At LeWeb Paris this year, I got to try out the Windows Surface as well as sit down with the Microsoft guys and talk shop. With all this “2012 is the biggest year for Windows ever!” talk going around, I thought I’d touch on a better subject: of those French startups who committed to building dedicated Windows 8 Apps, which of them are performing well?
While Microsoft refuses to release figures on a lot of its Windows 8 progress so far, I did get them to give us a run down of the top 5 (in no particular order) Windows 8 Apps available, so for all you new Surface owners out there, here are a few apps to check out:
InvoiceFL by Flubber: A startup out of the Dojoboost accelerator in Paris, InvoiceFL “makes your invoices and drafts so fun, easy and interactive that you are going to love to do them.” The app makes great use of the Windows 8 features, and is available in English, French, German & Spanish. The startup also released ExpenseFL on Windows 8, for managing expenses, specfiically targeted and SMBs.
Youboox by Hime: Youboox, another Dojoboost startup, has been making big inroads with its “Spotify for books” tablet application. While its iPad app hit #1 in the eBooks section earlier this year, its Windows 8 App has also been making big splashes, allowing readers to read a collection of over 2,000 eBooks easily and, of course, for free. Their business model monetizes readers via advertisement between pages.
PlanMeUp by PlanMe Up: Founded by former Microsoft France employees, the PlanMeUp Windows 8 App brings together a list of events going on around you. The app is currently free and only available for France. Difficult to see how this app will stack up against, well, every other event aggregator out there, but the “first-to-Windows 8″ approach may pay off for these former Microsoft employees, if they know something we don’t.
Askalll by Askalll: Looks and feels a lot like HeyCrowd to me, but this “poll your community” app sure is a great way to get a feel for what the Windows 8 Community thinks. The application can also connect you with people who have given similar answers to you, based on your “affinity” for each other. Questions can be sorted into communities – again, a lot like HeyCrowd, which is currently available for iOS.
CookBook by Slow Sense: a cooking application with recipes and vibrant photos, this application has received a couple hundred thousand downloads, making it easily the most popular of the 5 apps listed. While the above apps have all under 10 ratings, CookBook weighs in with 279 ratings (roughly .1% of users submit a rating, it seems).
It’s interesting to see a distinct lack of Social, Casual, and entertainment apps in this list – I don’t know if Ubisoft or Gameloft, who has been killing it on iOS and Android, will be releasing any games on Windows 8, but there certainly is a lack of character in the above games.
My take on Windows 8, even though you didn’t ask.
I haven’t quite switched over to Windows 8 just yet, though I am a proud Asus Zenbook owner and think my next phone will be a Windows 8 Phone (those new Nokia phones look nifty). A lot of people have written off Windows 8, and my reaction is always the same – Imagine it was called the XboxOS. What would you think of it, then? If it’s just a question of the Windows brand, then I agree that Microsoft has made a mistake here – just like we should’ve seen Xbox Phone years ago, Microsoft refuses to let its oldest brand die, and is not making full use of the potential of its lesser brands, Xbox & Kinect.
Microsoft is tending towards a convergence of its Xbox and PC/tablet/Mobile OS – we see that already as it tries to differentiate Windows 8 by providing Adult Games – and while some complain of the ‘hybrid’ interface between Metro and Classic, I argue that this was a necessary stepping stone – my laptop isn’t touch, so I’m glad they have something for everyone. But as new devices slowing switch from mouse to touch, this hybrid will die, and an all-touch interface will inevitably emerge.
If you think 2012 was the year for Microsoft, then you’d think they would’ve launched Windows 8 a little earlier in the year – I think 2013 will be the fly-or-die year, and, personally, I am leaning towards “fly”