Windows Blue (build 9364) offers new Audio and Productivity apps

Earlier today Windows 'Blue' (build 9364) was leaked to the internet with screenshots, followed shortly by the 2.6GB 32-bit ISO image becoming available on file sharing sites. It now appears that the update includes updated productivity applications, including a new Calculator, Sound Recorder, Alarm and 'Movie Moments' app (which is currently not functioning).

The Calculator app, which includes Simple, Scientific and Converter modes, is a largely straightforward application with all the functionality you'd expect from a desktop calculator app.

Similarly, the new Sound Recorder app offers simple functionality and a design in-keeping with the Metro interface.

At present, the new 'Movie Moments' application is not functioning, offering up just a file browser button and a Microsoft confidentiality statement.

Lastly the 'Alarm' app is just as simple as the previous ones, allowing users to program repeatable and single-use alarms, as well as creating custom timers.

The new build is clearly designed to blur the ever-shrinking gap between the desktop and mobile Windows environment, allowing Metro apps to run over multiple monitors and up to 4 apps to be snapped in view at any one point.

Irrespective of the multitude of productivity applications currently available in the Windows 8 store, professional users and those who own a Surface Pro are likely to take advantage of the new apps available in Windows Blue.

Hat tip to Winbeta.org!

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on a 7" or 8.9" device it's not stupid to have full screen mode calc.
Anyways you can always dock it to the side, and still, if you're not happy with that, Desktop Calc is not going anywhere.
Now can you dock apps to the side on peak stupid iPad ?

Seeing this, it looks like Windows 8 was just the beginning of a major transition. It's good to see more "app completeness" because I think it desperately needed it. It's now clear that Modern UI is the way forward and Microsoft will perhaps end up with ONLY this interface in the future, perhaps as soon as Windows 9, with desktop UI apps simply launched as windows on top of that one.

The Windows DESKTOP is not really a complex feature to replicate, so I think it'll go away. You'd still be able to run Windows "Classic" applications though, but by clicking/tapping on icons in Modern UI.

Anyway, with old, minor apps like Calculator and Sound Recorder being moved there, I think desktop mode will only be scaled back from now on, until Microsoft have no own apps for it and it truly only being there for backwards compatibility. Much like how Rosetta remained in OS X for five years until Apple finally removed it. Windows transitions take a longer time though due to the much larger user base, but twice as long time for a decade-long transition sounds about right to me.

I'm still not convinced I prefer this environment over Windows 7, but strangely enough I'd like it more if desktop mode didn't even exist. The OS would look so much more mature and confident that way.

Edited by Northgrove, Mar 25 2013, 9:48am :

I have never seen such a big bunch of whiny b*tches together as here on Neowin.
The only thing you can do is complain about stuff. Seems like you all should work for MS because you all know better.

The complainers realize this is a M1 release that wasn't even supposed to be shown to the public. give them some slack

Edited by Stoffel, Mar 25 2013, 3:42am :

I don't understand why we need a new OS to get these new apps. They should push them out as Windows Update.

What MSFT should do with Windows Blue is fix the broken stuff with Windows 8.
• Disappearing thumbnails
• taking a long time for system tray apps to launch (desktop)
• merging "app" and "settings" searches
• speeding up Windows Store and fixing that "you are not connected to the Internet" crap
• shrinking the OS even further
• speeding up metro apps launch times on slower CPU/eMMc tablets
• getting autocorrect capabilities up to the level of Windows Phone or just give the user the option to change it
• add a gesture based keyboard for tablets
• show a preview above when you try to select text like in iOS.
Etc...

Blue will in fact BE an update to Windows 8 - the decision has NOT been made as to whether it will be a paid update or a Service Pack for 8.

LakeRat said,
Does anyone know if Windows Media Center is in the leaked version of Windows 'Blue'?

Media Center is dead.
It's only in 8 because a small minority really complained about its removal.

deadonthefloor said,

Media Center is dead.
It's only in 8 because a small minority really complained about its removal.

Dead? And replaced by what? MediaCenter was and could still be an amazing piece of software. This is like WMP: neglected to bring people Music app....

The amount of screen space being wasted away by Metro apps continues to amaze me. But sure Microsoft, just stick with the full-screen methaphor. Nobody wants their 21-inch screen (or larger) to actually be put to good use, right?

