Best Apps for Surface and Windows RT | May 2013

IM +

I don’t know about you, but I really value consolidation. Our digital lives have all become so complicated and it’s nice when a piece of technology actually simplifies things.

IM+ is a popular application on Android and iOS that brings all of your instant messaging services together. It supports many of the most popular messaging services such as: Facebook, Skype, Jabber, Yahoo!, AIM, Google Talk (now called Hangouts) and Windows Live messenger among others.

The interface is solid and pretty easy to navigate. All the expected features are here including attachments and emoticons and Push notification are also fully supported as well.

There are both free and paid versions. The paid version, which is $5, gets rid of ads and allows you to send larger attachments.
Download IM+ for Windows 8 here.


There’s are a fairly popular trend called Speed Painting. Basically, a digital or physical media artist will record him/herself painting and speed up the video so that it’s only a few minutes long. Didlr is basically the same thing except all of the paintings are done digitally on a Windows device. It’s cool to see an artist’s process and all of the work that goes into the painting. It’s cross platform too which means you can see paintings done on Windows Phone or iOS as well as Windows 8. You can of course share you own digital paintings if you’d like.

Didlr is free.
Download Didlr for Windows 8 here.

Day to Day

Do you keep a journal? Keeping a journal or diary is recommended by psychologists everywhere. Besides the fact that it’s healthy and relaxing, if you keep a journal you’ll have an excuse to use this elegant app on a daily basis. I hadn’t kept a journal in years until I came across this app. Now I look forward to writing before bed.

The interface is simple and clean and is another great example of a developer taking the time to actually design an application to fit in with the beautiful Windows 8 style.

The app isn’t full of amazing and unheard of features but I think that’s on purpose. Each post can contain multiple pictures which are displayed on the left side of the entry, and on the right side, the date, weather and your mood are visible.

Day to Day is $1.99
Download Day to Day for Windows 8 here.

Adobe Photoshop Express

Adobe obviously makes the best image editing software available and Photoshop Express is no exception. There are other great photo editing options available for the Surface but I expect that Photoshop Express will be the go to photo enhancing app for light editing. Since this app comes from a major developer, frequent updates and enhancements are likely. The addition of this app makes me hopeful that the much more powerful Photoshop Touch app (which is available for the iPad only currently) will become available in the future.

The Photoshop Express app features Instagram-style filters, auto enhance, general adjustments, crop and redeye removal.

Photoshop Express is free and can be upgraded for $5 to gain use of Noise Reduction and additional Filters.
Download Photoshop Express from the Windows Store here.


Pandora Radio is the original music discovery engine and it can, arguably, be attributed to the wave of music discovery services that are available to us now. I remember how exciting it was when I was first introduced to it. There isn’t an official Pandora app in the Windows Store, but the MetroRadio Pandora client is a great option for those of us who miss Pandora. It has all of the features you’ll need along with a beautiful interface. You can of course, login with your Pandora username and password and all of your personal stations will populate automatically.

MetroRadio is free.
Download MetroRadio from the Windows Store here.

  • Brad

    As of right now, Fotor is still the best image editor in the store. Adobe has a long way to go to be even close to that Apps’ capabilities. We’ll never get an app with the equivalent ‘power’ of a program like GIMP, nor should we, however, for ‘basic-plus-a-little-bit’ editing, use Fotor and it’s companion Colour Splash Studio for now.

    • Lane Freeze

      Agreed. Still, I’m crossing my fingers for Photoshop Touch.

  • Jonathan

    IM+ fulfilled my need for a google talk client on Windows 8, but I had one issue with how it handles my status. Once I logged into my google account on IM+, it always showed me as online and available, even when I selected to be offline, or closed the app. It also did not update to show me as away or anything else. This has caused many instances where I show as available and people attempt to have conversations with me without me finding out until 8-12 hours later when I open my tablet. Anyone else have this problem?

    • Lane Freeze

      Since I have a client on my phone as well, I receive messages between my phone and my tablet. So I am always “available”. You might try contacting the developer. I am sure they’d be happy to look into it for you.

  • Khang

    Day To Day looks great but…it shows up on the Store as $1.99 unfortunately.

    • Lane Freeze

      Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I was sure I checked the price. I’ll update that immediately.