Since its launch in late October 2012 Microsoft’s revolutionary new operating system, Windows 8, has gradually been taking up a larger and larger share of the market. Whilst growth hasn’t been as large as had been anticipated, Net Applications currently reports that Windows 8 now accounts for 1.72% of the Desktop OS market share.
One of the biggest features of Windows 8 is the presence of apps – a first for a Microsoft OS that brings it in line not only with portable devices, but also Apple Macs and Google Chromebooks. Social media has always featured heavily in app stores (so much so that the likes of Twitter and Facebook will often come pre-loaded on smartphones and tablets), so how have the giants of the social media fared on the Windows 8 Marketplace?
Well, they haven’t. Despite the developer preview being released in September 2011, we are yet to see any official apps from Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Youtube, or Foursquare. So far, only Twitter have announced that there is anything in the pipeline, and as of yet no publication date has been announced. Fear not though, as there are still ways to get your social media fix on Windows 8.
First up is Microsoft’s own People app, which comes preloaded on the Windows dashboard. This app allows you to connect to multiple channels (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Skype), and provides a comprehensive address book of your friends and contacts, allowing you to view individual profiles as well as the “What’s new” feed. There are limitations however – such as you cannot share Facebook content; and you can only connect profiles tied to your Microsoft account email address (Frustrating if like me you use professional and personal email addresses).
A step-up from People is Fliptoast, an intuitive 3rd party app that also allows you to connect to multiple channels (This time it’s Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram). This app is very touch-friendly and an incredibly easy way to review and manage your entire social media world, or filter by individual profile. Whilst great for personal use, this app is of somewhat limited use when managing your business, and is no substitute for a browser-based dashboard such as Hootsuite (now there’s an app I’d like to see).
If you’re after an app to manage an individual social media channel, then there are plenty of 3rd party apps available in the market place that should satisfy your needs. MetroTwit is a simple and easy to use Twitter tool with the added bonus of being able to insert custom feeds alongside your home feed (though frustratingly you can only have two columns active at a time). Facebook Touch is good enough to check up on the latest news, however if you want to post photos or manage your company page then you’ll have to bring up Facebook in your web browser.
Windows 8 users are crying out for slick and functional official social media apps, and their absence is certainly a significant blow to the Windows 8 App Store. If my predictions about New Myspace being designed with Windows 8 in mind are correct, then expect to see a superb app with full touch functionality from them when they (presumably) go live later this year. We can but hope that by the time that happens, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Linkedin will have released their own high quality apps optimised for this latest generation of desktops. In the meantime, don’t take your social media profiles off your browser bookmarks bar just yet.