Windows RT


One screenshot illustrates all that is wrong with the Windows 8 app store

flappybird_win8_20140224

I’ve made peace, more-or-less, with Windows after the 8.1 update became available. But, this screenshot from Feb. 24, 2014 (today as I type this) illustrates one of the big problems with the Windows 8.x app store: Flappy Bird clones? Really? And, so many of them…

Microsoft
Windows RT

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MobileViews Podcast 67 & ComicsViews Podcast 43: iOS 7, Windows RT 8.1, Arrow, Agents of SHIELD

This special combined MobileViews and ComicsViews podcast let Todd Ogasawara, Jay Stone, and Emil Reyes catch up on iOS 7, Windows RT 81, Arrow (CW TV show) and Agents of Shield (ABC) in one podcast.

Apple
iPad
iPhone
Mobile Devices
podcast
Windows RT

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Amazon Cloud Player: No app needed for Windows RT

Amazon Cloud Player in Windows RT IE10

Amazon Cloud Player in Windows RT IE10

Earlier today Amazon announced their free CD AutoRip service that places some of the CDs you’ve bought over the years automatically in the Amazon Cloud for streaming to your desktop or mobile device. If you have an Android or iOS device, you can download a free player to play these automatically ripped songs. But, what if you have a Windows RT tablet like the Surface?

In that case, just open up the IE10 browser and point it to the Amazon Cloud Player just as you would on a desktop or notebook computer. The IE10 browser will play it just fine on the Microsoft Surface tablet running Windows RT.

Microsoft
Windows RT

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Featured Windows RT App: Bento news reader

Bento for Windows 8/RT.

Bento for Windows 8/RT.

News Bento for Windows 8/RT is a simple news aggregation app that is easy to navigate and presents news items from a variety of sources in a clean view. And, yes, it is free.

Bento lets you select news feeds from a variety of well-known news sources and blogs. The app can also draw any or all the RSS feeds you might collect in Google Reader to let you personalize the news collection even more. While it does not have a way to deal with your Facebook, Google+, or Twitter sources, it is as close you can get to a Flipboard experience on a Windows 8 or RT device. I don’t think it is a stretch to say it may be one of the most useful third party apps available for the Metro UI on Windows 8 or RT.

Microsoft
Windows RT

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Featured Windows 8/RT WebApp: MSN for Windows 8

MSN for Windows 8

MSN for Windows 8

Microsoft launched a version of its MSN website optimized for IE10 on Windows 8/RT today (Jan. 8, 2013). Most site redesigns are ho-hum at best. But, this version specifically for Windows 8 is a marked improvement over what we see in other versions of Windows and IE.

The most notable aspect of this redesigned site, however, is that it does NOT use the awful horizontal scrolling used by almost every other site and app for Windows 8. This Metro design affectation works fine for Windows Phone where the horizontal scrolling permits a sliding view into a larger window. But, this is completely unnecessary on a device like a tablet or notebook PC that actually has a relatively large display. Fortunately, MSN.com scrolls vertically Windows 8/RT. This makes for a pleasant navigation experience on a nice clean site design.

Microsoft
Windows RT

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Featured Windows RT App: Netflix

Netflix for Windows RT

Netflix for Windows RT

I’ve been using my Microsoft Surface with Windows RT daily since getting it in October. So, I’m no Windows RT hater. But, I will readily admit that the Windows RT app story is terrible. There aren’t very many apps for the platform. And, many of the ones that are available are terrible. This is even the case for some major developers who have produced very good apps for other mobile platforms like iOS and Android. However, I’ll return to these offenders (*cough* Evernote *cough* comiXology *cough*) in a future post.

This first featured Windows RT app, however, is a pretty good one. It is the free Netflix app. The user interface (UI) for the Windows RT version is usable and nearly as good as the apps for iOS and Android. It does, however, have two relatively minor issues:

1. It sometimes stutters during playback where the iOS and Android versions do not (same network)
2. Starting or resuming a video consistently results in the audio starting before video is visible

These issues aside, the app deserves the 4-star user rating (out of possible 5) given it by 48061 users (as of Jan. 7, 2013).

Microsoft
Windows RT

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…not a creature was stirring except a Microsoft Type Cover

surface_typecove4_20121224

I’ve spent a full two months using the Microsoft Surface with Windows RT (check out my review of it on BYTE linked below). The tablet is still something I carry and use daily. However, while the Touch Cover I bought with it is “usable,” it is not optimal. After two months I still make a lot of typos that don’t occur when using a “real” keyboard. So, I bit the bullet and spent another $130 to buy the Type Cover for the Surface. It arrived this afternoon (Christmas Eve 2012). It is far too early to pass a judgement. However, I can say it feels better than the Touch Cover and the number of typos is much less using the Type Cover.

More later…

(BYTE) Surface With Windows RT: A Winner Despite Apps

Microsoft
Tablet
Windows RT

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MobileViews Podcast 60: Waze, Motion X Drive, Flipboard, comiXology, Angry Birds Star Wars




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Todd Ogasawara and Jay Stone discuss Waze and MotionX Drive navigation apps for the iPhone and iPad, Flipboard, comiXology, and Angry Birds Star Wars (which we learned is a recent favorite for both of us).

iPad
iPhone
podcast
Windows RT

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Some Windows RT users may be done in by Google dropping Exchange ActiveSync too

The Verge and other tech sites have been talking about the problems created for Microsoft Windows Phone by Google’s decision to discontinue support for Exchange ActiveSync (EAS). EAS currently lets Windows Phone and other devices sync email, contacts, and calendar items.

Google drops a Gmail-shaped bomb on Windows Phone

This will not be an issue for iOS and Android users since both support the CardDAV and CalDAV protocols Google plans to use instead of EAS. Google says that they will continue to support devices already using EAS. However, it will not allow activating it on new Windows Phones. However, Windows Phone may not be the only Microsoft platform affected by this problem. Users of the new Windows RT (based on Windows 8) for tablets may be affected too since RT uses EAS to sync email, contacts, and calendar information too.

Sending and receiving email from a Windows RT device through Google mail should continue to work using IMAP4 and SMTP. However, contacts and calendar will stop working.

rtmailapp_nosync_20121216Speaking of SMTP, while, while sending email through Google’s SMTP server works for me, I have been unable to send email using the two other SMTP servers I use. And, I’m not the only one. The thread on Microsoft Answers below indicates that this is a confirmed problem for other people and their SMTP servers too.

Can’t send IMAP Mail

The Windows RT mail app is an exercise in poor user interface (try deleting multiple messages using just the touch display) to begin with. Starting next month, it may simply be unusable for some Surface owners.

Microsoft
Windows RT

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