Until now it has not been more than a rumor that Microsoft had plans to integrate an app store into their upcoming operating system Windows 8. Recent screenshot leaks suggest that there is more to that rumor than initially thought.
The Chinese website cnBeta has posted several screenshots of the Windows App Store. There is as usually no official confirmation from Microsoft which means that it is currently not possible to validate the screenshots or the news that Windows 8 will feature an app store.
The four leaked app store screenshots show a Windows Explorer like interface. The header resembles Windows Explorer, with its breadcrumb path, navigational buttons, file menu and search form.
The sidebar appears to be listing the store menu, settings and desktop apps. It is not really clear what Desktop Apps does, maybe it refers to desktop shortcuts or applications that have been installed on the system.
The store listing is divided into the App Store, a downloads folder with downloading and downloaded folders and a My Gift folder. This indicates that you can get free and commercial applications in the store.
The store itself hosts all kinds of applications, from Internet Explorer and Firefox to free games over Chess or FreeCell to Microsoft Office 2010, Windows 7 Ultimate or the very popular Angry Birds game.
It is likely that free programs and trials can be downloaded right away. It is not yet clear how payments are handled in the Windows App Store. The listing of Windows 7 Ultimate in one of the screenshots may be a placeholder item. It could also hint at the option to buy operating system upgrades, or physical products in the app store.
Another question that remains unanswered for now is if the App Store will handle automatic program updates, a feature that is highly requested but missing in all current Windows operating systems.
A current rumor suggests that Microsoft may not integrate the app store directly in the Windows operating system, but in its Windows Live Essentials Suite.
The first two screenshots appeared first on the Neowin forum in January 2011, the Chinese article mentions that and highlights that only the two Chinese app store screenshots are new.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.