Inside Windows 10: Sneak peek at the default apps

Inside Windows 10: Sneak peek at the default apps

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Shutterstock/Microsoft

Inside Windows 10: Sneek peak at the default apps

Windows 8 and 8.1 come preinstalled with several Windows apps made by Microsoft, which serve as default tools for the OS. In the upcoming Windows 10, these apps will be updated. User interfaces will be redesigned and apps will now launch inside resizable windows in the desktop environment so you’ll be able to manipulate their windows, just as you do with ordinary desktop applications. The latest release of the Windows 10 Technical Preview includes early looks at these revamped default apps.

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Alarms & Clock

There are three tools under the Windows 8/8.1 Alarms app: Alarm, Timer and Stopwatch. The renamed Alarms & Clock in Windows 10 Technical Preview adds a fourth, World Clock. For some reason, the app doesn’t feature the bold circular UI graphics of the old app.

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Calculator

Here’s an app that will certainly work much better on a desktop and notebook computer because it’ll launch inside a resizable window on the Windows 10 desktop. The Windows 8/8.1 Calculator app comes with three modes: Standard, Scientific and Converter. The new one will add a fourth, Programmer. The user interface for the Converter has been redone. The measurements that can be converted will all be listed in a sidebar, not in a drop-down menu.

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Calendar

The Calendar app gets a completely overhauled GUI and look that, thankfully, makes it far more usable on desktop and notebook systems. It will have feature integration with the also new Mail app.

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Camera

You’ll be able to change the resolution and frame rate for capturing video with the webcam of your Windows 10 device.

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Food & Drink, Health & Fitness, Money, News, Sports, Travel, Weather

We’ve never cared for this mess of apps, because they mostly do the same thing: Showing you live-updated information in their respective categories. Yet these are installed as 7 separate apps on Windows 8/8.1. In the Windows 10 Technical Preview, some of these categories (news, travel and weather) show up under the search box for Cortana, Microsoft’s personal digital assistant, which is placed on the taskbar to the right of the Start button. Otherwise, we think all of the information presented in these 7 apps could be combined into one app, from which you could choose the category (or categories) you want its tile to show on the Start Menu.

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Mail

Coinciding with Calendar, the interface of the new Mail makes this app much more comfortable for use with a keyboard and mouse. It has a direct link and integration with the new Calendar app.

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Maps

The new Maps in Windows 10 Technical Preview works mostly the same as in Windows 8/8.1, with several new things added: the ability to rotate a map clockwise or counter-clockwise, and to view it at an angle tilted toward the horizon. There’s now a large selection of cities included that you can view as 3D maps. Another feature is you can download and install regional maps so you can use this app completely offline.

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Music

The Windows 10 Technical Preview doesn’t include this new Music app preinstalled; it has to be downloaded separately from the beta version of the new Windows Store app. Under the name Music Preview, this app has a plainer GUI over its Windows 8/8.1 predecessor, and lacks any link to an online store to buy music as downloads or streams. A music store will likely be restored in the final release.

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Photos

Photos in Windows 8/8.1 lets you view images stored on your local device or OneDrive account and do simple edits and enhancements. The latest Windows 10 Technical Preview has the same features, but is a work-in-progress: When you click its “Albums” buttons, the app tells you this function isn’t available yet. What are available are three “games”: These are actually tools Microsoft devised to improve their image enhancement, face recognition, and eye detection software. With your permission, you can allow Microsoft to analyze and test your photos for these three purposes.

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Video

Like Music, the new Video app is available as a separate download from the Windows Store beta, and has an identical, bare-looking GUI. It has a link to a store, which launches the Windows Store beta, but the Windows Store beta currently doesn’t sell video downloads or streams.

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Voice Recorder

Sound Recorder in Windows 8/8.1 has been renamed Voice Recorder. It still has the same features, but its UI now has a lighter-colored theme (like the revised Alarms & Clock and Calculator apps).

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Windows Store

Windows 10 Technical Preview includes a new version of the Windows Store app. For now, the primary difference over the current Windows Store app is that its layout is designed to be scrolled through vertically. So it’s better suited for browsing on a desktop or notebook with a mouse. Apparently because this app isn’t able to switch its UI between desktop/notebook and tablet modes, the latest releases of the Windows 10 Technical Preview come with both this new and current Windows Store.