Ever since switching to Windows 8, I have really taken to some Modern apps and use them quite regularly. This brings me in frequent contact with Windows Store but until Microsoft showed off its revamped version, I never gave the Store much thought. Windows Store has always been somewhat simplistic, and never had too many features. Windows 8.1 brings a lot of features to the Store app, but that has come at the cost of losing some of its simplicity. The updated version of the Store isn’t exactly cluttered, but it will take some getting used to. The layout has changed, and you are now shown a list of featured apps curated by Microsoft, in addition to being able to browse through the app collection by quickly jumping between categories. The pages dedicated to each app are also more detailed, with user reviews, ratings and related apps featuring more prominently.
There can be no denying the fact that the interface of Store in Windows 8 was a whole lot neater than the new version, but there are plenty of new features in the update to make up for that. The ‘Spotlight’ section is gone, replaced by a scrollable list of featured apps. Even if you don’t browse through the apps manually, the section keeps cycling through them automatically.
The horizontally arranged categories have been abolished in the revamped Windows Store, and you can now switch between categories by right-clicking anywhere in the Store. This list has a lot more categories than were previously supported in the Store. A prominent new addition to the mix is ‘Picks for you’, which is pretty much like the Genius feature employed by the App Store in iOS; it takes into account your preferences to present you with the apps you are likely to find most useful. Account management options also show up at the top of this list.
The biggest change in the Windows 8.1 Store shows up when you visit an app’s download page. Rather than being divided into three separate tabs, everything is displayed on one screen. This might make you scroll a long way to get all the information regarding an app, but we have to admit that the revamped page offers more information than the old one had. After app details and the installation button, the app’s screenshots are shown.
Scroll further, and there are ratings and reviews. The new ratings screen is more comprehensive than it was in Windows 8. Other than the overall average rating, the total number of received ratings and other stats are also shown. Last but not the least, you can finally see related apps and other apps from the same developer on any app’s page in the new Windows Store.
If simplicity and convenience are your preferences, the revamped Windows Store probably isn’t going to make you too happy, but it is hard to criticize the truly useful features like Picks for you and categories.