Windows 8: Photos, Mail, People, Calendar, and Messaging Metro app demos [video]

By Tom Warren, on 16th Sep 11 5:52 pm with 63 Comments

Microsoft is currently building a number of Metro inspired applications for Windows 8.

The software giant is working on several Windows Live Metro apps for Windows 8 that will be made available alongside the new operating system. The applications are not currently available in the Windows 8 Developer Preview build but Microsoft is expected to ship them in beta form once the first Windows 8 beta is available.

The applications are very similar to their Windows Phone counterparts. Microsoft has included a Messaging app which allows users to consolidate messages into a single thread. Windows 8 users will be able to talk to Facebook, Windows Live Messenger and even SMS friends from the Messaging Metro style app. Microsoft’s Photo app includes Facebook, SkyDrive and Flickr pictures from accounts associated with the users Windows Live ID. The Mail app supports all types of email accounts and even includes support for Exchange based mailboxes.

Microsoft’s People app in Windows 8 is a cloud powered address book that combines contacts from work email accounts, personal email accounts and even social networks like Facebook. The applications appear to include basic functionality at the moment but they’re clearly early work from the Windows and Windows Live divisions. Check out the video below for a taste of what Microsoft is planning for its Metro Windows 8 apps.

  • Josh Martin

    Pardon my ignorance, but has anyone hinted/announced when the beta will be available? (On developer build now, but inquiring about “beta”)

    • Anonymous

      most likely CES 2012 but no official time frame. I’m running Win8 Dev Preview on an HP Envy 14 (which is not my primary pc). Works pretty well. Very few hangs and glitches for a preview. Not Beta quality for sure though. More or less I am using it as a Web browsing machine cause that is all that there really is to do in Win8 right now (if you’re not developing). Hopefully they will push some apps like WinLive through the WinStore so we can test both mechanisms. Would love for Xbox Live to be pushed through as well b/c right now there is no Metro Media player… which is just crazy.

    • Chris Woelfel

      No. We will likely not get the beta until either the end of this year or at CES.

    • Adam Haider

      Paul Thurrott mentioned that the build cycle is around every 3 or 4 months, similar to Windows 7 which seems to make sense.

      Beta: January
      RC: May
      RTM: September

      So the final release will be ready for the ‘back to school’ period, when students are all looking to buy computers.

    • Anonymous

      MS stated they will treat windows 8 as an active build and release interim fixes, so i hope the full beta period won’t be as necessary.  It would be nice to see updates/tweaks on a regular basis sort of like how they did the last xbox dashboard.  It was great reporting a bug and seeing it fixed in a day or two vs waiting until RTW build

  • doctorwhofan98

    It’s a big shame they’re not in the Developer Preview. That’s the only reason I’m not getting Windows 8 until the beta.

  • Anonymous

    People App is a great idea.  I wonder if this will reduce Facebook to a service, and if so, then how Facebook will remain profitable when hits on their web site reduce and take a toll on their advertisement dollars.

  • Ronit Kumar
  • Anonymous

    Could someone please leak early builds of those apps. Thx.

  • adam

    it should be more like the people hub in wp7

  • Tom Servo

    I guess with the Live team doing these, we’ll get ads right out of the box in Windows 8?

    • Anonymous

      Maybe I am not very perceptive, but I don’t seem to remember any adds in my Live Photos, Movie Maker, and Mesh apps.  I don’t use Messenger so I don’t know if it has adds.  Don’t have my personal laptop with me, so I can’t verify that.  In any case, I think your just reaching for an excuse to bash what look like good apps.

    • NotRelevent

      WLM (the messenger) has ads (note the single “d”). Rather large ads actually.

    • Anonymous

      It is just a WP7 on a big slate with extra desktop app. I am realizing it now and the more I realize the more I am hating win8. For all those thing a WP7 is just enough and far handy becaz you can keep in your pocket. For other heavy duty job a traditional OS was working great. I don’t get the point from MS.

    • Candid Calum

      I doubt it. We can’t expect or assume anything, so it’s best to wait and see.

  • Tony

    Tom, is the SMS feature only available for devices with a 3G/LTE connection or is this some sort of linked connection between Windows 8 and possibly Windows Phone 7.5?  I really like the idea of having SMS on a PC/Tablet, but it’ll be a bummer if that feature is only going to be allowed on 3G/LTE devices.

    • Anonymous

      I was wondering the same thing myself.

    • Anonymous

      Unless someone has started such a service online, you can safely assume that it will be linked to 3g access. So if you have a Windows Live ID linked to your phone the functionality for SMS will then work across any Windows Live enabled device, even if it is only connected by WiFi.