The problem is not making Windows 8 work on a 21" monitor. For that there is Desktop Mode (and it worked great for the past 25 years). The problem is getting productive with Windows 8 working on a 10" or 7" tablet with touch interface.

This is a compromise. We must accept the Modern UI is basically for tablets. I don't mind that compromise but in return MS must fix all the core crApps and do something about Modern UI Searches general clumsiness and inefficiency.

.Neo said,
The amount of screen space being wasted away by Metro apps continues to amaze me. But sure Microsoft, just stick with the full-screen methaphor. Nobody wants their 21-inch screen (or larger) to actually be put to good use, right?

corven22 said,
The problem is not making Windows 8 work on a 21" monitor. For that there is Desktop Mode (and it worked great for the past 25 years).

So what is Metro doing in an OS being used on desktops then?

.Neo said,

So what is Metro doing in an OS being used on desktops then?

Maybe in the future I decide to upgrade my desktop monitor to support touch
Maybe I buy one of those nice All-In-Ones that support touch.

That Windows 8 has a split personality does not bother me at all as long as it is implemented well.

Apparently none of the Windows 8 detractors seem to grasp the idea of superset operating systems well - even though this is far from the first one from Microsoft.

Why is Windows 8 a superset OS (both touch AND non-touch support)? That's easy enough to understand - and it has to do with the track record of Microsoft operating systems; subset OSes (unless you are referring to embedded) don't sell well, if at all. How well was XP Tablet PC Edition received (it was a subset OS)? XP Media Center Edition (a superset OS), however, was well-received in the marketplace (MCE was a superset of XP Professional - all it lacked out of the box was domain support). Then there are tablet users that also use keyboards; that is something a LOT of tablet users do (far more than the detractors are willing to admit, apparently). It's not just Surface-driven, either; look at the number of Android tablets that have optional keyboards (or even include keyboards) - same applies to iPads. Let's face reality here; there are things that virtual keyboards just plain blow at. (And I'm not just saying this because I loathe ALL virtual keyboards regardless of OS.) If keyboard support was not in demand, why does every operating system that also supports touch supports keyboards? Windows 8 is a superset OS because the new competition (Android and iOS) are ALSO superset OSes - dropping keyboard support would, in fact, be a minus compared to either one.

I think everyone understands what Windows 8 is. That's part of the problem on the desktop. They are competing with independent OS optimized for their form factors, yet MS chose to shoehorn all of the GUI elements optimized for tablets and phones onto the desktop. That is what has introduced the problems. And it goes both ways, the Desktop Environment is arguably not good for Windows RT.

Microsoft has gambled that the fact that there is not meaningful desktop competition, they can get away with all the negatives introduced to many of its desktop base. They have bought into Tim Cook's assertion that we're in a post PC Era hook, line, and sinker. Only time will tell whether they got reality distortion field duped by Apple.

PGHammer said,
Apparently none of the Windows 8 detractors seem to grasp the idea of superset operating systems well - even though this is far from the first one from Microsoft.

Why is Windows 8 a superset OS (both touch AND non-touch support)? That's easy enough to understand - and it has to do with the track record of Microsoft operating systems; subset OSes (unless you are referring to embedded) don't sell well, if at all. How well was XP Tablet PC Edition received (it was a subset OS)? XP Media Center Edition (a superset OS), however, was well-received in the marketplace (MCE was a superset of XP Professional - all it lacked out of the box was domain support). Then there are tablet users that also use keyboards; that is something a LOT of tablet users do (far more than the detractors are willing to admit, apparently). It's not just Surface-driven, either; look at the number of Android tablets that have optional keyboards (or even include keyboards) - same applies to iPads. Let's face reality here; there are things that virtual keyboards just plain blow at. (And I'm not just saying this because I loathe ALL virtual keyboards regardless of OS.) If keyboard support was not in demand, why does every operating system that also supports touch supports keyboards? Windows 8 is a superset OS because the new competition (Android and iOS) are ALSO superset OSes - dropping keyboard support would, in fact, be a minus compared to either one.

Normally I would think: "Okay, this is a very early alpha build which is why those applications look like they do. Their appearance will be much improved before the final release."

But knowing Metro, I'm sure that's how they will look in the final release.

