Can the Windows Store possibly be ready by Oct. 26?

All signs point to an inventory of apps that's small in number and short on quality.

By Brad Chacos, PC World |  Windows, windows 8, Windows Store

"Developers don't want to develop for you until you have enough users, while users don't want to use your [device] until there are enough of the key apps," Enderle says. "That is the critical weakness of the Windows Phone store, and the Windows 8 store is even younger than the Windows Phone store. There's a content problem for the Windows Phone store, and I expect there to be content problems with the Windows 8 store, as well."

These content problems could turn into an existential threat for ARM processor-based Windows RT tablets, which only run Windows 8 apps and can't utilize the software thats now classified as desktop applications. The fewer Windows 8 apps available, the less appealing Windows RT tabletslike Microsofts own Surface RT tabletbecome.

"The most important thing Microsoft can do for the Windows 8 launch is to launch with 5,000 high-quality apps," says Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. "As the industry learned from the failed consumer tablet launches of the Motorola XOOM, HP Touchpad and Blackberry PlayBook, the number of quality apps at launch does matter."

Are the available apps any good?

A lack of quantity can be somewhat mitigated by an abundance of quality. Unfortunately, the quality level of the available Windows 8 apps is just as troubling as the Stores low inventory.

Simply put, a lot of must-have apps aren't available yet. In fact, most Windows 8 apps currently exposed are simple games or uninspiring programs with names like "Girl Farts" and "Let's Speak Beckinese!" The first sign of trouble appears in the Windows Store's Spotlight section: Are apps like "Periodic Table" and "Disk Falcon" really the best and brightest Microsoft has to offer one month before launch?

To be fair, Windows 8 isn't totally devoid of top-tier offerings. Today you can click on the Windows Store tile and find Wikipedia, Slacker Radio, eBay, StumbleUpon, Evernote, iHeart Radio and the Kindle reader. As for gaming apps, youll find Cut the Rope and Fruit Ninja. (Don't be fooled by the Torchlight app, though. It's a flashlight tool, not the game.) Geeks will also be pleased to find Windows 8 apps from Newegg, Kaspersky, Norton and Splashtop Remote Desktop, as well as several nifty (and unofficial) XKCD apps.

All that said, the missing apps are glaring omissions.

As of press time, there's no Facebook app. There's no Twitter app. There's no YouTube app. There's no CNN app. There's no IMDB app. There's no Dropbox app. There's no Netflix app. There's no Hulu app. There's no ESPN app. There's no MLB at Bat app. There's no YouTube, Google Maps or Gmail apps.

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