A desperate app selection calls for desperate measures
Luckily, third-party developers have stepped in with their own versions of your favorite missing apps. We've sifted through the Windows Store to identify the best Band-aids for the most painful Windows Store no-shows.
PRadio behaves exactly as a modern streaming music app should, integrating with the search charm for easy music searching and playing music in the background when you switch to another app. Like all Windows 8 apps, it supports Snap. Snapped mode gives you playback controls at the side of your screen while using other apps.
The People app
Unless you were lucky enough to grab Metrotwit or Tweetro early, your best bet is the included People app. It’s not the best Twitter client, but hey, at least it allows you to send and view tweets. Alternatively, the Tweetro app recently reappeared in the Windows Store after a brief hiatus, but now it carries a $9.99 price tag that seems steep when you consider an official Twitter app is slated to show up in the next few months.
MINE for Facebook
It doesn’t replace the Facebook website entirely, though—you’ll still have to use the Facebook website to milk cows in FarmVille.
PrimeTube isn’t just a YouTube player, though. The app allows you to log into your YouTube account and view your subscriptions, manage playlists, and leave comments. PrimeTube also continues playing YouTube videos in the background—something that can’t be done with Internet Explorer. It’s perfect for music and speech-heavy vids.
While Movie Guide appears to be fairly light on content when you first launch it, it actually has a very comprehensive database of 69,000 titles and tons of actors and actresses. I like to use the database for movie discovery: Find your favorite movie with the Search charm to browse a list of similar movies, or tap the movie's director to view a list of other flicks they’ve directed. Once you’ve found a movie you want to watch, you can add it to your watchlist so you’ll remember it later.
The Windows Store offers two unofficial Google Maps apps, confusingly named G Maps and gMaps. Both apps support the standard Google Maps features, including directions for driving, public transit, walking, and cycling; location search; layers; and satellite maps. Each can also track your location via GPS if your tablet has a GPS chip.
Of the two, G Maps has much smoother transitions while zooming, though it does pester you with ads. Hey, the developer has to make his money before a real Google Maps app appears, right?
Latermark integrates with your Pocket account, delivering your saved articles in a touch-friendly, reading-optimized layout that's optimized for tablets but still purdy on a desktop monitor. It sure beats squinting at small fonts on a website. One downside: Latermark doesn’t automatically synchronize articles for offline reading, although articles you open in-app are cached for Internet-free reading.
IM+ is completely free and supports a wide variety of other chat networks, including popular services like Google Talk, AIM, Facebook, Jabber, ICQ, and Yahoo Messenger. In other words, IM+ fills the massive gaps left gaping by Windows 8’s native Messaging app. You can even have it send you a push notification when one of your buddies reaches out to ping you.
News Bento lets you define categories of content you’re interested in to hone in on specific types of articles. The app includes a preset directory of many of the top news sites around, though you can also subscribe to non-included sites, add any RSS feed from the web, or link the app to your Google Reader account.
You can like other people's photos, save them to your device, and even leave comments, but you can’t actually upload photos to the picture-friendly social service. That may be a blessing in disguise, though—have you ever seen someone taking a photo with a tablet? It's ridiculous.