Windows RT missing your favorite apps? Try these

If you have a device running Windows RT, chances are you're missing one or more of your favorite apps. Here are five alternatives that could be worth a download, depending on what you're looking for.

For all its speedy touch-screen goodness, one of the biggest drawbacks of Windows 8 RT is that it doesn't let you install third-party programs through its desktop screen. Unlike the standard version of Windows 8, RT restricts you to first-party programs (made by Microsoft) through its desktop, but gives you free rein to install whatever you want through the Windows Store. The problem is that at this point the Windows Store is just too thin to make up for the loss of several popular third-party programs. Fortunately, we did a little research and found a few alternative apps that could help fill the void left by your missing faves.

Slacker Radio
Get more information about your favorite artists, create playlists, and listen to music. Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

Slacker Radio
With an official Spotify app nowhere to be found in the Windows Store, fans of the on-demand music service might find themselves disappointed. Enter Slacker Radio. With a free account, you can listen to programmed radio stations similar to Pandora's. But upgrade to a premium account, and you also get a rich on-demand listening experience that could prove to be a fantastic alternative to Spotify.

Write statuses and get the latest updates from LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, and view photos from people you follow on Instagram. Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

Twitter and Facebook still have yet to announce official apps for the new Windows desktop platform as well, so your best bet is to try FlipToast. This multifaceted social networking app lets you sign in to both Twitter and Facebook, as well as to LinkedIn and Instagram at the same time. From a single interface, you can read updates from all of these social services, and you can post updates to all but Instagram.

This chat client works on multiple services and has an amazingly clean interface. Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

Some people chat using Google Talk, while others might use Yahoo Messenger or Facebook. For many Windows users, the solution to this fragmented chat landscape has always been a unified client like Trillian or Pidgin. The problem is, these apps aren't yet available for Windows RT. The good news is, IM+ is available, and it lets you sign in to more than a dozen different chat services. Its interface is incredibly sleek, and it even offers power features like photo sending and group chats.

Metro Commander
This completely touch-based file management system makes moving files a snap. Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

Metro Commander
With the Windows Explorer now buried on RT's desktop, some users might be looking for a way to manage files right from the touch-powered Start screen. If you're one of those users, check out Metro Commander. It offers a two-panel interface that makes it easy to find, move, delete, copy, and rename files, all using an interface that's optimized for touch screens. As you can imagine, this is particularly useful for those using RT on tablets.

Multimedia 8
Watch video, listen to your music, and browse photos all from one app. Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

Multimedia 8
Multimedia 8 is a serviceable alternative to the now missing Windows Media Player, as it can act as a hub for your photos, music, and videos. While RT certainly comes loaded with separate apps that can handle each of these media types, we're aware that some people might not enjoy toggling through them all. Multimedia 8 lets you view, listen to, and watch your media files, and even create playlists and trim videos.

About the author

Jaymar Cabebe covers mobile apps and Windows software for CNET. While he may be a former host of the Android Atlas Weekly podcast, he doesn't hate iOS or Mac. Jaymar has worked in online media since 2007.

Jason Parker

Jason Parker has been at CNET for nearly 15 years. He is the senior editor in charge of iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps. See full bio


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