Why Windows RT needs native Facebook and Twitter apps

Facebook and Twitter are woven into the Windows 8 OS, but we still need native Windows RT apps to get the most from the services on a tablet

Microsoft is hosting a media event tomorrow to mark the official launch of Windows 8, and the Surface RT tablet. The initial reviews of the Surface RT have had high praise for the quality and construction of the tablet hardware, but almost universally reviewers are concerned with the lack of apps for Windows RT. Two apps in particular, though, stand out as giant voids in the ecosystem: Facebook and Twitter.

I haven't had an opportunity to get any hands-on experience with a Surface tablet, yet, but I have worked with Windows 8 on a tablet--I'm typing this on the touchscreen display of a Samsung Series 7 Slate running Windows 8 Pro. I have Box, Kindle, Netflix, and Evernote apps installed, but I can't help notice the glaring absence of Facebook and Twitter, and the impact that has.

I have pointed out the lack of native Facebook and Twitter apps before, and some readers responded to let me know I am missing the point. Like the Windows Phone mobile OS, Windows 8 incorporates Facebook and Twitter into the core functionality of the operating system so separate apps are unnecessary.

It's true. My Facebook and Twitter accounts are connected to my Windows profile, and I can view the merged stream of posts almost a' la Flipbook style by tapping What's New from within the People app. I don't like that it doesn't refresh automatically, but I can swipe up from the bottom and tap the refresh icon. I can also filter to view just the Facebook posts, or just the Twitter posts, and I can craft a new post for either Facebook or Twitter directly from the People app.

The integration of Facebook and Twitter is slick, and admittedly impressive. It does not, however, replace the need for native apps. It's great to have seamless access to these social networks, but it doesn't do me any good if I want to share a Facebook post with only a certain subset of my contacts, or if I want to view one of the Facebook groups I belong to, or if I want to narrow the stream of tweets to one of my lists.

Seamless integration has its place, and in many ways it intuitively works better than treating each social interaction as a separate world unto itself. But, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and other similar networks are more than just email or instant messaging frameworks, and the integrated version lacks much of the broader functionality.

I know the obvious next response is, "But, you can just use Facebook and Twitter directly from the Web using Internet Explorer." It's not the same.

Yes, it is true. Yes, I can access the full features and capabilities of either social network from their respective websites. But, when dealing with an interface that's designed for touch, you need an app that is meant to be tapped and swiped as well.

Facebook and Twitter are both staples of social networking, and communication in general, and it's crucial that Windows RT get native apps in order to use them effectively from a tablet.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Business mobilityEvernoteWindowshardware systemstabletssoftwaretwitterSurfaceoperating systemsnetflixFacebookWindows 8Microsoft

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?