Where are the apps? That's the question we asked in our review of the Microsoft Surface, and it's one of the bigger question marks plaguing Microsoft's Windows 8 launch. At today's Build 2012 kick-off, Microsoft bigwigs quelled some of the complaints, rattling off a long list of big-name Windows 8 apps slated to appear in the Windows Store in coming weeks. A handful of those apps made an appearance during the keynote.
Dropbox, a PayPal Windows 8 API, and an ESPN app that offers up the full ESPN information experience along with the ability to pin specific teams and sport to the Start menu were definitely the standouts, but they're only the tip of the iceberg.
According to a new blog post by Microsoft VP Steve Guggenheimer, Expedia, Fitbit, Hotels.com, SAP and Twitter all have Windows 8 apps barreling down the pipeline, while NASA's Jet Propulsion Labs recently rolled out a pair of educational apps about Mars and the Curiosity rover. At Build 2012, LEGO announced plans to port its "Life of George" software to both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.
Disney's "Phineas and Ferb: Agent P Strikes Back" might not seem like the kind of app Microsoft would show off to woo a crowd of jaded app developers, but the company used it to highlight how easily HTML5-based browser games can be ported to the platform. "Windows is more accessible to more developers than it’s ever been in our history," Guggenheimer crowed in his post.
That being said, the lack of blockbuster apps on the Windows 8 platform is a major concern in these early days for the operating system. Sure, you'll find Hulu, Slacker Radio, Netflix, Fruit Ninja, Skype and a handful of others, but even more startling are the apps that are missing from the store. You won't find a proper Facebook app, for example, nor apps from Google's various services, most major banks, Pandora, Spotify, Minecraft, Pulse, or a whole host of additional no-shows. Fortunately, Microsoft seems to be attacking the problem with vigor.
Update: We originally listed Zinio as a missing app, and a Microsoft rep reached out to inform us that Zinio actually popped up in the Windows Store a few days ago.