Windows 8 Core Apps available now

By Kip Kniskern | Posted March 25, 2013 24 comments

As we reported, the core app updates for Mail, Calendar, People, and Messaging are available a little earlier than tomorrow, that is, they’re ready to go right now.  If you don’t see them in the Windows Store, from the settings (right click or swipe in from the right), click on “check for updates” and you should be good to go.

core app updates

Just a couple of notes and first impressions: although Messaging was left off the list in today’s announcement of the updates, it did in fact make it to the party and appears to have received a bit of a makeover of its own (although we have to admit we hung on to Messenger and then switched to Skype, and haven’t done much with Messaging except try to turn it off).  Like all of the core apps, big, clean, and bold are the watchwords, so much so that using the apps feels like using one of those giant pencils from first grade (do they even have those anymore?  those giant black pencils with no erasers that felt like they were cut out of a single tree?  the ones that probably held enough lead to close down a whole school?).  Maybe it’s because we’re still on a desktop machine with dual monitors and value real estate more than touch, but Microsoft’s approach with Metro/Modern feels more like dumbing down than cleaning up.

Still, the apps are an improvement, and Mail looks like it may just be usable:

mail

It does a good job on those endless messages from The Messenger Team, anyway, and you can easily switch between accounts in the lower left corner.  We’ve yet to go through and check out all the changes that Brandon LeBlanc listed this morning, but we might just be tempted with this one.

Calendar does look nice, although the downside to following lots of people on Facebook etc. becomes readily apparent when you’re confronted with all their confounding birthdays:

calendar core apps

Who are all these people?  And how many times do I need to know that it’s Easter? (I know, I know, this is more of a config issue with me and my various social networks than it is a problem with Calendar, but still…).

The People app again is long on bold clean looks and somewhat short on usable information: what I want to know immediately when opening People is “where are my contacts” and “who is online”.  That information is buried a few pages down (or over, in this case), and I’m left with some breathless news about a Tweet I posted 3 days ago.  Again, I know.  I’m holding it wrong.

Still, the apps are coming along, Metro is here to stay, and taking the plunge and springing for a touch enabled device would provide a whole new perspective, and that’s only a matter of time.

For now, unlike the first round of core apps, these look like they just might be worth a shot.

What do you think?  Are you drawn back in to give Mail, Calendar, Messaging, and People another look?  Are you still clinging to Messenger and Windows Live Mail until they’re pried from your hands?  Is there still too much lacking to make these apps worthwhile?  Let us know in the comments.

Posted March 25th, 2013 at 7:24 pm
  • http://twitter.com/theodorejb Theodore Brown

    There are toggle switches in the Calender options to show/hide birthdays and holidays. This is the first configuration change I made after installing the app.

    • http://www.LiveSide.net Kip Kniskern – LiveSide.net

      Yeah thanks easy enough to find. I was just struck by the absurdity of thinking I cared about all those birthdays. Couldn’t resist the cheap shot ;)

    • http://gcoupe.wordpress.com/ Geoff Coupe

      There are no toggle switches in my Calendar options to show/hide birthdays… I can elect to include/exclude a Holidays Calendar, but that’s all…

  • http://twitter.com/theodorejb Theodore Brown

    There are toggle switches in the Calender options to show/hide birthdays and holidays. This is the first configuration change I made after installing the app.

    • http://www.LiveSide.net Kip Kniskern – LiveSide.net

      Yeah thanks easy enough to find. I was just struck by the absurdity of thinking I cared about all those birthdays. Couldn’t resist the cheap shot ;)

    • http://gcoupe.wordpress.com/ Geoff Coupe

      There are no toggle switches in my Calendar options to show/hide birthdays… I can elect to include/exclude a Holidays Calendar, but that’s all…

  • Harley22x

    Good update! I glanced over them quickly however because its late here. But noticed that the Mail application specifically has had some great improvements. :)

  • Harley22x

    Good update! I glanced over them quickly however because its late here. But noticed that the Mail application specifically has had some great improvements. :)

  • Khristopher Ranger

    Edit: Nevermind.

  • http://www.facebook.com/khris Khristopher Ranger

    How do you check for updates?

  • JJ

    Still cannot convert email to calendar event. Still cannot type “Mom” in email address bar to send my email. Still cannot clean my junk folder quickly. Still cannot create new calendar. This is still crappy compare to the Live Mail version. But, ever since they crippled Live Mail, I have been using this mainly because ModernMix make this app a lot less painful to use. I did not see many enhancement on this new update, at least nothing of interest for me. Still hindered by lack of simple features.

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

    Still cannot convert email to calendar event. Still cannot type “Mom” in email address bar to send my email. Still cannot clean my junk folder quickly. Still cannot create new calendar. This is still crappy compare to the Live Mail version. But, ever since they crippled Live Mail, I have been using this mainly because ModernMix make this app a lot less painful to use. I did not see many enhancement on this new update, at least nothing of interest for me. Still hindered by lack of simple features.

  • http://gcoupe.wordpress.com/ Geoff Coupe

    Small improvements, but I notice that, like IE10, the Mail app STILL can’t print out a range of pages – you get all or nothing. Contrast that with Microsoft’s Reader App, which CAN print out a range of pages. Clearly the Mail and IE teams don’t know how to use the new printing subsystem in Windows 8. Doesn’t bode well…

  • http://gcoupe.wordpress.com/ Geoff Coupe

    Small improvements, but I notice that, like IE10, the Mail app STILL can’t print out a range of pages – you get all or nothing. Contrast that with Microsoft’s Reader App, which CAN print out a range of pages. Clearly the Mail and IE teams don’t know how to use the new printing subsystem in Windows 8. Doesn’t bode well…

  • v743

    update to xbox music, solitaire and minesweeper also available

  • v743

    update to xbox music, solitaire and minesweeper also available

  • Joscelin Trouwborst

    Got the updates yesterday and already gave my impression in the comments to the previous article. To repeat… Disappointing. Compared to the web apps they are still lacking a lot of functionality, specifically drag and drop using a mouse. If I am right, there has been an update every three months since launch. I hope this will be continued and that we will have apps that soon will surpass functionality as we know it today. Hence, at the time the Windows Blue Public Preview comes available.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joscelin.trouwborst Joscelin Trouwborst

    Got the updates yesterday and already gave my impression in the comments to the previous article. To repeat… Disappointing. Compared to the web apps they are still lacking a lot of functionality, specifically drag and drop using a mouse. If I am right, there has been an update every three months since launch. I hope this will be continued and that we will have apps that soon will surpass functionality as we know it today. Hence, at the time the Windows Blue Public Preview comes available.

  • Joscelin Trouwborst

    As soon as the Skype app connects with Facebook, I am done with Messenger.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joscelin.trouwborst Joscelin Trouwborst

    As soon as the Skype app connects with Facebook, I am done with Messenger.

  • http://alexsimkin.tumblr.com/ Alex Simkin

    I’ve just realised that the Mail app no longer supports control+enter for sending an email. It used to, and that keyboard shortcut is the one I use most often. A dealbreaker for me.

  • http://doctorwhofan98.wordpress.com/ doctorwhofan98

    I’ve just realised that the Mail app no longer supports control+enter for sending an email. It used to, and that keyboard shortcut is the one I use most often. A dealbreaker for me.

  • Alan Harland

    New calendar is better but still need task sync from outlook

  • http://www.facebook.com/alan.harland Alan Harland

    New calendar is better but still need task sync from outlook