Top 25 touchscreen apps for Windows 8

Windows 8 already has more touchscreen apps than you might at first expect. Take a look at some of the best.

The touch interface of Windows 8 is relatively new, and so developers are still discovering how to get the most from this next-generation software. For users, that means many familiar desktop applications do not have a touchscreen equivalent yet.

Despite this, Windows 8 has more touchscreen apps than you might at first expect. In our top 25 we'll show you some of the best -- including some hidden gems -- available now on the Windows Store. Most have double-width live tiles that are twice the size of normal tiles, making them great for providing detailed notifications directly to your Start Screen.

News & Reference

1. BBC News Mobile -- Free

 

The unofficial BBC News Mobile application presents all of the content available on the BBC's news site. It has a double-width Live Tile showing you the most read stories, and its main screen allows you to set the news categories most relevant to your interests.

2. NextGen Reader -- £2.19

 

NextGen Reader is the best Google Reader client available, not just on Windows 8, but on Windows Phone 7 and 8 too. This app has a double-width live tile showing previews of the latest stories, feeds and folders can be pinned too. You can also add your unread count to the lock screen.

3. Star Chart -- £0.99

 

Star Chart is an astronomy guide full of beautifully animated graphics of celestial objects. Its double-width live tile, which displays upcoming astronomy events, will make sure you never miss the next meteor shower.

4. Wikipedia -- Free

 

This Windows 8 touch iteration of the collaborative encyclopedia saves you resorting to your browser and integrates with the search and Share Charms (the slim bar of icons that can be dragged in from the right). It presents information in a similar format to the desktop website, but text is shown in columns which you scroll across horizontally.

5. CNET -- Free

 

Since you're here reading CNET, you might just like to have the site in app form too. The official CNET app mixes news, editorial, video and reviews all into one place. All the product categories are just a right-click away, or a swipe from the top bezel on touchscreens.

6. Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Free

 

Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) has been posting new astronomy photos with an educational description every day since 1995. The key benefit of the Windows 8 app is that it can automatically change the lock screen wallpaper. The app also links directly through to the APOD website, so you can read about the daily image.

Entertainment

7. TVCatchup -- Free

 

TVCatchup is a service that streams live Freeview TV, the co-founder of which we interviewed a few years back . With its Windows 8 app you can watch live telly without using a browser. Its double-width live tile lists your most watched shows, and you can pin individual channels to the top.

8. YouTube RT -- £1.79

 

There are already some YouTube clients and downloaders available for Windows 8, but this does the best job of combining both roles. Videos can be streamed and downloaded in high definition. The main page of the application has sections for your subscriptions, trending, recently featured, most shared, most popular, favourites and watch later videos.

9. Kindle -- Free

 

This official Kindle app will be familiar to anyone who has used the Kindle Web service. The app allows you to stream books from the cloud or download to your device. Tapping the Kindle Store heading will launch your Web browser, though.

10. eBay Store -- Free

 

The official eBay app allows you to browse and search through items, and view their description and photos. When you click on the bid or buy buttons though, the app will launch the relevant eBay page in your browser.

Social

11. Skype -- Free

 

The touch version of Skype is attractively designed and supports instant messaging, plus voice and video calling. It has a double-width live tile that shows the last instant message you received. This version of Skype is still a work in progress, and so is missing the ability to transfer files, and the notification system is inconsistent.

12. TweeterLight -- £2.19

 

There are a few Twitter apps already for Windows 8 touch, such as MetroTwit and Tweetro+ -- they all tend to minimize the amount of tweets you can see at one time though. TweeterLight is a new Twitter app that fills your screen with tweets. The app still needs some work, but it already stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Utilities

13. Clipboard -- Free

 

There are several clipboard managers available for Windows 8 touch, but only Clipboard integrates with the Share Charm (the. Rather than sending a link or text directly into another app, you can transport it directly to the clipboard for use anywhere.

14. Calculator2 -- Free

 

Calculator2 has several modes -- basic, scientific or business. The app is made to snap into the Windows 8 sidebar, but when in full screen, the right-hand side displays a history of your calculations, which are also shown on its live tile.

15. Windows Phone -- Free

 

Windows Phone is the official companion app from Microsoft and provides a tiled interface for browsing and adding content to your phone, and automatically importing photos and videos.

16. All My Storage Pro -- £2.19

 

All My Storage Pro is a cloud storage application for accessing your files stored on Dropbox, SkyDrive and Box. The 'sans Pro' version is free and ad supported. This app lets you upload and download files and view image thumbnails.

17. Google Chrome -- Free

 

Many of us prefer Google Chrome for its cloud sync that lets you view your bookmarks and tabs on other devices. This version of Chrome works in the Windows 8 touch interface, and it can switch into desktop mode when necessary. It is not, however, compatible with any Windows RT devices, such as Microsoft's own Surface tablet.

18. Google Search -- Free

 

This official Google Search app has a locally stored search history, shortcuts to Google Web apps (eg Gmail), and boasts voice input for when you want to pretend you're in Star Trek. Again, this is a PC only touch app.

Productivity

19. CodePlus -- £2.19

 

If you're a developer, you need a colour-coded text editor so you can easily see what's what. CodePlus brings exactly the many-hued interface you need to Windows 8.

20. OneNote -- Free

 

If you use Microsoft's cloud-based note-taking solution, then you'll love the touch version of OneNote. This app splits notebooks, sections and pages into columns, and its text editor has a novel circular menu for formatting control.

21. LastPass -- Free

 

If you've read our guide on using LastPass , you might be interested to discover that there's an official client for Windows 8 too. The app lets you browse the web securely and automatically logs you in to websites and fills in forms.

22. Package Tracker -- £2.18

 

If you regularly send and receive parcels, Package Tracker is perfect for keeping track of everything. It has a double-width live tile and can show push notifications on the Windows 8 lock screen. It also synchronises with its Windows Phone counterpart.

Games

23. ARMED! -- Free

 

ARMED! is a futuristic turn-based strategy game. You can play against the computer, or be matched against an online player. Gameplay isn't in real-time though -- think of it more like playing chess by post.

24. Cut The Rope -- Free

 

Super-cute Cut The Rope has been on Android and iOS for quite a while, but now you can play it on your Windows 8 desktop or tablet too.

25. Wordament -- Free

 

Wordament, the perpetual spelling tournament, pits you against hundreds of people all trying to find as many words as possible in a four-by-four grid of random letters.

 

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