When Windows 8 officially launched in late October 2012, there were about 9,000 "Modern" apps available for download from the Windows Store. While those numbers increased by quite a bit by the end of 2012, the rate of new apps added to the store has slowed considerably in 2013.
However, it should not be just a numbers game for Windows 8 apps; it should also be about apps that are both well designed and offer cool features. The Windows Store is full of apps that are, for lack of a better term, not very good, but you could also say that of the iOS and Android app catalog.
A month ago, our own Andy Weir gave readers a chance to offer their thoughts on this subject, and it generated a ton of comments and some great suggestions. I have my own thoughts on this issue, along with my predictions on when, or even if, these apps will be released.
Official Facebook app
There's a ton of third party Facebook apps, both free and paid versions, in the Windows Store as we speak, and some of them are quite popular. That's a huge sign that Windows 8 PC owners want a quick and easy way to access their Facebook account without having to go to the standard Facebook website.
The chance of an official Facebook app is remote, even though Microsoft has partnered with Facebook in other matters such as its Bing integration. A few months ago a spokesperson for Facebook stated, "We only build the iOS and Android FB apps. You should check in with Microsoft on anything related to Windows 8." It's possible that Microsoft could develop a Facebook Windows 8 app on its own, as it did for Windows Phone.
Official Twitter app
As with Facebook, there are also quite a number of third party Twitter apps in the Windows Store section, which again shows that Windows 8 users don't want to just surf to the Twitter.com site in IE10. The good news? Twitter confirmed in late October it is indeed working on an official Windows 8 app. The bad news? It's been nearly four months since that announcement and we have no word from either Microsoft or Twitter about a launch date.
Official YouTube app
We are sounding like we are a broken record at this point, but the truth hurts. There are lots of third party YouTube apps in the Windows Store, including a few in the top 10 paid and free Windows 8 app list. There's no doubt that there is an audience for an app so Windows 8 owners can check up on the latest funny-cute cat videos or the latest Minecraft clips.
While YouTube's owner, Google, has released a Google Search app for Windows 8, they have since indicated they have no plans to offer any more apps for the OS, which would also seem to rule out a dedicated Gmail and Google Maps app. However, a Google executive did add that the company might reconsider that decision if the market share for Windows 8 apps grows, so there's still a chance we could see an official YouTube app released after all.
While there are many other streaming music apps available for Windows 8, such as Spotify and iHeartRadio, Pandora is still the one that's the most popular among iOS and Android users. We think it would a welcome addition to the Windows 8 store.
There's actually reason to believe that this will in fact happen. Pandora has already announced plans to launch a Windows Phone 8 app sometime in early 2013 so it stands to reason that it could also be developing one for Windows 8 as well.
The photo sharing app continues to gain popularity on iOS and Android product so it would also seem to be something that Windows 8 owners would jump at the chance to download and use. There are also a few third party Instagram apps in the Windows Store already.
Since Instagram is now owned by Facebook, we should assume that the development of a dedicated Windows 8 app is about on the same track as an official Facebook app. That basically means we shouldn't hold our breath for an app anytime in the near future.
Major sports league apps
Watching sports on TV just by itself is passe now; it's all about the "second screen" experience now as fans watch games while also using their smartphone and tablets to get more information about games. Yet the Windows Store is extremely lacking in terms of major sports leagues offering up its own apps. Sure, you can download sports news from the ESPN app, but where are the official NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA or PGA apps for the OS?
At the moment, the only US major sports leagues that have dedicated Windows 8 apps are NASCAR and Major League Soccer (ok, you can also get the official WWE Windows 8 app, but we really can't call it a "sport"). Microsoft needs to make a bigger push for the major sports organizations to join the Windows 8 app store, and soon.
Temple Run games
The free-to-play "endless running games" from developer Imangi Studios have been downloaded tens of millions of times for iOS and Android, and for good reason; they are fun and addictive games. It would seem a natural for Windows 8 owners to enjoy as well.
We actually did contacta few weeks ago after the launch of Temple Run 2 to ask if the games would make their way to Windows 8, and we were told by their spokesperson that they have no such plans in the works. Hopefully the small development team will change their minds, or at the very least allow another team to port the Temple Run games to Windows 8 at some point.