The new Metro Apps in the Windows 8 Release Preview have some interesting features.
New Metro apps
Microsoft unified the look of the app bar that drops down from the top of the screen. The options are app-specific, of course (favorite sports and trending news, for instance), but the look of the icons doesn’t change.
Using the app bar at the top, you can choose to book flights or hotels, or view certain destinations, which you can pin to the Start Menu. The main page is home to a selection of featured locales, along with a motley collection of pictures, panoramas and travel articles. Once you dig into a specific destinations page, you’ll get more detailed info: everything from maps to weather forecasts to fare stats.
When you enter, you’ll see a top story ( on baseball, hockey, basketball, various soccer leagues and golf), with other articles listed over on the right. Scroll far enough and you’ll find schedules, followed by a self-explanatory area called “Favorite teams.” Adding these is easy by clicking a plus sign and then typing your team into a field, which spits back autocomplete suggestions in record time.
You can add as many teams as you want, and each team’s page is pinnable as a live tile. Click on one and you’ll notice the general layout is the same: news, followed by a schedule. In the case of teams, you’ll also get more detailed info, like standings, a roster, batting and pitching leaders, etc.
Bing News’ main page has a top story, though as you scroll to the right you’ll see top headlines in various categories, such as business. Click the app bar up top to view news by trends, or by source. These media outlets, include a mix of newspapers and websites and are broken down into categories such as technology and business. Each is accompanied by a shortcut with that outlet’s icon, making it easy to spot your favorite among the bunch.
The existing Metro apps like Weather and Maps, Finance, Mail and Media are all there and tweaked to be more user friendly.
The third-party apps include: Wikipedia, The Financial Times, The LA Times, Fruit Ninja, Slacker Radio and Box.net.
The RTM is expected to have more Metro Apps in the Windows Store.