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Soluto’s Monthly Insights Report
May 2013

Windows 8 Metro Apps Usage
About this report
Soluto’s monthly insights report is provided to people using Soluto’s PC management service in their business. Some of these reports are also shared with the public. If you’re an IT manager or an IT service provider - give Soluto a try. You’ll love it.

Windows 8 Metro apps usage
Many small businesses face the question of whether to upgrade to Windows 8, and whether to buy the next PC with Windows 8 or Windows 7. IT service providers face the same dilemma when making purchasing recommendations to their clients.

There are several advantages to Windows 8:
  • A wide choice of models and form factors
  • The new world of touch-enabled Windows
  • Metro apps and the Windows store
  • Additional benefits advertised by Microsoft

By far, the most common set of questions we hear from our users relate to Metro apps (aka “Modern apps”). Do people really use Metro apps? Which ones? Are Metro apps used more commonly on laptops with a touch screen vs. no touch screen? Etc...

We decided to dedicate this month’s report to answering these questions. We believe this information is useful in helping to make purchasing decisions, as well as educating co-workers and customers who wonder about Windows 8.

Our analysis included 10,848 Windows 8 machines, and was based on 313,142 Metro app launches across 9,634 unique Metro apps. The full methodology of creating this report is described below.
Previous report:
April 2013
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How often are Metro apps used?
We found that, on average, a Windows 8 user will launch a Metro app 1.52 times a day. Tablet users launch the most Metro apps at 2.71 times per day. People who have touch-screen enabled laptops launch 47% more Metro apps than people with a standard laptop.


How many times a day will a Windows 8 user launch a Metro app?

How many times a day will a Windows 8 user launch a Metro app? - Graph

To put this number into context, we looked at the percent of people who launch a Metro app less than once a day (i.e. less than 7 Metro app launches per week). We found that among desktop and laptop users, 60% of users launch a Metro app less than once a day. This number significantly improves with tablets, but still 44% of Windows 8 tablet users launch a Metro app less than once a day.


% users who launch a Metro app less than once a day % users who launch a Metro app less than once a day - Graph


Most tried Metro apps
With 40% of laptop and desktop users and 56% of tablet users taking advantage of Metro apps, it’s interesting to see which are the most commonly used apps.

If you look at the Metro apps tried by users at least once, these are the top 20:
App name % who launched
at least once*
Avg uses
per week**
1 Windows Communications Apps (Microsoft) 85.84% 4.40
2 Windows Photos (Microsoft) 43.87% 1.59
3 Microsoft Reader (Microsoft) 27.11% 1.27
4 Microsoft Camera (Microsoft) 13.19% 0.61
5 Bing Weather (Microsoft) 8.50% 0.70
6 Zune Video (Microsoft) 8.20% 0.71
7 Zune Music (Microsoft) 8.07% 0.70
8 Netflix (Netflix) 7.69% 1.41
9 Bing Maps (Microsoft) 7.44% 0.41
10 SkyDrive (Microsoft) 7.28% 0.60
11 Bing News (Microsoft) 6.27% 0.61
12 Bing (Microsoft) 6.18% 0.71
13 Xbox LIVE Games (Microsoft) 5.59% 0.44
14 Google Search (Google) 3.75% 1.11
15 - Games App - (WildTangent Games) 3.39% 0.37
16 Shark Dash! (GAMELOFT SA) 3.30% 0.59
17 Microsoft Solitaire Collection (Microsoft) 3.17% 2.13
18 Amazon (Amazon.com) 3.12% 0.41
19 Acer Explorer (Acer Incorporated) 3.11% 0.34
20 Bing Sports (Microsoft) 2.77% 0.52

Soluto

May 2013
* This column counts the % of users who launched this app at least once. ** This column looks only at users who launched this app at least once, and shows how many times a week it’s used among these users.


The No1 app, called “Windows Communications Apps”, is actually an app container that represents the following apps: Mail, People, Messaging and Calendar.

The right column shows how often people use each app every week on average. The vast majority of these apps are used less than once a week.

The data shows that while most people try the Windows Communications Apps, on average they are used less than once a day. Note that launching ANY of the 4 apps (Mail, People, Messaging and Calendar) counts as a use. Therefore, the 4.4 uses per week (on average) of these Apps reflects the aggregated use of all 4 apps.


