A couple of days ago Microsoft let loose a major update of their “built in” apps for the Modern UI, formerly called Metro (which I think was a much better name by the way). It has to be assumed that this is the final push before the release of Windows 8 at the end of October.
The result is inadequate to say the least. These updates are certainly not very impressive. Actually they are downright disappointing since there are no or little real improvements to the productivity apps.
Here are a few examples:
- We got conversation view (which should have been there a long time ago) in the mail app but we still do not have a combined inbox. If you have multiple accounts, like a lot of people do, you have to click or tap between them to read your email. That’s just as joke.
- The photo app received crop functionality but you cannot resize an image which is the operation I and many others use the most and there’s no other editing functionality or a way to open the photos in so the photo app is still essentially useless for actually working with your photo collection.
- The calendar still opens up in monthly view every time. Even if you switch to weekly, which is what most people I know are using in their daily work, the next time you start the app it’s back to monthly view.
There are some useful improvements of course. For instance the SkyDrive app can now copy and move files and folders but, seriously Microsoft, that kind of functionality should have been there when it was first released for public review.
You could argue that, if the built in apps are not what people want then 3rd party developers will quickly fill the void but that’s just no good. That’s the situation with the Android crapware and it’s a mess. Also, a lot of people do not want to, or are not skilled enough, to hunt around for apps. The basic apps should just be good enough for most people. Anything else is a big fail.
I get a feeling that Microsoft are getting more and more out of touch with their core customers, that is, people using their computers for actual work. The Modern UI apps are clearly geared for people using their tablets as toys and media consumption devices only. The productivity apps (mail, calendar etc…) seem to be developed by people that were never let out of the Microsoft labs and into the real world.
I will (probably) still get a Windows 8 tablet when they come out since what I see in Windows 8 is still better than Android and I will be able to use a lot of my existing applications on it. It’s a shame that Microsoft is screwing themselves by first lobotomizing the Desktop and then supplying these substandard apps for the Modern UI interface though.