[Windows 10 Tip #5] - The Windows Store
Apple has the App Store, Google has Google Play, and there's Amazon Appstore. All of the big dogs in the online world want you to download your software, games, books, music, and movies from their own 'ecosystem.' Microsoft was slow to adopt the 'store' concept, but the Microsoft Store seems to have reached critical mass. Here's what you need to know...
What is the Windows Store?
This week we’re going to look at the Windows Store. Like the others, it's a place where you can download not only software, but also many other forms of media. Windows Store started in 2012 with the advent of Windows 8, but didn't gain much traction until Windows 10 started to get a foothold.
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The Store is rapidly filling with Universal Windows apps that can run on any Windows 10 device: desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, or even Xbox. Microsoft thoughtfully put the Windows Store icon on the Taskbar of Windows 10. It looks like a shopping bag, complete with handles, and has the four-pane Windows logo on it.
When you first open the Windows Store, you’ll notice that it includes apps, games, movies & TV programs, e-books, and music. Click on Apps, then “Top apps” on the next page, and bingo - Top Free Apps! That’s what most of us will be checking out first.
But look up at the top of the page, where you’ll see boxes with pulldown arrows, as shown below. In the first box, the pulldown menu gives you filters such as “Top free,” “Top paid,” “Best-rated,” and more. The second box lets you look at Apps or Games. The third box provides topical categories, e. g., Business, Entertainment, Food & Dining. The Games categories include Action & Adventure, Avatar, Card & Board games, etc.
In the upper right corner of each screen is a search box, in case you’re looking for a specific title. You’ll find many old favorite apps have been ported to the Universal Windows platform, but they may not be what you’re used to. VLC Media Player, for instance, will not play DVDs in its Windows Store form. Perhaps that’s why Windows Media Player is a top-selling app, even at $14.99. But don’t buy it; the free standard VLC Media Player runs fine under Windows 10.
Books, Games, Music and Movies
In the Books section, I got pretty excited over the title, “Free Books,” a collection of 23,469 classic books that are in the public domain. It even includes a handy e-reader. But after downloading and installing Free Books, I learned that only 124 book titles can be downloaded via the app, and it’s sprinkled with ads. A mere $3.99 one-time payment unlocks all of the e-books and makes ads go away. As a paid customer, you also get 4,727 audiobooks and a listening app.
I’m not much of a gamer, but it seems lots of people are. The free games in the Windows Store include titles such as Disney Magic Kingdoms, Call of Duty: Heroes, Township, a city-building game with a bit of farming thrown in, and Microsoft Jackpot, a video poker game. I wondered why there are so many free games. (And so many people with the free time to play them.)
Then I read the fine print: “in-app purchases.” Sure, you can play the game for free. But if you ever hope to win, you’ll need to buy a superpower, or a bigger gun, or fertilizer, or an Ace of Spades. This is how middle-schoolers rack up thousands of dollars on their parents’ credit cards. Beware of free games.
There is no free music in the Windows Store, but there are a lot of 99-cent tracks. The most expensive albums I saw cost $14.99. I was interested in many “oldies” tracks, like the original “Sloop John B” by The Kingston Trio.
The Movies section includes recent blockbusters like “Kong: Skull Island” and classics like “Planet of the Apes.” I even found my all-time favorite comedy, “Arthur” starring Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli. Some movies can be rented, while others can only be purchased. Purchase prices range from $4.99 to $19.99. TV shows include Season 8 of The Andy Griffith Show; 30 episodes for $19.99. Season 6 of The Sopranos (21 episodes, 2006) will set you back $49.95.
App stores like the ones offered by Apple, Google and Microsoft have pros and cons. There's no question they exist to keep users in the fold, where they can be more easily monetized over and over. But they also offer the benefit of being curated, which (usually) keeps out things that are offensive or dangerous. Keep in mind that on Windows 10, you are not required to get all your goodies from the Windows Store. You can still download thousands of great programs (many for free) from the Web.
Browsing and searching the Windows Store is an adventure. How many of your favorite things can you find in it? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 6 Jul 2017
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- [Windows 10 Tip #5] - The Windows Store (Posted: 6 Jul 2017)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved