Windows Store woes? For the Surface Pro and Surface RT, there are other alternatives (opinion)Written by Derek Crockett on February 24, 2013 - 12:59PM
One of the things critics like to point out when it comes to not purchasing the Surface RT and Surface Windows 8 Pro, is the lack of apps in the Windows store. While it is true that there aren't as many apps available for Windows8/RT products as there are for iOS and Android products, it may be that the design and functionality of the Surface tablets, especially the Surface Windows 8 Pro, render the need to have an app unnecessary.
Take Pandora as an example. Using either Surface tablet, open up Internet Explorer 10, navigate to the Pandora site, register or sign-in to your Pandora account, and choose the “Pin to start” option at the bottom of the screen. A small tile that you can use later for quick access to the Pandora site, will be placed on the start screen, giving you full access to the Pandora service; no app needed.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that this method is unique to Surface tablets. One can use it on Android tablets and the iPad as well. But what I am saying is products that have both an app and a website component that do not offer an app in the Windows store, are not necessarily inaccessible to Surface owners. Some sites, such as Facebook, change their services so often that their official app lags behind what they offer on the web. This makes the “Pin to start” method even more viable, because users will be accessing the most current version of the product.
Of course, not all apps have a web component. For Surface RT owners, apps that don’t have a web component and require an app download, are not going to be accessible. But no matter which device you own, there are going be apps that will be available on some devices, but not available on others. Developers want to give their apps as much exposure as they can, and understandably, many only develop for the most popular platforms.
Surface Windows 8 Pro owners however, have the option of downloading apps that don’t have a web component, by downloading web apps. One site that offers this option is allmyapps.com. The site, which bills itself as the “First App Store for PC”, has been around since 2009, and has a catalogue of 16,000 free to download apps and games for PCs. Many of which cannot be found in the official Windows store.
It’s true, the Windows Store has far to go to catch up to Apple’s App Store, and Android’s Google Play. But, if Microsoft places quality over quantity of the apps it adds, it won’t be long before the Windows Store equals its rivals. But until then, if you own a Surface tablet, check out some of the other options.