Forget what you think you know about Windows RT, the media have been on a witch hunt and in the process misled the consumer about this Operating System and the hardware which runs it.
While you can read more on why i think thiselsewhere on this blog. this post is about Windows RT Apps and what works.
While it may not have all the abilities of its sibling to install apps on the Desktop, this is still a Windows machine with the ability to connect to mapped drives and mount lots of external media. While you could do all this management from the desktop explorer RT is about the apps. What this app offers above many of the others is its simple layout which makes dragging and dropping files between mapped folders easier.
It's worth noting if you do want to see a nas drive as a mapped drive for example, you'll need to do the actual drive mapping (for now) in the Desktop explore app. However once done you can create links within this app to any sub folder.
Directly within the app however external media can be mounted and remote media systems can also be linked to running DLNA..
What the last app does for local media GDrive Pro does for your Google Drive account, and does it well. There is a native Skydrive app if you make use of Microsofts cloud storage the GDrive ro app is the premier example however for uploading and downloading files to gDrive not just within the app, but from the Charms bar/Share option.
Attaching to remote services can be useful especially as it provides you with the ability to manage large networks within the enterprise, of just fix a loved one's PC remotely over the Web. RT has a fair number of apps for remote access I'd recommend the following for specific use cases
Remote Desktop - For RDP Connections onto Microsoft Remote Desktops
Mocha VNC - For VNC Connections onto OSX Machines and Remote Desktop for Ubuntu/Linux systems
Remote Terminal - Nice clean and fast SSH Client
Teamviewer - I've included Teamviewer here as it is a really great cross platform tool for plonking onto the PC's of friends and family you end up looking after their PC's and have them provide you with the login and password on the screen allows you to remove past a firewall onto the PC and give them help. Much easier than trying to talk the poor things through hundreds of menu's blind..
While Twitter and Foursquare maight have finally provided native apps for the Windows 8 RT platform its in areas like this that the privateers shine.
I love this app, its a simple twitter client which just displayes either your twitter stream or a chosen hashtag. The latter working very well in the RT 80/20 split screen if you're watching a sports or live media event.
I'm so glad Microsoft didn't destroy Skype, the app is a work of art and the Metro interface works well. Running video calls has never been so easy and it integrates fully into the RT Contacts and People systems.
Mine for Facebook
This is about as Anti Facebook you could get when it comes to a Facebook App however the developer has done a great job in making sure everything integrates well into a touch environment. There are also some interesting filters which you can use to filter out some Facebook noise
Much as Mine is as far from Facebook, Tweetro is from the standard twitter. However the home screen works well far better than the native app and i epecially like being able to scroll between my lists on the home screen.
What's also very good is the built in People App, which suppports updates, chat and contacts integration, however it doesn't support Groups in Facebook or Lists.
I'm a huge news consumer and have a range of pages I like to read regularly, each of these apps (other than the last one) pretty much is just a different way o displaying similar content as you can add to the provided feeds using RSS pages on all the apps.
I only ran into this reader recently, and thats probably got more to do with my mistrust of Bing than anything else. That's unfair because this is now my default news reading app. It's fast and adding extra content via RSS is a breeze.
This seems to be the app which most sites recommend for a news app, it is slick and well put together. It just doesn't follow the complete metro design guide so things like home and back buttons are a little skewed.
If Feedly is where your content is at, then NextGen is the Feedly app for the RT Platform. Login via Google and all your curated Feedly content will be viable in a snap
Google News Reader
There is an official Google News app, this one I just prefer the layout and ease of use for. Its got all the heading's you'd expect and you can switch between countries easily enough too.
With media on the go being so big in the UK, i often see people catching up on soaps and drama while out and about the most glaring omission here is a native BBC iPlayer and ITV catchup app. However all is not lost as the privateeers have you covered.
|4od - UK Only||Demand 5 - UK Only|| TV Catchup |
Live Internet Freeview like service for the UK Only. Watch live events and works great in 80/20 mode on a tablet with a twitter client like social dribble.
| Metrotube |
The only Youtube client you'll ever need on any Windows 8 platform.
| Multimedia8 |
A nice Media hub for viewing local content and content over DLNA type servers.
| App Radio |
Tapping into the world of Streaming Digital radio this app is the easiest to find the stations in the UK.
| Twit View |
I'm a huge twit fan and this app lets me watch live streams and download the content to watch offline.
| TunerFree |
While this app does little more than provide you with links to the associated UK Catchup webpages its really useful
| Plex |
Plex is the answer to all your home streaming needs. Run the plex server on a cheap Linux box, let it index your content and your watching your streamed content
If you're a Google Play Music user then fret not there is a great app for your online Google Music needs
There are a huge number of photo editing apps on this platform, none unfortunatly are of the calibre of Snapseed on the Android Platform. So it's about arming your photo editing arsenal with as many filters and image effects as you can. And once editing providing with the means to put your content up on the web. I've played with a lot of the apps on the Windows RT Store and these came out ahead of most.
|Fotor Colour Splash Studio|
|Fhotoroom||Adobe Photoshop Express|
Fhotor, Fhotoroom and Adobe Photoshop express have several free filters and inapp purchases unlock other far more interesting ones. If you've gone down the Adobe Revel platform for storing your photos the Adobe App has this built into it which is really nice.
Photoweaver and Flickrific are more about getting your content up on the web and viewing it once it is there, and the inbult photo app for RT shouldn't be sniffed at at a very capable file viewer. Photo weaver however adds some bells and whistles as it supports variety of sources such as Facebook, Google+, SkyDrive, Flickr and your local drive. It allows you to view, upload, download pictures and offers advanced editing tools
There is a perpetuated myth that you need a huge app store and native apps provided by the providers of the service to be a successful platform. While there is a lot of chaff bolstering out the numbers on the Windows 8 Store to grow those app figures the reality is the vendor apps released so far are pretty poor implementations of the IOS/Android apps and other than a few have taken no notice of the Metro Interface design guidelines.
This however has allowed for some amazing 3rd party apps which are taking the platform to a new level. There are plenty of other well known vendors however like Evernote who are doing the platform justice. As time goes by we can only hope that those supposed platform agnostic people like Google will also come and join the party as I can't help but think that Google+ on metro has the potential if done right to be a work of art.