Microsoft Windows 8 became available today, with downloadable upgrades for desktops and laptops on sale at Microsoft’s website and the tablet-focused “RTM” version shipping on the new Microsoft Surface tablets. Windows 8 takes a cue from Apple’s App Store for Macs or iPhones by including a “Windows Store” in the new operating system that has verified apps for your computer’s ambitious new touch-and-cursor-friendly interface.
We thought it would be handy to assemble a few of the digital media apps you can already download for streaming or downloading music, movies, books, and the like.
When it comes to movies and TV, there is already a Netflix Windows 8 app you can download. It’s a beautiful, minimalist design that puts the focus on the content. That’s the best option as far as downloadable apps go.
For music, your best option is actually Xbox Music — that’s the new music service from Microsoft that we reviewed just a few days ago. It’s very Spotify-like, but unlike Spotify it works in the new Windows 8 interface. It also comes pre-loaded on Windows 8 machines. Spotify and alternatives like iTunes still work in Windows 8 for desktops, though; you’ll just have to run them in the old-fashioned desktop environment.
Amazon was quick to jump on the Windows 8 bandwagon with its a Kindle app for reading books on your laptop, desktop, or Windows Surface tablet, if you’re into that kind of thing. This one is notably compatible with all Windows 8 devices, from tablets to desktop PCs.
The bad news is for gamers: There just aren’t very many games up in the Windows Store yet. Hold tight, though. We’re sure some are coming. But if you want to get started earlier, there are a few touch-oriented solutions. We recommend Cut the Rope.