Surface Surprise

One thing that I’ve been looking for in the Windows Store was a good news app- like Flipboard on the iPad. Sure, there’s the built in News app in Windows 8 and I’ve been using it a little here and there during the multiple customer previews but it never really connected with me.

That changed earlier this morning when I was reading a news item using this app and I swiped down from the top of the screen. It was when I did this I noticed the buttons you’ll see below. Sources? Featured? What is this?

Clicking the sources, I found something quite unexpected and pleasant. There are A LOT of news sources here at my fingertips among several categories including “National & World News”, “Business”, “Technology”, “Entertainment” and more. I remember reading a few months ago when the Microsoft/NBC news joint venture split was made official that Microsoft was going to bring their own news business in-house – this is the obvious and impressive result of that decision. They even hired one of the news directors from the Houston Chronicle to work on this.

Each category has multiple sources – some I usually visit on my own or through an RSS reader but others I almost never read. Now that I’ve discovered them, I’m going to take advantage of them.

There’s even a category for regional news sources and I’m lucky enough to see the aforementioned Chronicle, my local paper, in the list of choices.

So there you have it, Windows 8 users. You can stop searching in the Store for that app. You’ve already got a great one pre-loaded. I’m sure we’ll have a great developer come out with a comparable one in the future but this app is the high water mark in my book.

BONUS: Okay, as I’m typing this blog post (in Word 2013 on my Surface) and switched from the news app into Word and ended up actually docking the two side-by-side. This is how multitasking really rocks on the Surface. When you dock this news app to the side it nicely resizes and arranges each of the news sources into a nice usable pane.

And the side pane is fully clickable making this app fully usable off to the side of a larger app.

Explore and enjoy this News app. The same is true for the Finance and Sports app. (Actually, I think they’re just stubs for this main app. I would be interesting to see if you could spawn off a Technology news icon on the Start menu.)

If you’re a new owner of a Surface or recently upgraded to Windows 8, I’d love to hear your opinions of this app of any other new feature you’ve discovered.


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