    • anon

      You can SMS online. There are many sites that offer such a feature for free

    • Pham

      I used WIndows Live and it allows you to send text to people and they can reply. It is alright but you must have the program running and since this is Windows 8, most programs have push notification so you might be in luck.

    • Pham

      Also, it isn’t currently possible to have it use your current phone # so you won’t get notification on your phone. Beauty of Windows Live works best on Windows Phone Mango which lets you see if someone is on Live or Facebook.

  • StriderNo9

    It looks awesome. I am so excited they brought the Metro email client over from Wp7. 

    • Tom

      Very powerful indeed.  It means Exchange connectivity for all Windows machines.

    • Anonymous

      From what I’m seeming Microsoft finally seems to going with a single design language (Metro) that started with widows phone and unifying all of the products across the board. Which is great, so if you learned how to use one product ie: Windows Phone, the learning curve for Windows 8 or any other product should be greatly reduced. 

    • Ruchir R

      No… UB204, I disagree, not everyone in this world is going to use WP7. So, single design language or platform is irrelevant for those who don’t own WP7 and just use Win7 and looking for upgrade to Win8 in future. I, for one, am an Android addict as most of my things are linked to Google services. That said, I am still very much a windows user. I guess majority of users who are Windows loyalists, would feel this new interface pretty confusing and… just like what happened MS transitioned from Windows 2000 to Windows XP and then Vista. I guess this is another such drastic change in user interface. MS has to keep its institutional clients happy too, who would not find it an appealing interface to switch over to when there are thousands of machines are in question. Most companies still don’t like such easy and open access to social networking sites and tend to block them for various reasons. Integrating such features within OS itself will drive such big companies away, for sure. I have worked for IT division of Shell Petroleum, and believe it or not, 70% of their machines in its worldwide offices still run windows 2000!!!

  • OCDan

    i was really excited to get my hands on Win8 and see where it is going. But from what I have see so far just doesn’t really do much for me. Feels more like my WP7 than a functional computer where things are integrated well and easy to navigate.  Big letdown… hoping the Beta version is better. 

  • oolong2

    Is it too late to get rid of the word “Charms”….  Man do I hate hearing that.

    Charm Bracelet? Lucky Charms?  It’s like I’m in a cartoon for little girls.

    I guess I’ll get used to it eventually….

    • Justfortherecord

      How about sprite’s or jump nodes?

    • Test1ngi23

      Yes, it is a not-so-manly word. It’s because Microsoft is getting in touch with their “Metro” side.

    • Anonymous

      Lucky Charms!!! Pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, green clovers, blue diamonds, purple horseshoes… Damnit. I forgot the rest. Something about rainbows…

    • Not ice_fusion.

      I’m hungry.

    • Sami Termanini

      Pot of gold?

  • Anonymous


    Thanks for the video. I am running Win 8 on my ep121 as the one and only OS and so far very happy with it. Did calendar, pictures and email up come with the dev built of the OS? If so, how do I find them?

    Thank you.

    • Anonymous

      No they don’t; the DP is really just a… developer preview, missing a lot of features, sometimes buggy and aesthetically unfinished.
      It’s still a pleasure to use, though, and I’m pretty happy with it as well on an older wintablet.

  • Anonymous

    “… fall back; it will go straight to SMS.” How exactly will it do that? Only with a SIM card or do they have cloud magic happening?

    Please tell me it’s cloud magic…

  • Spartansoulja

    Tom, if you have any contacts at Microsoft, please tell them to make it possible to scroll the Win8 startscreen using a mouse not only by using the scrollbar (or mousewheel) but by simply moving the cursor towards the left or right edges as well. For example,drag the zune sofware with the ”quickplay” tab to make it take up half the screen, and the pinned/history album art which is very similar to the live tiles move without having to scroll. It makes the UX so much better :) Thanks

    • Wyspa65

      But you can use the mouse wheel to scroll across the Start screen. I do it all the time on my usb mouse connected to my laptop.

    • Candid Calum

      Some of us don’t have a mouse wheel. I always use my notebook’s trackpad, rather than an external mouse.

    • Anonymous

      Not all of the people use the mouse wheel to scroll at all.

    • Robert Wade

      I was thinking that, too.  Even if it was by using the right-click or scroll-click to activate it.  I can’t tell you how many times I started to drag the screen with the mouse.  Has anyone tried to see if one of those multi-touch track pads work?

  • Spartansoulja

    Microsoft’s plan is simple: build current apps with open standards so they remain relevant for a long time, and at some point in the future when ARM processors become powerful enough, release a x86 emulator with Windows 10 (?) for ARM so a unified platform is created which runs millions of apps with no compromise. The entire experience will be metro by then and aero will disappear for good.

