All those colorful live tiles on the Start screen are generated by new-style Windows 8 apps--apps found exclusively in the official Windows Store. Heck, Windows RT tablets only run new-style Windows 8 apps. That makes the Windows Store the Atlas of the Live Tile-equipped world, hoisting an entire ecosystem of expectations on its back.
Unfortunately, the Windows Store is a very, very mixed bag.
On one hand, the app library is growing at a decent clip, going from 5,000 apps available worldwide on October 26, to 20,000 available one month after launch, to 39,153 apps available as of January 23. (The first two checkpoint totals came courtesy of analyst Wes Miller's now-defunct WinAppUpdate.com; the latest total was taken from MetroStore Scanner, another Windows 8 app-counting website.) A small handful of big-name apps have hit the Store in the last couple of months--including Dropbox, ESPN, Vimeo, and Yahoo Mail--and the e-shelves are getting just packed enough that we were able to compile lists of the best Windows 8 music, video, gaming, travel, and business apps.
It took some deep digging, though. Both the overall quantity and quality of apps available in the Windows Store disappoint when compared to competing mobile ecosystems. Many notable big-name apps are still missing. Many of the apps that are available are quick-hit repackagings of web apps or otherwise insipid fare, and even the best modern-style Windows 8 apps generally aren't as full-featured as their desktop counterparts. The Windows Store still doesn't do a good job of pointing users towards particularly awesome apps, either.