As part of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview launch, Microsoft debuted the Windows Store, with more than 70 free "Metro-style" apps. These apps are optimized for touchscreens, but fully functional with regular old mouses and keyboards. Here are 15 of the best Metro-style Windows 8 apps, both from Microsoft and third-party developers.
This simple image editor lets you apply photo effects such as blur, emboss, jitter, sepia, and grayscale. It's a little too basic at the moment, but it will definitely be a winner if the developers continue to add new effects and filters.
Cut the Rope
The popular, adorable, physics-based puzzler makes its Windows 8 debut with the same smooth graphics and clever level design as its mobile counterparts. Players must guide candy into the mouth of a stationary frog-like character called Om Nom by tactically slicing ropes. Each level gets more complicated with the introduction of new obstacles and objects.
Doodleinator is an animation creator--a fun way to waste time, but it could use some more editing options (such as the ability to rearrange frames). When you're finished creating your animation, you can upload it to Facebook or save it as a local file on your device.
Endomondo's Windows 8 app is a companion to its mobile software, which uses GPS tracking to keep stats on users' runs and bike rides. This app brings those stats to the big screen and lets users look at their friends' workout progress as well as their own.
Though Grantophone was originally designed for touchscreens, it's also fun to use with a mouse. Grantophone lets you jam out with all kinds of customizable synth tunes--just throw on your favorite 80's throwback band in the background and provide some extra melodies.
Don't be fooled by iCookbook's name. This recipe app embraces the Metro-style, with tantalizing food photos and a long, horizontally-scrolling list of culinary categories. Each recipe step is spelled out in large font -- perfect for bringing into the kitchen with you.
No more looking for song lyrics on sketchy Websites with obnoxious pop-up ads. MusixMatch presents lyrics to millions of songs in a clean Metro-style Windows 8 app, along with biographies and discographies. It can also sync with your local music library. Just one problem: The app links to YouTube for popular songs, but YouTube videos won't play in Metro-style Internet Explorer 10.
Pirates Love Daisies
Who needs plants and zombies when you've got pirates and daisies? This isn't the most original tower defense game, but it's well-built.
SigFig isn't just another stock ticker app. It's a service that imports your online investment portfolios and then provides detailed performance data, analytics, and recommendations. Thanks to this app, you can watch your investments flounder in style.
A textbook Metro-style app, Slacker's Internet radio service assaults the eyes with recommended stations, artist bios, album reviews, and song lyrics -- all blocked out into big, horizontally-scrolling lists. It runs nicely side-by-side with other apps, letting you switch tracks and highlight favorite songs as you work on other tasks.
Windows 8 will probably get a built-in podcast manager some day, but for now SlapDash does a fine job. Users can stream podcasts instead of downloading them, and their subscriptions sync with the SlapDash Windows Phone app.
Even Microsoft's crusty old version of Solitaire has gotten a Metro-style overhaul for Windows 8. Purists might moan about some of the gameplay changes -- points are awarded for all card placement, and you can flip the deck unlimited times--but at least the annoying "ding" sound effect for invalid moves has been toned down.
If it's snack-sized news you're after, USA Today provides a meal's worth in a long, scrolling grid of stories. The stories themselves are just as snazzy, with huge feature photos juxtaposed against the text.
You didn't think Microsoft was going to work with Google on a YouTube app, did you? Still, Vimeo does just fine, with nine-by-nine grids of Web video to choose from.
Microsoft's built-in Bing Weather app is a beauty. On the front page, a six-day forecast stands out against an atmospheric background, while the app's back pages provide hourly weather, maps, and stats.
Today's Best Tech Deals
Picked by PCWorld's Editors