The four leftmost apps—Mail, People, Messaging, Calendar—power the Windows 8 communications experience.

In Windows 8 and Windows RT, Microsoft is aiming for a pleasant out-of-the-box experience. There’s an app store for filling in gaps and adding functionality that isn’t provided up front, but the core apps to power your communications with friends and colleagues come bundled with the operating system. There is Mail, Messaging, Calendar, and an innovative “People” app that brings all your contacts from various sources together into one central, interactive hub.

All four core apps have promise in one way or another, especially the People app, which integrates with social media sites to provide more than the basic functionality you’d expect from a contacts application.

Microsoft isn’t trying to create a replacement for Outlook here—after all, they don’t want to give users any reasons not to buy Office. In general, the apps have just enough functionality to get by. They’re passable for casual tablet usage, but Windows 8 is for both tablets and PCs—and these applications will be lackluster if you try to use them to power your whole work day. There’s also a chance you’ll run into some bugs that make life a bit more frustrating than it was in Windows 7 or on competing tablet interfaces.

Read 55 remaining paragraphs | Comments

via Ars Technica » Technology Lab