Windows Store update could make finding apps easier

Microsoft is updating  its app store for Windows 8.1 apps with improved navigation and discovery features in the hopes that the reasons you’re not downloading apps from the store is because you’re having trouble finding them… not because you don’t need them.

The new Windows Store includes new groups of categories called “collections,” a persistent navigation bar at the top of the screen, and featured apps on the home screen of the Windows Store.

windows store new

While some of the changes are kind of cosmetic, the Collections feature could make it easier to find related apps. For instance, a Music lovers collection includes links to related apps including iHeartRadio, TuneIn, Rhapsody, and Slacker. A Getting started collection includes popular apps such as Facebook and Netflix.

Meanwhile, if you keep an eye on the featured apps category, Microsoft plans to start highlighting apps that are on sale by showing a sale prices in red next to a strike-through of the original price.

multi download

Now that app developers have an option of making some apps and games available to both Windows and Windows Phone users, you’ll also start to notice an icon next to some apps in the store letting you know that you can pay once and download the apps on multiple devices including phones and PCs.

windows and windows phone store

None of this addresses the fact that there are still a number of top tablet and touchscreen apps available for Android and iOS which are not yet available for Windows. But helping users find apps that can run on Windows tablets (and laptops or desktops) could help make the platform a little more attractive to some users.

  • Michael Thompson

    The implication being that you’d get lost in that huge mass of content?

  • bbkm

    Nice. I’d like to thank me for this change and my frequent ‘user feedback’ provided to MSFT, trashing the crapiness of its store front end in comparison with its rivals.

    I recall my first venture looking for Win8 apps for a Surface Pro purchased for a toddler was a catastrophe and painful to no end. I still find it hard to recommend Win8 to parents of toddlers, as the Google Play store for example, is far easier to navigate and locate games and apps by comparison.

    Let’s hope this change helps.

  • John Henle

    I can’t even conceive of getting software from the Store for a PC or laptop like the Surface Pro, except maybe solitaire, chess, hearts, etc. – the stuff that should be installed by default anyway. Why would I get 3rd party software from MS when I could get it straight from the source?

    I think the concept works on a phone because the screen is tiny, and navigation isn’t as easy as using a desktop with a mouse and keyboard. On a phone, it’s more convenient, and quicker. On a laptop, if I want to install MSI Afterburner for example, I’m not thinking of going to the Store. I’ll Google it, pick the link to MSi’s website, and download it. Done.

  • zdanee

    The firs step in the right direction would be throwin out the trash from the store. Sure, the 200000 entries they are so proud of would shrink to 50000 at most. But it’s ridiculous I have to go through so many fake entries that want my $1 with their stolen icons. You have 20 different GTA cheat sheet, all with the right GTA icons, but GTA:SA itself is at the end of the list, if you search for ‘GTA’. Also, why the F can’t I move apps to the SD on a 8.1 device? It’s running full windows, don’ tell me you can’t do it! Not even symlinks work, it looks like it’s intentional to lock the Store apps to the eMMC which is a dick move especially on 32GB devices.