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Windows 8 bundled Metro apps revealed

Now due on February 29, the next Windows 8 beta will offer several built-in Metro apps, including Music, Video, Mail, Messaging, and SkyDrive.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

The next beta of Windows 8 will apparently give us a healthy dose of Metro apps, whether we want them or not.

Microsoft plans to release the Windows 8 Consumer Preview--basically, a pre-release version of the new OS available to anyone who wants to download it--on February 29. Microsoft is reportedly finalizing the Metro apps that will be bundled with the new OS. Citing "sources familiar with Microsoft's plans," the Verge revealed the current list as:

  • Calendar
  • Camera
  • Mail
  • Messaging
  • Music
  • People
  • Photos
  • SkyDrive
  • Video

These are just the apps known so far, so there could be more in store before the Preview reaches consumers.

Among them, Mail, Calendar, People, and Messaging will be the main communications apps, with one source telling the Verge that Microsoft is trying to add SMS support to the Messaging app. And as with all Metro apps, each one can be updated through the new Windows Store. Further, the Metro apps that pop up in the Consumer Preview may not necessarily appear in the final version released later this year.

SkyDrive will be a key part of Windows 8 as Microsoft is hoping to bridge the gap between your local PC and the cloud. The new OS will let you log in with a Windows Live ID, helping you synchronize settings, preferences, and other data both online and across other PCs. The SkyDrive integration will further allow you to save and access files directly on your own 25 gigabyte chunk of the cloud-based storage service.

This latest report follows a similar story from the Verge revealing some of the games that would be available for the Consumer Preview directly through the Windows Store. Among them are Angry Birds, Toy Soldiers, Ms Splosion Man, Reckless Racing, and Rocket Riot.

Of course, the Metro UI has fired up some users who've complained that it's designed more for touch-screen tablets than for PCs driven by mouse and keyboard. Microsoft has repeatedly defended the new interface and has promised that the Consumer Preview will offer a more PC-friendly experience than did the Developer Preview.

A Microsoft spokesperson told CNET that the company has nothing to share about bundled apps at this time.

But the company did confirm yet again that Media Center will indeed be part of Windows 8. Concerns over Media Center being MIA surfaced last September when the application failed to show up in the Developer Preview.

A later pre-beta build of Windows 8 did feature Media Center, but Microsoft apparently felt the need to clear up any rumors once again by tweeting yesterday: "Good Grief. We said 'Media Center will definitely be part of Windows 8.'"

Updated 9:45 a.m. PT with response from Microsoft.