Windows 10 Hands-On: What You Need To Know

The Fledgling Windows Store

The Windows Store looks slightly different than it did in Windows 8.1, but remains the same cesspool of software where good curation, design, and usability all go to die.

That may seem harsh, but we're not exaggerating. Search for "Facebook" on iOS, and the top result is the FB client, followed by Instagram. The following applications are all photo editors, which makes sense, given that FB is a common image host these days.  Here's Google Play (I'd include an iOS screenshot, but the iPhone version of the App Store only shows one app at a time these days).

Sorry for the Volume overlay; this particular tablet tends to lay one out when taking screen shots.

Android doesn't do a great job here. The first two apps are FB applications, but the next is a third-party nothing. Instagram manages to make it into Slot #4, and #5 is another third party tool that claims (and this is true) -- "Download it for free and enjoy your faster Facebok(R) experience."  Everything below Slot #5 devolves into video downloaders and the like, so this isn't great by any means. But it still beats Microsoft's Store in Windows 10.

Windows 10's FB results. Click to enlarge.

First up, Facebook itself. Good. Next up? "Mine" -- an FB app where chat apparently hasn't worked for at least six months. The generic IM+ Pro client is next, a handful of miscellaneous apps and advertisements follow, and then we've got "Fast For Fastbook -- an application that literally bills itself as "The official Facebook app." That's ridiculous. No application should be allowed to claim "Official" status unless it's the actual official application. The fact that this is presented in the first set of FB results is proof that Microsoft doesn't engage in even the smallest amount of app curation. But hey -- at least "Halloween Facebook Picture" snuck in there.

Why are we covering the Windows Store in a technical preview of Windows 10? Two reasons:

1). It is effectively impossible to separate the Store experience from the core of the OS experience on any mobile platform, and Microsoft has made a repeated point of stressing how its vision for Windows going forward is a unified OS experience. You can't cut the Windows Store out of the equation any longer, particularly if MS plans to continue to use it for distributing major software updates and its own offerings.

2). While the OS that wraps around the store is in a very early state, the Windows Store itself is not. At two years old, it is reasonable to expect the latest version of Windows to reflect the changes and improvements that Microsoft has integrated into this vital feature. Everything else about Windows 10 might be in early stages, but core app curation and presentation should be well polished by now.

These are problems for Google and Apple, too -- but there's no getting around the fact that Microsoft remains the worst in the business at this. Let's move on from here and look at the UI and application changes.

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