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Hidden Gems

The best apps for Windows 8 PCs and tablets.

Written by Pranay Parab | New Delhi | Published:October 6, 2013 12:09 am

The best apps for Windows 8 PCs and tablets.

Microsoft Windows 8 is a fairly good operating system for desktops,laptops and tablets. In response to competition from Apple iPad and tablets running Google’s Android,Microsoft coded an app store into Windows 8 (for the uninitiated,Windows 8 is the OS for PCs,laptops and tablets,while Windows Phone 8 is the OS for phones).

The Windows 8 store has quite a few good apps,but the search feature leaves a lot to be desired. For instance,if you search for Twitter,the official app is not the first result and is not even highlighted. It is hidden among several unofficial Twitter apps. Fortunately,Microsoft recently announced an update — Windows 8.1 — which is scheduled to launch on October 18. This update promises improvements in the search function. Until then,you can refer to this list for some great apps on Windows 8.



Twitter is one of the world’s most popular social networks with an official Windows app. If you have trouble finding it among the many unofficial Twitter apps on the store,look for an app called “Twitter”,with a four-star rating. Plus,Windows 8 comes with an app called People,which shows you updates and notifications from all social networks,including Twitter. But the official Twitter app integrates the network’s best features with those of Windows 8. Users can share content from other apps on Twitter with the share charm (swipe from the right edge,click to share) and pin the app to one side to keep an eye on updates while using other apps.



Love reading? Check out Amazon’s Kindle Windows 8 app that lets you purchase and read books from your Amazon account. This app supports Whispersync technology,which syncs your notes,highlights,bookmarks and most recent location in the book across Amazon ebook readers and apps. You can continue reading a book in this app if you forget to carry your Kindle with you. The search feature is also quite good.

ALSO SEE: Amazon’s free app for audiobooks,Audible,works very well. Audiobooks are great for those who don’t have the time to read,the visually challenged or those who stare at computer screens all day. The app is easy to use and Amazon has a good collection of audiobooks.



This app is a must-have for those who love comics and graphic novels. Comixology’s Comics app itself is free,and users can purchase comics and graphic novels from its vast catalogue. The app features Guided View technology that zooms in on any frame you double-click and shows one frame at a time,which makes reading an immensely enjoyable experience. You no longer need to worry about scrolling,zooming or whether you are reading the frames in the correct order. Indian users will need a credit card to buy comics. It also has a good collection of free comics for those who want to try the app before buying.

ALSO SEE: ACK comics app has a limited collection,but features a few issues of Amar Chitra Katha comics that include stories from Indian history and mythology.

Jetpack Joyride


Jetpack Joyride is a fun game from Halfbrick Studios. It’s a 2D game in which players control Barry Steakfries,the man who steals a jetpack from a top-secret laboratory. The objective is to run as far as possible. Along the way,players will have to avoid zappers and missiles. The game has an interesting set of challenges and unlockable power-ups that prevent it from becoming repetitive. This game works best on touchscreen devices,but the experience is almost as good with a keyboard.

Judge Dredd vs Zombies


It is uncommon to see a good app or game based on a Hollywood film. Judge Dredd is one such game. Based on the film Dredd (2012),this game lets you play Judge Dredd,the justice department’s finest combatant. The mission is to take out all the zombies,which have taken over the department’s headquarters. The game features 30 moderately tough levels in story mode,apart from three levels in the survival mode (where endless waves of zombies attack Judge Dredd). Once you complete this game,you can play it with a different weapon or aim for perfect scores across all levels,meaning that you won’t discard this game as soon as you finish story mode.

Fresh Paint


Whether you are a professional artist or a fervent doodler,Fresh Paint lets you use the screen as a canvas on which you can paint with your fingers or the mouse. It supports up to five-point multi-touch,meaning that you can use five fingers at once to paint or sketch. It allows you to paint on a blank page or a picture. It can also double up as a colouring book. It lets users purchase various line drawings like those seen in children’s colouring books for Rs 70 to Rs 150 each.

ALSO SEE: The Autodesk Sketchbook Express app is for artists only. The user interface is not easy to learn,but Sketchbook Express has good advanced features such as customised brushes,layers,etc for illustrators. This app is free,and the pro version costs around Rs 4,000.


Free is a cool website to search eateries in Indian cities. They have created a beautiful app for Windows 8 that helps you find restaurants by location,cuisine and popularity. It makes good use of screen space to show you pictures of restaurants in large tiles,while smaller tiles show pictures of food. For instance,the icon for Italian food has a picture of a delicious-looking pizza. It also shows you top 25 trending restaurants too,helping you zero in on one.

Adobe Photoshop Express


Adobe is steadily strengthening its presence in the post-PC world with good apps. After launching Photoshop Touch for iOS,it launched Photoshop Express for Windows 8. The app is nowhere near the full-fledged desktop version in terms of features,but helps you with basic editing without ­problems. The controls are well-suited to touchscreen devices. Users can quickly adjust brightness,contrast and saturation,but the reduce noise tool costs Rs 250,which is expensive.

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