Windows 8 Shows off Silicon Scale at DEMO Mobile in San Francisco

Four very cool apps for Windows 8 made their debut at DEMO Mobile2013 today as teams from as far away as Poland and Australia competed for attention in front of Silicon Valley’s leading mobile investors, developers and designers in San Francisco.

Two Windows 8 apps launched on stage. They were TouchMail, a modern, touch-first e-mail app that inspired tweets marveling at how easy it made visual e-mail look, and KinectHealth, a mobile-ready exercise solution created by Bob Summers. KinectHealth was demonstrated by his founding partner Amanda Russell, a fitness entrepreneur who has used the opportunity working with Microsoft and Summers to get her very own TV show.

Her workout videos currently run in the app, but the attention the app is receiving and the high quality she delivers have created a perfect collaboration between KinectHealth and a major TV network, she said.

Summers, who ­used KinectHealth to shed 30 pounds and 18 percent of his body mass in preparation for a marathon, says the app utilizes cameras and accelerometers to deliver fun workouts to the phone. It also makes fitness social, by using the camera to port in fitness fanatics with other members of the lifestyle community around the world.

You can find training partners and work out with them remotely. You can follow effective workout regimens, and review data about how the workout affects your body.

“We use special algorithms to translate motion into calories burned, which can be tracked. If your goal is to burn 200 calories a day for five days a week, we can track that and keep you on track,” says Summers. The app is built on Azure Mobile and Media Services and delivers fresh exercises every month.

In his pitch to the tech investors in the crowd, Summers described a Windows 8 app that will try to take market share away from the antiquarian DVD market.

“Last year, over $300 million of fitness DVDs were sold in the U.S. Though DVDs are outdated, their place in the market continues to grow at a rate of 12 percent annually. This is one proxy for the consumer fitness opportunity. We have an opportunity to take most of that market and more,” he said, by offering a replacement for those DVDs.

TouchMail, a Seattle-based startup, targeted a completely different market mainstay: e-mail.

Launched with a focus on the design features of Windows 8, this e-mail app for tablets takes into account touch, messaging and the expectations of a mobile-first culture.

“The Windows platform represents the leading edge of innovation in mobile and we’re thrilled to share our vision for the future of e-mail,” said co-founder and CEO Matthew Carlson.

Here is a Tweet from Larry Chiang, an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, who saw the app being demo’d onstage:

An intuitive touch experience allows you to scan many e-mails at a glance and enables finding, filtering and organizing at your fingertips. One-touch delete, color-coded messages and profile pictures in your mail help you manage your inbox efficiently.

“TouchMail is a beautifully designed solution to e-mail overload,” said Erick Schonfeld, executive producer of DEMO Mobile. “It delivers robust utility and a simple and elegant user experience on the full real estate of the Windows 8 tablet screen to make e-mail more manageable.”

The first interactive fashion app in the Windows 8 store, Envvied, came to the show with an app that offers shoppers a highly visual way to track the best fashion blogs and shop for the clothes and accessories being showcased in them. DJ Park, co-founder of Envvied, told us that, in the future, they are certainly looking at taking this highly visual approach and adding e-commerce capabilities into it.

You can find the app here.

“We chose Windows 8 as our initial app platform primarily because the Apple/Android app stores are too saturated. The Windows 8 store is still quite young, so we’re excited to be an early part of it and to see it grow,” said Park. 

LinxiShare was the perfect example of a pivot. Positioned in the market first as a simple bookmarking tool, this Windows 8 app is now being used as a channel between businesses and universities, something that would not have happened without the help of Microsoft, says Marek Olszewski

“Microsoft definitely made this easier. We were able to use the Microsoft software and receive technical help, so that made it easier to turn to our customers and do customer development. We were able to pivot several times,” said Olszewski, a student from Poland who flew to San Francisco to be at DEMO Mobile with his co-founder Kamil Stachowitz just a few days ago.

The app now works as a learning platform.

Businesses have problems to solve, explained Olszewski. When they have a problem that needs a nimble solution, the managers in those businesses want to turn to young technical or social help in universities to solve them. Instead of keeping the solutions in the university at a theoretical level, LinxiShare enables students to make a direct impact on a company’s bottom line and get real world experience.

Putting this tool on Windows devices makes it immediately scalable and easy to discover, said Stachowitz.

Posted by Douglas Crets
Developer Evangelist and Social Strategist, Microsoft