With Windows 10 of course the Store has been updated. It has come a long way from its beginning on Windows 8. In fact it has added sections for Music and Movies/TV which will be discussed more fully in a separate article. The Store basically has to answer the same question as Windows 10 itself. Is it an improvement over the one with Windows 8 (or 8.1) and will it draw more people to use the apps?
Of course many people coming to Windows 10 will never have encountered the Windows Store before since so few upgraded to Windows 8. Rather than go over the past, this review will focus on what works or doesn’t work for me in how this app is set-up.
The first view you get is one with a large advertising banner (essentially what it is) displaying several of the newest apps in the store. I say newest but I have no idea what criteria are involved to get displayed there but definitely seems higher profile games/apps, 5 in total.
I would think it would automatically slide after a bit of time, but nope just sits on whichever one it opens with (When I was reviewing it, the banner wouldn’t move, must have been a glitch as it switches after about 5 seconds). It certainly could draw your attention to an app you might never discover otherwise.
Below the big images are links for App and Game categories, but I wish I could select a category right from this screen. It would be nice to either have the small link be a drop down instead and/or have a drop down where it says Apps /Games at the upper left. It would save a click and make things easier to navigate. The page just feels disjointed.
Depending on your screen size and resolution you can 10-12 apps that are Picks for you and then scroll down for other listings, including Music and Movies/TV. I just find the Home page completely useless. I always go right to the categories because there is nothing I want to see here. It is focused primarily on Apps, but in fact if you scroll down, you will get some Music and Movies/TV. It is clear that the Store is App/Games centric, which is fine if that is what it wants to be, but when Music and/or Movies/TV show up it just doesn’t fit (as the same could be said for Google Play). We’ll put that aside for now and focus on the App experience.
Once you get past the poor home page you can browse apps (or games) more easily. This page works pretty well as you can choose specific subjects or charts and combine them together. The app information provided (rating, price and whether installed or not) is helpful so you can more easily find the app/game you want. Although I think many people will just use Search since they have an idea what they want. This works well though I am unsure why it is such a small box in the upper right. Search should be much bigger and in the center somewhere.
I’m rather disappointed as well with the app view. What is all that wasted space at the top right? I realize I’m using it on a desktop but the rest of the content uses the whole screen, why not there as well? Why do the screenshots sometimes show up above the Ratings, but other times below? If the app publisher can choose, then that is their choice but I dislike it. I want to see what the app looks like, and if I don’t see screenshots why should I have to scroll to go find them? Even something so normal as an “x” to close the screenshots when viewing them larger is missing.
Now I realize I’ve beat the app up a bit, but there are some things I like. I like how the downloads work where you can also seem them in the individual app as well as the all downloads section. The reviews can be helpful and the related apps is a good addition. It is easy to manage your account and see apps you already own and download them on a new device if needed.
One piece that is missing from this updated Store is whether an app has a corresponding Windows Phone version. I suppose this has been left off for the time being until Windows 10 Mobile is released but would have it have been that difficult to at least have an indicator of which apps are Universal. Well either way I hope it shows up when Windows 10 Mobile is ready because that was a nice feature with the previous Store.
An odd thing with my store is I have an app that won’t download to update it. It says “Well, this is embarrassing” . I can click to see details and it says it can’t find the app! Well why was it bothering to update it, I didn’t tell it to update. At least I can click the X to make it go away.
The app Store is a huge improvement over the one in Windows 8 (8.1) which itself had improved from early versions. I feel it still has a way to go. The “ads” on the front page are too big, the search box is too out-of-the-way and the app pages don’t feel like they have a sense of order. I like that I can see ratings, screenshots, related apps, but of course there is one thing that no matter how great the store is, Microsoft cannot fix on its own. That is quality apps. Those seem to be coming, but based on this store, finding those apps could be very difficult.