The Windows 8 Consumer Preview might be worth another look thanks to a new round of Metro-style apps available now.
The new Windows 8 apps include a Facebook and Twitter client called FlipToast, the hover boat racing game Hydro Thunder Hurricane and road traffic reports from Inrix. There’s also a neat app called Big Picture, which displays beautiful, full-screen news photos alongside short captions.
FlipToast is particularly useful for checking out the potential of Windows 8. Once you’ve authorized FlipToast to work with your Facebook and Twitter accounts, you can go into other apps and share links or photos with your followers without going back to the FlipToast app. Just move your mouse to either corner on the right side of the screen, click “Share” in the pop-up menu and select the FlipToast icon to send out a status update.
Windows 8 uses a system called “contracts” that allows any two apps to communicate, even if they’ve never heard of one another. So although FlipToast is a new app, it can already share links or videos from older apps such as USA Today and Vimeo. I’m not crazy about FlipToast in particular, mostly because it adds the phrase “via @FlipToast” to every tweet you send out, but for now it’s a good way to show off Windows 8′s sharing capabilities.
Inrix, an app that shows local traffic conditions, also makes a strong case for Metro-style apps on desktop computers. Although you can get the same information from websites such as Google Maps, Inrix is smooth and simple. It does one thing, and does it well, which is exactly the reason why you’d want a fast-loading desktop app to click on. (Like FlipToast, Inrix could be better. I’d love to see local accident alerts show up on the Windows 8 Start menu.)
Although these apps can be useful on a desktop PC, they’re even more enjoyable on a tablet. Since you probably don’t have a Windows tablet to spare, here’s how to run Windows 8 on an iPad right now.