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11 winning alternatives to Windows 8's built-in apps

Not all of the new Windows 8 apps are 5-star winners. Allow us to suggest some worthy options.

By Alex Cocilova, PC World
November 06, 2012 10:30 AM ET

PC World - Windows 8 comes preloaded with plenty of apps for basic productivity and entertainment, but they're not necessarily the best you can do. We've already mentioned the apps you should download first, but now we want to share some third-party apps that you might like more than what Microsoft includes in its basic Windows 8 installation.

Microsoft doubles down on Windows 8 developers

None of the following apps is perfectbut the same holds true for the apps built directly into Windows 8.A Hence the point of this article in the first place.

People

Part contacts list, part social media hub, the People app is a central bucket for all the personal associations you make via email, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. This built-in app does share Facebook and Twitter updates, but it's confusing in the wayA it jumbles together all your services.

Likewise, People is definitely not a worthy Twitter client. And there are no worthy Twitter clients in the Windows Store yet. An official Twitter app is in the works, but until it arrives, we'll all have to make do with third-party alternatives.

Luckily, we haveA FlipToast,A an app that commingles Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram in a relatively easy-to-use interface. Among other features, you can use FlipToast to like,A tweet, retweet, share, favorite, and post to the four services it supports. Its interface isn't immediately intuitive, but once you start using it, you should probably find it more hospitable than the People app.A And just to make sure you stay a good friend, FlipToast even has a birthday reminder tool. You can find it on the Windows Store for free.

Video

Microsoft's video app has a split personality. It's a storefront for purchasing the latest movies and TV episodes, as well a video player for your own personal content. Unfortunately, shilling commercial content seems to take precedence, leaving many PCWorld editors wishing for a deeper, more robust video player app.

PressPlay is an excellent alternative for viewing your local files. It supports great touch controls that allow you to adjust volume, change your video's position, and browse videos with the flick of a finger. It doesn't offer any videos for sale, mind you, but that's a good thingand a thing best left to the app built into Windows 8. Best of all, PressPlay is free in the Windows Store.

Messaging

Microsoft's Messaging app lets you quickly chat with anyone in your contacts or Facebook list, and even supports video chat. That's great for the friends you have on those networks, but chances are you'llA want to chat with people who use myriad other services. Ipso facto, you'll need something more comprehensive.

IM+A facilitatesA messaging through nearly every imaginable service, from Facebook to ICQ. It supports photo sharing, text messaging, and multiple accounts per service, making for the most comprehensive messaging app we could find on the Windows Store, all for free.

Calendar

The built-in Calendar app does exactly what you'd think it would, but not much more. You can check the day's events, add an event with reminder options, and...that's about it. You can use Microsoft's app to sync up your own personal Google calendar, but you're out of luck if you need to sync Google calendars that have been shared with you.

Originally published on www.pcworld.com. Click here to read the original story.

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