Last month, we released the Windows 8.1 Update that delivered important refinements to the Windows 8 user experience. For people who like using the desktop, the Windows 8.1 Update added the ability for you to pin Windows Store apps to your taskbar and the Windows Store is pinned by default. Today, we are rolling out a new update which focuses on enhancements to the Windows Store that addresses customer feedback and makes it a lot easier to find the apps you want for your Windows PC or Tablet. I think you’re really going to enjoy these enhancements to the Windows Store.
Here is a quick rundown on the changes we’re releasing today for the Windows Store:
1. Persistent navigation bar with Top charts, Categories and Collections
Navigating the Windows Store previously required a finger-swipe or right-click. Now, the navigation bar persists on top of the Store for intuitive, fast access. But that doesn’t mean it’s cluttered. Customer feedback tells us that most people want to quickly see the chart-toppers, search by the top categories they’re interested in, or browse our curated Collections. Because of this, the navigation bar is now focused on to Top charts, Categories, and Collections. You can still quickly access your Account information.
2. Collections on the Store landing page
We have an entire team of experts who curate Collections that to help you discover new apps. For example, we have a Getting Started Collection that pulls together some of the most downloaded and highest rated apps that new devices owners are likely to enjoy. We also have theme-based Collections – think music, travel, sports, and so on. And you can always find great deals in our Red Stripe Deals Collection, where 6 top apps and games are discounted at least 50% off each week. Now in addition to Collections being present on the new persistent navigation bar, several of these Collections are front and center when you open the Store.
3. Multiple Featured titles at your fingertips (or mouse pointer)
Continuing the theme, the Store team is always on the look-out for the best apps for users. Several of these are now grouped together right on the Store landing page, and also on the Category pages. Also, over the next few days for titles that are currently on sale, you’ll start to see a strike-through of the original price with the sale price in red – no more missing out on great deals.
4. Get once & download on compatible Windows devices
App publishers can now choose to link their free Windows and Windows Phone apps, helping you to quickly identify and download the apps you love across your Windows devices. Similarly, publishers can also choose to link their paid apps such that if you buy the app once, you can get it across your Windows devices. This also applies to in-app purchase of durable items. Microsoft Studios, for example, is now publishing Halo: Spartan Assault in this way, meaning whether you buy from the Windows Store or Windows Phone Store first, you can get the app for your other compatible Windows devices without having to pay again. Pretty slick, huh? This is one of my favorite Store enhancements.
Look for this icon when purchasing to identify if you can get the app on all your compatible Windows devices without additional charge:
If you’ve already installed the Windows 8.1 Update, today’s Windows Store refresh should appear soon in Windows Update. For the majority of folks, you will receive the update automatically.
We think you’re going to like having faster, easier access to all the great apps and games in the Windows Store. After you’ve had the chance to check out these enhancements first-hand, leave a comment to tell us what you think.