The new built-in apps in Windows 8.1

When Windows 8 was officially launched in October of last year, its built-in apps weren’t overwhelmingly impressive at first, but they did improve after several updates. The Mail app in particular was less than impressive to say the least. Which is one reason why Windows RT users are happy Outlook 2013 is included in the new update. But now there’s greatly improved built-in apps in Windows 8.1 and some new ones too. Here’s a look at what’s new.

New Bing Apps

Windows 8.1 Bing Weather

Image Credits: Brian Burgess

So let’s take a look at what new apps are included in the Windows 8/RT 8.1 update starting with Bing apps. One could argue the Bing apps in Windows 8 were the best ones of the lot in Windows 8. Apps like News, Finance, Sports, and the Weather apps were all a great start and improved over time. And while those apps have been improved in 8.1, new Bing apps are included too.

 

 

 

Bing Health & Fitness

Windows 8.1 Bing Health and FitnessTo keep track of your health and fitness activities, Bing Health & Fitness includes several interesting features. It has exercise plans, nutrition information, diet and health trackers, health news and a lot more.
 

 

 

Bing Food & Drink

Bing Food and DrinkThis is a beautiful and well laid out app that provides you with food recipes, meal plans, tips and techniques, celebrity chef advice, guides to wines and cocktails, and the ability to create you shopping lists. Once you start using it, you’ll find it has a lot of useful features, and can inspire you to create a great meal for a dinner party.
 

 

 

Windows 8.1 Utility Apps

For the initial release of Windows 8/RT a glaring omission in apps were utilities that we’ve all become accustomed to in previous versions of Windows. Apps like Calculator and Sound Recorder. In Windows 8.1 those familiar utilities have been added along with a few others.

Sound Recorder

Sound RecorderWhile there was a Sound Recorder utility in Windows 8, it was a desktop application and not modern-style. Windows 8.1 includes a modern-style Sound Recorder app. It’s basic and works as expected and also supports basic editing capabilities.
 

 

 

Calculator

Calculator AppWhile the Calculator app existed on the desktop, there was no modern-style equivalent in the previous Windows 8 iteration. This version provides standard and scientific types, length, weight, temperature converters and more.
 

 

 

Reading List

Reading ListThis app allows you to collect articles that you’ve shared from apps like Internet Explorer 11 to read later offline. It also has the ability to sync your saved articles through SkyDrive so you can access the articles on other devices.
 

 

 

Share to Reading ListTo save an article for IE, bring up the Charms bar and select Share and select Reading List.
 

 

 

 

Scan

Windows 8.1 ScanWindows 8 introduced class drivers in to the OS which allows you to connect virtually any modern printer/scanner to your device and it should work without the need to hunt down drivers. The Scan app allows you to scan a document easily to your PC or tablet. It’s not fancy or feature packed, but it does the job – getting a document on your computer.
 

 

 

Help & Support

help and support place holderAt the time of this writing, the new modern-style Help & Support app is currently a place holder and says it’s coming soon. For the final RTM release of Windows 8.1 is should be finished and include helpful tips on how to use the new version of Windows. It’s been reported that this will emulate the Help & Tips app currently available in Windows Phone 8.
 

 

 

Xbox Music

Xbox Music AppI’d be remiss if I didn’t include the new version of Xbox Music. While not a “new” app it has been completely overhauled, contains a much nicer user interface and features. When Xbox Music was first released, it was mediocre at best, but it’s matured quite a bit over the past year and looks to be a serious contender as the “iTunes” for Windows. It allows you to sync your music collection between all of your Windows 8 devices and the Xbox 360 and upcoming Xbox One consoles. Also, Microsoft recently launched Xbox Music Online service that lets you sync your music and listen via a web browser provided you’re a Music Pass subscriber.

Brian Burgess
Brian Burgess resides in Minnesota. A technology enthusiast his entire life, he worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. In addition to contributing to Tech Page One, he’s the Editor in Chief at groovyPost.com, a contributor to Gizmag, and has written for other notable tech sites Byte, InformationWeek, and How-To Geek.
Brian Burgess
Tags: Software,Technology