    • Spartansoulja

      *They are trying to keep .NET and silverlight developers happy will then by letting them write for traditional desktop till the hardware catches up to the software. When an efficient x86 emulator is in place, all of Microsofts hard work with development platforms will pay back :)

  • Larry

    So call me crazy but after watching stuff here and there about Windows 8 I see the potential for a tablet but what about a desktop. 

    I have dual 24 inch monitors at home and work and I have them for a reason.  I want lots of windows open some on each screen, not one big screen at a time.

    Hopefully there is a way around this, or I will feel like I am trapped in a 24inch tablet.

    • Mitch Foster

      Clearly you havn’t been watching enough videos!

    • Guest

      Yeah, it’s called desktop mode.

    • Anonymous

      They showed the a desktop with 2 monitors at in the keynote on Tuesday. Windows8 has mulimonitor taskbar and you can drag the apps to any monitor. They keynote video is like 3 hours but has a lot of good stuff in it. 

    • Anonymous

      Agree with you, it looks perfect for the tablet not for traditional desktop PC. Also give it a thought, the live tiles on the metro UI, without the internet connection, imagine those tiles. So, it seems to be another form of smartphone to me where after somepoint we may need a mandatory monthly subscription if we are to have those live tile working. Right now, a traditional PC is still great without the internet connection since we could do a lot of work (creative and professional). Since the beauty of metro UI is the live tiles as with the WP7, lack of wifi or internet connection means an useless dead tiles on the homescreen of UI. So, they really need to work on this.

    • Ruchir R

      Larry, from metro app screen, you can or click on desktop or windows explorer tile, to come back to your regular classic desktop screen and open windows to your heart’s contents.. I am using Win8 DP currently and writing this message from Win8 itself… it very well supports both format.. a tablet / touch phone format and a classic desktop format… it does support dual screens too…..

  • Anonymous

    wow… i cant wait for beta! it looks really really good. sometimes i want to use IE10 metro and sometimes normal. it feels nice, of course i need to get used, but these new metro apps, are something nice to use anyway. so i bet these calendar, contacts, Messenger thing will be amazing!

    Thank God there is no antitrust crap anymore! i cant imagine a Windows 8 versión so amazing with that crap on Microsoft shoulders. but now nothing cant stop Microsoft from releasing a really cool OS for DESKTOP and tablets and maybe phones? i dont know. but tablets and desktops are really nice. using it as my main os xD i can say, i love it! and i cant wait to try a more polished and featured metro UI. and classic UI of course.

    I love the way i have to use Win key now. now its so useful and necessary and confortable. that i will love to chat and use this Messenger App :D 

  • Alok Kumbhare

    what the hell was that.. flip over to calender app check availability flip back the mail app and confirm.. why are they integrated!!!!!!!!!!!! who does that.. how does the meeting scenario work??
    I really liked the win 8 thing initially and i have been following it all through.. but the more they show it the more disconnected it seems.. :(

  • Alok Kumbhare

    what the hell was that.. flip over to calender app check availability flip back the mail app and confirm.. why are they integrated!!!!!!!!!!!! who does that.. how does the meeting scenario work??
    I really liked the win 8 thing initially and i have been following it all through.. but the more they show it the more disconnected it seems.. :(

  • Owais_503

    how do close an app on the metro ui  ?

    • Arkistriph

      You don’t, they will go dormant if not used and then close shorty after that. Much like WP7. Or so I’m told.

    • Arkistriph

      Just watched the Build Video Apps can be closed via Program Manager

    • Arkistriph

      You don’t, they will go dormant if not used and then close shorty after that. Much like WP7. Or so I’m told.

  • System Recovery virus removal

    Nice video and app.

  • Jinge

    The SMS thing looks nice, but I am pretty sure to get a “this functionnality is not supported in your region”… Hope not!

  • Anonymous

    I am an issue there. Everthing is compromised like in smartphone. All social things connected to the laptop, even without as email address seems like you cannot open a laptop. If you are using sharing a laptop or tablet at home, then other people can view, tweak your information easily since everything is working like an open app. Now I am looking the option for those people who don’t like being on social network, don’t like tweeting and don’t want their photos, email or anything related with them through their email address to be compromised. Sooner and later virus will arrive. The cloud is never 100% secure even though you spend 100bn dollars. We have seen many examples. In that case, can a user use his laptop, desktop or tablet without having to handover all the information to the machine. This UI looks like the WP7 on large slate with extra desktop OS app.

    • Post

      Don’t use your email address as your login and you’ll be fine.

    • Anonymous

      thanks, that is a relief.

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  • JGutierrezOxnard

    The only thing new I see about windows 8 is the ability to send your text to anywhere they are available. There is probably already an app online to do that. The others are Google calender and Picassa built in. Big deal! I already can do this and soon enough there will be a skin or app to make it look like windows 8.