Windows 8 core app updates on the way

By Kip Kniskern | Posted March 7, 2013 44 comments

MailAfter years of developing and evolving what became known as Windows Live, Microsoft turned a corner with the release of Windows 8, dropping the Windows Live and Zune brands in Windows 8 and moving to a set of unbranded and, frankly, unfinished “core apps”.  Zune became Xbox Music and Xbox Video, both largely unfinished services facing growing competition from all over the map.  Everyone from Google and Nokia to Pandora and Spotify are attempting to move into a market dominated by Apple and iTunes, and there hasn’t been much indication so far that Xbox Music will be any more successful than previous Microsoft attempts like MSN Music have been.

The Windows Live apps, too, once Microsoft pulled Messenger as a cornerstone of the suite in favor of concentrating on Skype, have had a rough go.  Apps like Mail and Calendar were released as little more than “Hello World” concepts, without even so much as a brand to hold them together.  As Windows Live was dropped, Microsoft can’t seem to quite figure out whether to promote the Outlook.com brand, move the apps into a branch of Office 365, or carve out some third niche that’s neither Office or Outlook.com and is apparently expected to survive with no brand at all.

Now, however, according to an All About Microsoft post, we’re about to get a set of updates to these core apps.  Mary Jo Foley is hearing that there may be updates as early as this month:

I’m hearing from my contacts that this is not the case. In fact, updates to the Windows Mail, Calendar, Music, and Games apps for Windows 8 and Windows RT may be available to users as soon as March (as in this month).

I’ve heard that Microsoft employees are currently dogfooding the updated first-party apps. The updated versions all will be pushed out via the Windows Store.

We’ll reserve judgment on Microsoft’s strategy (if there even is one) until we see the new apps, and a strong set of features, even without a brand, may help to pull things together.  Lets hope that we see the beginnings of a strategy that makes sense along with feature updates as Microsoft limps into a post Windows Live world.

Posted March 7th, 2013 at 11:06 am
Category: Featured, News
Tags: Apps, Windows 8, Windows Live
  • http://www.facebook.com/khris Khristopher Ranger

    Windows 8 is a huge joke! They should have had their shit together BEFORE releasing it. There should have been a plan and a path! The Messaging app is pointless if there’s going to be a Skype app as well. As if I need to receive the same messages in multiple places! Sometimes I wonder if anyone at Microsoft is using the products they make.

    • James

      What are you talking about? The Messaging app is the Win8 version of the Messaging Hub on WP8 (i.e. a central place to message people via Messenger, SMS, Facebook, etc.). Now they’re adding Skype to it too. It’s meant for basic Messaging, whereas the Skype app is meant for the full Skype experience. If you don’t have a use for it, then simply turn it off and let those that do like it use it.

      • frankwick

        The messaging app is not nearly as functional as any app in WP8. WP8 is so user friendly and enjoyable. I fund myself becoming frustrated with the messaging app. The messaging app is a fantastic concept, but it is not fully baked. Same goes for the People app, it is not nearly as functional or friendly as the people hub in WP8.

    • MattSG

      Agreed…the current windows phone 8 OS is just a WIP….a half product…what a shame on MS.

      • damaster

        What are you agreeing with? Khristopher above didn’t even mention Windows Phone 8 in his comment…

        • MattSG

          K……….

      • frankwick

        Disagree. WP8 is a fully functional mobile operating system. It is stable, The apps are useful. I have carried iphones and androids and WP8 is light years more efficient than these systems.

        • MattSG

          Lol…..where is notification centre…..

          • frankwick

            The “Me Tile” states very clearly at the top “notifications” in segoe lowercase letters. It’s the best concept of a notification center yet. It just needs to be opened up to 3rd party apps.

  • Khristopher Ranger

    Windows 8 is a huge joke! They should have had their shit together BEFORE releasing it. There should have been a plan and a path! The Messaging app is pointless if there’s going to be a Skype app as well. As if I need to receive the same messages in multiple places! Sometimes I wonder if anyone at Microsoft is using the products they make.

    • James

      What are you talking about? The Messaging app is the Win8 version of the Messaging Hub on WP8 (i.e. a central place to message people via Messenger, SMS, Facebook, etc.). Now they’re adding Skype to it too. It’s meant for basic Messaging, whereas the Skype app is meant for the full Skype experience. If you don’t have a use for it, then simply turn it off and let those that do like it use it.

      • frankwick

        The messaging app is not nearly as functional as any app in WP8. WP8 is so user friendly and enjoyable. I fund myself becoming frustrated with the messaging app. The messaging app is a fantastic concept, but it is not fully baked. Same goes for the People app, it is not nearly as functional or friendly as the people hub in WP8.

    • MattSG

      Agreed…the current windows phone 8 OS is just a WIP….a half product…what a shame on MS.

      • damaster

        What are you agreeing with? Khristopher above didn’t even mention Windows Phone 8 in his comment…

        • MattSG

          K……….

      • frankwick

        Disagree. WP8 is a fully functional mobile operating system. It is stable, The apps are useful. I have carried iphones and androids and WP8 is light years more efficient than these systems.

        • MattSG

          Lol…..where is notification centre…..

          • frankwick

            The “Me Tile” states very clearly at the top “notifications” in segoe lowercase letters. It’s the best concept of a notification center yet. It just needs to be opened up to 3rd party apps.

  • http://twitter.com/efjay01 Ef Jay

    Calendar on Outlook.com still not updated. Mismanagement all round.

    • http://twitter.com/abrahamvivas Abraham Vivas

      I had heard that the codebase for calendar is quite a mess and has caused the long delay

      • James

        I actually heard the same… and they are re-writing it from the ground up… which can only be a great thing since the old (current) one is horrible.

        • Barry Cho

          And then what? Migrate the contents of the existing DB to a new product? I don’t think so.

      • Barry Cho

        That would be doubly hilarious if it emerged from the mouth of a Hotmail old-timer.

  • efjay

    Calendar on Outlook.com still not updated. Mismanagement all round.

    • http://twitter.com/abrahamvivas Abraham Vivas

      I had heard that the codebase for calendar is quite a mess and has caused the long delay

      • James

        I actually heard the same… and they are re-writing it from the ground up… which can only be a great thing since the old (current) one is horrible.

        • Barry Cho

          And then what? Migrate the contents of the existing DB to a new product? I don’t think so.

      • Barry Cho

        That would be doubly hilarious if it emerged from the mouth of a Hotmail old-timer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/GerryButton Gerry Button

    Would LOVE to see some updates to Windows Live Movie Maker and Windows Live Photo Gallery. More editing options for photos, refined UI, maybe give us back Timeline editing?

  • http://www.facebook.com/GerryButton Gerry Button

    Would LOVE to see some updates to Windows Live Movie Maker and Windows Live Photo Gallery. More editing options for photos, refined UI, maybe give us back Timeline editing?

  • Simon Tupper

    People really should stop all the negativity…. Microsoft ever did something to you? No. Be a consumer, not a sheep. Microsoft makes great products, not all of them have succeeded, but they were always good quality products. Being uninspired at times doesn’t make you a bad company.

    • Lituri

      They’re paid to get these things right, and since WE are the ones forking over OUR money to them, then we have a right to expect these things to be released in a finished state, not Alpha’s.

      At the moment, across the board with various products, Microsoft doesn’t seem to know how to fit all the pieces together. Must be why they’re taking so long getting things right.

      So no, they didn’t do something to us. But they need to do stuff for us, it is a consumer product after all.

    • wasapasserby

      After paying hundreds of dollars for a new computer with a new OS, we expect it to run at least as well and smoothly as the last version. I just bought a new Win8 Tablet, and both the Mail and Picture apps lack the functionality found in previous versions that shipped with Win7 (both the Live and “non-Live” iterations).

  • Simon Tupper

    People really should stop all the negativity…. Microsoft ever did something to you? No. Be a consumer, not a sheep. Microsoft makes great products, not all of them have succeeded, but they were always good quality products. Being uninspired at times doesn’t make you a bad company.

    • Lituri

      They’re paid to get these things right, and since WE are the ones forking over OUR money to them, then we have a right to expect these things to be released in a finished state, not Alpha’s.

      At the moment, across the board with various products, Microsoft doesn’t seem to know how to fit all the pieces together. Must be why they’re taking so long getting things right.

      So no, they didn’t do something to us. But they need to do stuff for us, it is a consumer product after all.

    • wasapasserby

      After paying hundreds of dollars for a new computer with a new OS, we expect it to run at least as well and smoothly as the last version. I just bought a new Win8 Tablet, and both the Mail and Picture apps lack the functionality found in previous versions that shipped with Win7 (both the Live and “non-Live” iterations).

  • frankwick

    I don’t think the 1st party apps are getting a re-brand. I think these are just normal app updates to provide increased functionality. Mary Jo was simply stating that we don’t need to wait until blue is released to also get app updates, don’t read too much into that.

  • frankwick

    I don’t think the 1st party apps are getting a re-brand. I think these are just normal app updates to provide increased functionality. Mary Jo was simply stating that we don’t need to wait until blue is released to also get app updates, don’t read too much into that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jer-Ming-Chen/833833653 Jer Ming Chen

    They are still consider full screen crap until I installed 3rd party ModernMix app. MS crapped out the Live Mail now, I cannot sync subfolders. With the help of ModernMix, I am getting used to Metro Mail on desktop. It is not too bad once I can use it on desktop. Still, the missing “turn email to event” is something I really want to see in the following update. Also it would be nice to clean junk folder instead of select them all and delete. And also add the missing “create new calendar” feature. Don’t want to use Xbox Music and Metro Photo. They are too slow. And Metro Photo doesn’t work (literately doesn’t work, useless junk, not going to explain the obvious).

  • JJ

    They are still consider full screen crap until I installed 3rd party ModernMix app. MS crapped out the Live Mail now, I cannot sync subfolders. With the help of ModernMix, I am getting used to Metro Mail on desktop. It is not too bad once I can use it on desktop. Still, the missing “turn email to event” is something I really want to see in the following update. Also it would be nice to clean junk folder instead of select them all and delete. And also add the missing “create new calendar” feature. Don’t want to use Xbox Music and Metro Photo. They are too slow. And Metro Photo doesn’t work (literately doesn’t work, useless junk, not going to explain the obvious).

  • http://twitter.com/sayonical Sayonical

    This is needed sorely. Xbox music is such a sub par experience!

  • http://twitter.com/sayonical Sayonical

    This is needed sorely. Xbox music is such a sub par experience!

  • infinidim

    They really need to do something with the Windows 8 Mail app. It lacks even some of the basic things that you get with any mail app like being able to change default fonts and their sizes, read receipt requests and being able to add email addresses to the People app from Mail

  • infinidim

    They really need to do something with the Windows 8 Mail app. It lacks even some of the basic things that you get with any mail app like being able to change default fonts and their sizes, read receipt requests and being able to add email addresses to the People app from Mail