Microsoft's SmartGlass functions as a second screen for your Xbox 360, keeping track of what youre watching or playing and offering complementary information such as Achievement charts and additional video content. You can also use your PC as a remote control for your Xbox 360, launching videos or games on your HDTV from within SmartGlass. In addition, the app allows you to track real-time stats while watching sports, queue up songs in a dance game, or check your in-game GPS while racing against your friends in a motocross title. SmartGlass has been available in the Store for some time now, but Microsoft is updating the app with a bevy of new features to accompany the Windows 8 launch.
Whether youre an avid Stumbler or a first-time user, consider adding the StumbleUpon app to your new Start screen. StumbleUpon is a fantastic way to discover new and interesting things online, and the Windows 8 app makes it even easier to stumble upon your next favorite video or article by updating the live tile with websites tailored to match your tastes. Installing the Windows 8 StumbleUpon app will also allow you to share websites, audio, and video with StumbleUpon via the Share Charm. It's a great tool for injecting a little serendipity into your online existence, and it's completely free to use.
The HowStuffWorks Windows 8 app basically bundles all the excellent articles, videos and podcasts from the HowStuffWorks website into a package and plops it down on your Start screen with a live tile that updates you whenever there's something new to check out. The app itself has a few peccadilloes (the tiles look cramped together and the podcasts don't keep playing when you switch to another app) that suggest it was rushed out to hit the Windows 8 launch date, but HowStuffWorks is still a fantastic free app that deserves a permanent spot on your Start screen.
Zühlke Engineering's MovieGuide app, a handy tool for movie nuts, combines the film trivia of IMDb, the variety of trailers on YouTube, and the list-making feature of Flixster into a single app. Some of the information on films and actors (especially the more obscure ones) is sourced from Wikipedia and can be a little anemic, but the beautiful design and easy discovery paths more than make up for that. Seasoned cinemagoers can probably skip this app, but it's perfect for budding film buffs.