There's been some confusion about the apps that are included with the Windows  8 Consumer Preview. Many of these apps resemble Metro-style versions of apps that Microsoft currently includes in Windows Live Essentials, and that's not a coincidence, as they too "complete" the Windows 8 experience. But they're included only to provide testers with this more complete experience. They're not part of Windows. Rather, most of these apps will ship with Windows 8 on most new PCs, and will be available separately, and for free, from the Windows Store.

 

So what's an App Preview? According to Microsoft, its own internal apps developers began work on these apps at about the same time that external developers received the Developer Preview code at BUILD. And with the underlying Windows 8 platform only complete for about two months, these apps are not as far along as is the OS. So they're branded as App Previews to differentiate them from the underlying system, which is more robust and mature.

 

To be clear, not all of the apps included with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview are App Previews. For example, the two included games, Pinball FX2 and Solitaire, are not. I think the naming here is telling, though, and not just for the fact that each app is incomplete.

In any event, here's a quick rundown of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview App Previews.

 

Bing Finance

App type: Utility

Purpose: Discover financial news, information, and rates

Windows Live Essentials equivalent: None

Windows Phone equivalent: None

Services integration: MSN Money

finance

 

Bing Maps

App type: Location

Purpose: Location, traffic, and mapping

Windows Live Essentials equivalent: None

Windows Phone equivalent: Bing Maps

Services integration: Bing Maps

maps

 

Bing Weather

App type: Utility

Purpose: Weather forecasts, maps, and other information

Windows Live Essentials equivalent: None

Windows Phone equivalent: None

Services integration: AccuWeather

weather

 

Calendar

App type: Utility

Purpose: View and modify your schedule

Windows Live Essentials equivalent: Windows Live Mail (Calendar module)

Windows Phone equivalent: Calendar

Services integration: Hotmail Calendar, Google Calendar, Exchange, Office 365

calendar

 

Camera

App type: Utility

Purpose: Take still photos and video with the PC's webcam(s)

Windows Live Essentials equivalent: None

Windows Phone equivalent: Camera

Services integration: n/a

camera

 

Mail

App type: Email

Purpose: Email management

Windows Live Essentials equivalent: Windows LiveMail

Windows Phone equivalent: Mail

Services integration: Hotmail, Gmail, Exchange, Office 365

mail

Messaging

App type: Instant messaging

Purpose: Instant messaging solution

Windows Live Essentials equivalent: Windows Live Messenger

Windows Phone equivalent: Messaging

Services integration: Windows Live Messenger, Facebook Messaging

messaging

 

Music

App type: Digital media

Purpose: Music management and playback

Windows Live Essentials equivalent: None

Windows Phone equivalent: Music + Videos, Music Marketplace

Services integration: Microsoft Music Marketplace

music

 

People

App type: Contacts

Purpose: Contacts management

Windows Live Essentials equivalent: Windows Live Mail (Contacts module)

Windows Phone equivalent: People hub

Services integration: Hotmail Contacts, Gmail Contacts, Exchange, Office 365, Twitter, LinkedIn

people

 

Photos

App type: Photo

Purpose: Photo management(but not editing)

Windows Live Essentials equivalent: Windows Live Photo Gallery

Windows Phone equivalent: Pictures hub

Services integration: SkyDrive, Facebook, Flickr

photos

 

SkyDrive

App type: Cloud storage

Purpose: Access files stored in Microsoft SkyDrive

Windows Live Essentials equivalent: None

Windows Phone equivalent: SkyDrive (app), SkyDrive integration in Office hub

Services integration: SkyDrive

skydrive

 

Videos

App type: Digital media

Purpose: Video management and playback

Windows Live Essentials equivalent: None

Windows Phone equivalent: Music + Videos, Video Marketplace

Services integration: Microsoft Video Marketplace

video

 

Xbox Companion

App type: Xbox integration

Purpose: Connect the Windows device to your Xbox console for purposes of content sharing

Windows Live Essentials equivalent: None

Windows Phone equivalent: Xbox Companion (app)

Services integration: Xbox LIVE, DLNA, PlayTo

companion

 

Xbox LIVE Games

App type: Video games

Purpose: Discover Xbox LIVE games for Windows and the Xbox 360, view and configure Xbox profile information

Windows Live Essentials equivalent: None

Windows Phone equivalent: Games hub

Services integration: Xbox LIVE, Xbox LIVE Marketplace

xbox_live_games