One of the things I liked most about the Windows 8 Store was the “New Releases” section. It was limited to about 100-200 apps, formatted first in – first out, and configured in such a way to minimize scrolling, even on my 19” 4:3 office monitor. As long as I checked the section every few days, I was pretty much assured of not missing any apps that were added to the Store. While scrolling across, running into apps that I had previously seen, I knew that I was all caught up. I discovered most of the apps I currently use, including; All My Storage, Modern File Explorer, Pan Search, Effectual, My Radar, You Tube Now, Back to the Drawing Board, Eye On Traffic, Network Speed Test, What’s IP, Color Finder and Sports Now. There is another long list that didn’t make it past the first day (or hour). This was a great way to “discover” apps that I otherwise would have never even considered searching for.
I was dismayed to discover that with the release of Windows 8.1 along with the reimagined Windows Store, the “New Releases” section has been replaced (sort of) by something titled, “New and Rising”. I took a look at the section today. For starters, the list is comprised of 1,000 apps, with only 9 (or 12) visible on my screen at a time. So it involves lots of scrolling, something that wasn’t necessary before. In the past I could scan through 100 apps/games (basically ignoring the games) in no more than a minute or two, unless something tweaked my interest. New & Rising includes apps like; Skype, Fresh Paint, Network Speed Test and Hulu Plus. Then there is Smart Shopping, with 106 downloads. I know this app well, as I use it on my Windows Phone almost every day. It has been in the Win 8 Store almost since launch (until it syncs up with my WP app, worthless to me), so it is neither “New”, nor do I believe it’s “Rising”, as the latest update was in November 2012.
Now, I don’t claim to be a marketing guru, but I have sat across the table from plenty of people who did. So I know a key strategy is to keep the consumer engaged for as long as possible. That’s why searching some retail sites work so poorly, intentionally. To keep you searching/scrolling for hours on end. And that’s why Amazon has become so successful. I don’t need to see regurgitated apps, or Top Paid, or Top Free, or Trending. All I want to see is a list of New Releases, sorted in order of release date, so I can discover something that might otherwise fall into that black hole which we call Windows Store. Or App Store, or Google Play. Honestly, if an app does not get some exposure on the first few days after launch, it is almost assured of dying on the vine.
I am not saying that this New & Rising section is without benefit. Actually, while writing this article I discovered XE Currency, a well designed and supported app that I use occasionally on my Windows Phone. But I honestly don’t have the time to scroll through 999 apps on a regular basis, many of which are not quite new. Just like with Windows Phone, I am sure there will come a day when the Windows Store sees several hundred new apps added daily, making a scan of new releases less and less practical. But until that time comes, it would have been nice to continue my hunt for new discoveries. Guess my non-specific app searching days are over. For me, that really limits the possibilities. And definitely reduces the number of apps that I will eventually download. Sorry, in advance, to any developers that I inadvertently overlook.