Polishability is not the problem as such. It's much deeper than that. It's a problem of usability and functional consistency. For example why can't I use Alt-F4 to bring up the shutdown interface in the start Menu. Why is shutting down the OS a mission impossible thing to do in the start screen, when the shutdown button is easily available in the Lock Screen ?

Granted some UI polishing will always help.

I've been pretty vocal with my criticism of Windows 8's many shortcomings and omissions, but I have to say, I'm really kind of shocked at how many experienced computer users shutdown, apparently often, and need to do so as quickly as possible.

corven22 said,
Polishability is not the problem as such. It's much deeper than that. It's a problem of usability and functional consistency. For example why can't I use Alt-F4 to bring up the shutdown interface in the start Menu. Why is shutting down the OS a mission impossible thing to do in the start screen, when the shutdown button is easily available in the Lock Screen ?

Granted some UI polishing will always help.

I need to shutdown my desktop since Hibernate and Sleep are not working well on Windows 8. All worked fine in Windows 7. Putting the computer to sleep/hibernate in Windows 8 will result in the computer waking up again after 30 seconds.

Also if you re-read my post I mentioned "Shutdown Menu", not shutdown. From the shutdown menu you can put the computer to sleep/hibernate too.

Most of the same computers and motherboards that have hibernation/shutdown issues in 8 also have hibernation/shutdown issues with 7 (typically due to either BIOS or chipset quirks); however, my desktop (Intel's G41 chipset - consumer-stable/corporate stable chipset of the late Vista/early 7 era) has fewer issues with 8 than with 7 (due to improved chipset drivers from Intel).

I hope Windows Phone Blue also brings a voice recording app with it (and the ability to record calls would be nice, too -- really need that as a journalist).

I think there are legal issues in some jurisdictions regarding recording calls. For example in the UK whenever you ring a call centre, they will often notify you in advance that "your call may be recorded for training or quality purposes". If so that would probably put them off including it as a basic smartphone feature.

Though you may well know more about this than I do.

Maybe not... It would be nice to see Microsoft return to it's old successful ways. Where leak = unofficial public alpha/beta

deadheadline said,
I tend to beleive that Microsoft leaks these builds . They want us to know that they work on our issues with Windows 8.

THIS

I am fairly certain this is a well planned 'leak'.

how is it any different than on an iPad or android tablet?
and if you're argument is you're not using a tablet then all I have to say as the desktop version is still there

trek said,
That full screen calculator looks ridiculous.

It's not ridiculous on a 10'' Tablet. Besides its as big as you want it to be. If you're on a larger screen then you have room to multitask. So you simply dock it on the 1/3 of the screen.

Brando212 said,
how is it any different than on an iPad or android tablet?
and if you're argument is you're not using a tablet then all I have to say as the desktop version is still there

Well I do use a PC Tablet and not an iPad or clones because I like the way Windows behaves ergo...... I would like windowed Metro apps.

Brando212 said,
how is it any different than on an iPad or android tablet?
and if you're argument is you're not using a tablet then all I have to say as the desktop version is still there

Exactly.

Metro = tablets and other touch devices.

Desktop = desktop PC's and keyboard/mouse.

Y U PEOPLE NO UNDERSTAND OBVIOUS STUFF?

Fritzly said,

Well I do use a PC Tablet and not an iPad or clones because I like the way Windows behaves ergo...... I would like windowed Metro apps.

Then use the frigging desktop!

Metro is perfect for touch, and if MS made it act exactly like the desktop... Then whats the point in having the desktop?! Most people, like atleast 98% of tablet users, would NOT like to use the desktop on a touch device. It's a nasty experience. Full screen Metro apps are perfect for touch input.

Agreed - it looks ridiculous in full screen, but It's not-even-close-to-being-pre-release software. Besides, the app is probably meant to be snapped 1/3 with the rest of your screen estate taking up whatever productivity app you fancy.

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,

Then use the frigging desktop!

Metro is perfect for touch, and if MS made it act exactly like the desktop... Then whats the point in having the desktop?! Most people, like atleast 98% of tablet users, would NOT like to use the desktop on a touch device. It's a nasty experience. Full screen Metro apps are perfect for touch input.

