Windows 8 latest: Microsoft commences final apps updates ahead of 26 October general release

Microsoft has provided details on the upgrade schedule for its Windows 8 apps.

Apps within the new operating system will be updated much like the mobile apps on your phone. "The Store tile will notify you when updates are available, and you can open it and click the updates link in the top right corner to see the list and install the ones you want," Gabriel Aul with Microsoft's programme management team wrote in a blog post.

Microsoft has started updating the apps that were included in the release to manufacturing (RTM) version of Windows 8 so they are ready for the 26 October general release of the OS.

First up was Bing, which got an overhaul on Friday, including: richer search results for local content and images, Bing rewards integration, the ability to use zoom on your search results to see related queries, and the option to select an image from Bing to use on your lock screen or in your other apps.

Other apps will also be getting a boost in the days leading up to 26 October, including SkyDrive, which will get search functionality, the ability to rename and move folders and files, a new first-run experience, and custom sort order.

On the mapping front, Microsoft said its Maps app will include Bird's eye view, maps for more than 3,000 indoor venues, driving navigation hints, improved navigation and layout, improved customisation, and integration with Bing and Travel apps.

Also due for a revamp are: Mail, Calendar, People, and Messaging; Photos; Finance; News; Sports; Travel; Weather; Video; Music; and Games.

"We are excited to get these updated apps out to all of the people who have been using Windows 8 so far, and to have them ready for the Windows 8 launch for people buying new PCs or upgrading their existing PCs," Aul wrote.

Aul said there are already "thousands" of apps in the Windows Store, and "we're working with developers from around the world to bring more in every day."

Microsoft started accepting Windows 8 App Store submissions in mid-September, which was the last significant milestone before Windows 8 general availability.

The Windows Store was in preview mode for some time. When the Windows 8 Consumer Preview launched back in February, it included a few Microsoft-selected apps, like PuzzleTouch Jigsaw, Air Soccer, Pew Pew, SigFig Portfolio, and Elements Weather. When Windows 8 reached the RTM stage, Microsoft said developers could visit the Windows Dev Center for access to app-building tools, and promised more details soon.

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