows 10 app available in the Windows Store right now. Twitter for Windows isn’t as well done as Aeries is though.
Aeries buyers get multiple account support and the ability to create different columns for sorting through their Twitter timeline easily. It puts all the wasted space and basic functionality in the official Twitter app to shame.
Huetro for Hue (Phillips Hue)
For those with expensive Phillips Hue lightbulbs there’s Huetro. Huetro acts as a native Windows 10 stand in for the software that Phillips makes available on iPhone or Android. You can wireless adjust the lighting around your house and come up with different color schemes. Baked in Scenes allow you to quickly change any mood.
Huetro for Hue is available free from the Windows Store.
Microsoft’s support of podcasting is pretty atrocious to say the least. The company basically ignores the medium on Windows, betting that third-party apps and services will fill in the gap. One recent addition to the Windows Store that does do a good job of podcast streaming is ACast.
ACast has a dedicated library of podcasts for users to subscribe to. Besides streaming, users are able to save shows for offline playback too. ACast is completely free.
Another year, another social network that doesn’t offer a native Windows app. Periscope allows Twitter users to livestream footage from anywhere, to anyone. EasyScope is a Periscope app for Windows and Windows 10 Mobile. It’s completely free.
Good luck with your new Windows 10 device.