The Release Preview is far less stable in apps. It is to be expected that the development of the default apps to be an ongoing process. Like mobile apps on iOS and Android, they will see continuous revision, up to and beyond the release of Windows 8.
Of the new Microsoft-built News, Sports, and Travel apps, only the Sports app is stable. The Sports app offers some very cool customizations for following your favorite teams, including pulling in box scores, statistics, rosters, and related news stories. The Travel app will let you not only buy plane tickets and book hotels, but it will grab travel-guide information. Likewise, the News app serves as a robust aggregator.
Improvements to the semantic zoom let developers layer content, and make it pinch-to-zoom accessible. All the new apps use it, and it’s been brought to other apps such as People. Zoom out, and you can browse your contacts by alphabetic category. Place the cursor over a letter and zoom in to jump to that letter’s list of contacts. This may not sound big, but it will allow app developers to create richly layered apps with content that’s easy to dive deep into.
Many small changes that are nevertheless worth noting have landed in the older apps.
In the Metro version of Internet Explorer 10, there’s built-in support for Flash — not unlike how Google Chrome comes with Flash built in. While Windows 8 defaults to HTML5 playback when available, it means that people with Windows 8 computers will still be able to run the majority of Flash content on the Web in Metro IE10 and IE10 in Desktop mode already supported plug-ins like Flash.
Also in IE10 Metro, the Do Not Track header that tells sites to not issue you tracking cookies will be set to On by default. You can use swipe to move back and forth through your history from the edges on touch screens. Non-touch screens will have forward and back arrows appear as you mouse along the left and right sides of the Web site.
The lock screen has been enhanced so that the Video and Music apps can be controlled from it. The volume controls on tablets and traditional keyboards will pop open a small control window. Meanwhile, the Music app has inherited ZunePass, and gained DLNA support. This brings the app better streaming support than before.
The SkyDrive app will feature a new “fetch” option for grabbing photos from other computers that have SkyDrive installed, regardless of how large the pile of pictures is. It’s implied that this will depend on the size of your local drive on the recipient computer, and that “fetch” will work like a data transfer service.
Meanwhile, the Mail app offers better multiple account support and a more logical organization of folders. You can also now pin specific e-mail accounts to your Start screen, so it’s easier to get right to the e-mail you want.
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