App: Audible
Category: Books & Reference/E-Reader
Publisher: Audible, Inc.
Supported platforms: Windows 8 (x86), Windows 8 (x64), Windows RT (ARM)
Price: FREE

While Windows Phone users had to wait in agony for two years for Audible to deliver its beloved audiobook solution on their favorite smart phone platform, Windows 8/RT users are much luckier: Audible is already here.

Audible ranks alongside Amazon Kindle, Netflix, and podcast and Twitter solutions as one of the gotta-have-it Metro-style apps for many readers. If you listen to Windows Weekly or This Week in Tech, you know I’m an Audible member, and a fan. And while I’m not interested in switching careers, if I did commute, I’d listen in even more.

The Audible app for Windows 8/RT is a basic affair. It provides access to your library and a selection of new releases, best sellers, and Audible Essentials from the main screen, and if content is playing, a handy Now Playing group as well.

Dive into your own content and you’ll find each audiobook part, which can be download and played (or, if already on the device, removed).

And within in audiobook parts are details about the title, chapters for navigation, and bookmarks. Nothing surprising.

Be sure to take a quick look at Settings as well. There’s not much there, but Audible downloads low-quality versions of books by default and you may want to switch that to high quality.

I have a few quibbles with the app, which for some reason identifies you as your email address on the main screen instead of your name. (In other words, it says “thurrott@hotmail’s Audible” instead of “Paul’s Audible” or whatever.) And while this basic app provides all the expected basic functionality, it lacks some of the features you get elsewhere, such as Whispersync for Voice, which lets you alternate reading a book between Kindle and Audible; it’s only available on some platforms, and neither the Audible or Kindle app for Windows 8 supports this.

Furthermore, the shopping experience is bizarre. Rather than take you to a web site as on some platforms, Audible loads the store experience in a weird vertical pane on the right. It’s non-standard, both for Audible and for Windows 8.

Worse, Search seems horribly broken. It appears to only search your collection, and not the store! That’s useless.

Still, I’m happy just to have Audible on Windows 8, and I’m sure that the app will be quickly brought up to speed with the versions on other platforms. As any Windows Phone-using Audible fan will tell you, it’s better to have the basics than nothing at all.