Personally I see potential in the Modern GUI and I would not mind to use them on large screen, if windowed. When using my Tablet, a Tablet PC, I use the pen to interact with it as I did for the last ten years...
But yes I am not a narrow minded mind kind of person therefore I am flexible.

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,

Then use the frigging desktop!

Metro is perfect for touch

Then leave Metro on touch devices!

Never understood why Windows RT shipped without a calculator app. Having to open desktop on my Surface RT is so jarring for such a simple thing. Glad they addressed that.

Just type CALC from the metro screen. No need to open desktop


scumdogmillionaire said,
Never understood why Windows RT shipped without a calculator app. Having to open desktop on my Surface RT is so jarring for such a simple thing. Glad they addressed that.

scumdogmillionaire said,
Never understood why Windows RT shipped without a calculator app. Having to open desktop on my Surface RT is so jarring for such a simple thing. Glad they addressed that.

Install the "Calc" app from store. 1000x better than most calculators.

Until they allow native support for a windowed metro app everything they do is a waste. I love Windows 8 don't get me wrong but I stopped using "Modern" apps. I just can't stand full screen all the time. I installed the Stardock App and realized that this is something that should be native to Windows.

Theres this thing called the Desktop, so if you want windowed boxes use that. Metro is designed for touch input, not as a desktop replacement. This isn't a hard concept to grasp, yet so many people fail. Windowed software/apps do not work well when using clumsy and chunky fingers, it's why very few touch based UI's ever use windows.

If MS make Metro emulate the Desktop, then whats the point of making a new touch UI in the first place??! If it was the same as the desktop it will just fail like all other tablet attempts they have made.

Metro is perfect for touch input, the desktop is perfect for mouse/keyboard. If MS compromise then neither UI will be good at anything.

Edited by W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E, Mar 24 2013, 7:54pm :

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,
Metro is designed for touch input, not as a desktop replacement.

Well then why did they replace my Start menu with it? If they want to make a different interface for touch devices, that's fine. I think it's ugly as hell, but whatever, I'll stick with Android.

My desktop computer, however, is not a touch device and I don't want it to be one either.

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,
Metro is designed for touch input, not as a desktop replacement

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,
Metro is perfect for touch input, the desktop is perfect for mouse/keyboard. If MS compromise then neither UI will be good at anything.

If?

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,
Theres this thing called the Desktop, so if you want windowed boxes use that. Metro is designed for touch input, not as a desktop replacement. This isn't a hard concept to grasp, yet so many people fail.

My PC is not a tablet. My PC is not a phone. This isn't a hard concept to grasp, yet so many apologists fail.

Chugworth said,

Well then why did they replace my Start menu with it? If they want to make a different interface for touch devices, that's fine. I think it's ugly as hell, but whatever, I'll stick with Android.

My desktop computer, however, is not a touch device and I don't want it to be one either.

Because the new start screen works fine with a mouse and keyboard. Nobody's forcing you to use metro apps. Start typing to search for desktop programs (or pin them to the start screen) or click on the desktop to go to the desktop. Nothing different than the old one except it's full screen.

Your completely missing the point. I want to use Modern apps I just want the option to use them in a window. Is it so bad I want the option you feel the need to get overly defensive and attack my opinion?

I agree, using a modern app on a tablet is great but when your screen is 13" + then it starts getting in the way, and the bigger the screen the more that real estate is being wasted. a solution should be simple, metrofy the aero snap feature of the desktop (which is already in part implemented as snap to sides) so the pull down action also makes the window smaller and make a windows border that blends into the app just at the top for close/min/max functions
this is Microsoft were talking about the behemoth of software

MVD said,

My PC is not a tablet. My PC is not a phone. This isn't a hard concept to grasp, yet so many apologists fail.

That's why you still have a desktop on your pc, not a hard concept to grasp.

mghaz said,
I agree, using a modern app on a tablet is great but when your screen is 13" + then it starts getting in the way, and the bigger the screen the more that real estate is being wasted. a solution should be simple, metrofy the aero snap feature of the desktop (which is already in part implemented as snap to sides) so the pull down action also makes the window smaller and make a windows border that blends into the app just at the top for close/min/max functions
this is Microsoft were talking about the behemoth of software

As far as I can tell, it hasn't been an issue on my 60" screen. But, I'll keep an eye out.