Most engaging Metro apps
Where the data gets really interesting is if you examine the top engaging Metro apps. By engaging, we mean - among the people who used a certain app, how often they do so on average (we only included apps with a significant user base).
Across all form factors, these are the most engaging Metro apps:
App name Avg uses
per week**
1 Yahoo! Mail (Yahoo!) 26.91
2 Social Jogger (CyberLink) 25.98
3 Social Networks (CyberLink) 21.19
4 Lync MX (Microsoft) 9.98
5 Windows Communications Apps (Microsoft) 4.40
6 to-dos (gindasoft) 3.21
7 Microsoft Solitaire Collection (Microsoft) 2.13
8 Spider Solitaire HD (Bernardo Zamora) 2.11
9 Solitaire HD (Bernardo Zamora) 1.87
10 iHeartRadio (Clear Channel Management Services) 1.68
11 Windows Photos (Microsoft) 1.59
12 JewelFever (Sprakelsoft UG) 1.55
13 IM (SHAPE GmbH) 1.54
14 Microsoft Mahjong (Microsoft) 1.45
15 iStunt2 (Miniclip SA) 1.43

Soluto

May 2013

Yahoo! Mail is an extremely engaging app showing that Yahoo! Mail users 1) love Yahoo! Mail and 2) get along with the Metro interface.

At No2 and No3 come two Acer apps providing a social networking hub for the user, including access to Facebook and Twitter. Those two apps seem to be very highly engaging. Microsoft Lync at No4 finished the list of apps being used more than once a day on average.

Looking at this list it’s clear what types of apps dominate the engagement of users with the Metro interface: email, social networking, communication and games. When analyzing the most engaging apps across the different form factors, the same apps show up in the top 20-30, with small changes in places.


Yahoo! Mail Metro app
Seeing as Yahoo! Mail is the most engaging Metro app overall, we took a step further and analyzed its use across different form factors. The results are very interesting. In all 4 form factors (desktop, laptop, laptop with touch-screen, and tablet) Yahoo! Mail is the No1 most engaging Metro app. What’s surprising is that its highest engagement is on desktops, and it gets lower the more mobile the device is.

Yahoo! Mail uses per week

It’s especially interesting to note that Microsoft’s Mail app supports Yahoo! email as well, but people who install the dedicated Yahoo! Mail app are so much more engaged with it, and especially on desktops.

One explanation may be that Microsoft’s Mail app forces you to conform to the strict guidelines of the Metro interface, which in many cases just makes no sense from a user-experience perspective. The simplest example to explain this situation is the steps needed to add a Yahoo! account to your Microsoft Mail app. When you open the Mail app, you don’t have a visible way to add an account. On the bottom left there’s a message in the spirit of “To add an account, go to Settings and click Accounts”. But there’s no “Settings” anywhere to be found. If you “get” Windows 8, you know that you’re supposed to take your mouse to the top-right corner, wait for semi-transparent “charms” to appear, then carefully slide your mouse down (if you tilt it to the left the charms will disappear!), only then the word “Settings” appears - you can click it and then find the desired “Accounts”. For an average person, this is like crossing the desert. It’s worth noting that if you paid attention while installing Windows 8, you would have seen an explanation for the generic way of how to reach Settings from anywhere - but most people don’t install their own operating system, and if they do, it’s common knowledge that people don’t read anything in front of them - they just click Next Next... To make a long story short, an average chap opening Microsoft’s Mail app will have no idea how to add his Yahoo! mail. So he’ll download the Yahoo! Mail app instead and apparently enjoy it very much.


Conclusions
It’s difficult to draw a concrete conclusion here. There’s a consensus in the market that Windows 7 was a good, solid operating system, and it’s unclear why the change to Windows 8 was needed for those who are happy with Windows 7. Microsoft had to do something to compete with iOS, but we can’t explain why they also changed the experience for people who just wanted their Windows as it is.

On the other hand, another consensus in the market is that if you don’t innovate, you die. Microsoft had to innovate, and time will tell if their big bet was good or bad.

In the meanwhile, if you or your customers are into awesome new devices and have money to spare, get a Yoga or Twist or a Duo or just a slick, thin and light ultrabook running Windows 8.

If you’re pragmatic about using the Windows operating system with a keyboard and mouse - there’s no rush. Wait and see what “Windows Blue” has in store for us before you upgrade.

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Methodology
We took the 200 most popular Windows 8 OEM-branded PCs. This sample included 10,927 PCs, representing the following vendors (in alphabetical order): Acer, Apple, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Toshiba.

We had data from the following form factors: desktops, laptops with no touch screen, laptops with touch screen, tablets and convertibles. Since convertibles accounted for less than 1% of the sample, we disregarded them in this analysis, leaving us with 10,848 Windows 8 devices.

We then verified that the sample contained enough representative data - we looked at the average time we had data from each device - it was 27.4 days per device on average. Desktops had the lowest average (26.8 days) and touch laptops had the highest average (34.3 days). This number is significantly lower than our normal average across the entire user base, but it’s understandable that popular models running Windows 8 are relatively new. Regardless, this report is based on over a month of data from over 10k PCs.

Per form factor, we looked at the launch events of Metro apps aggregated across the app IDs. We could then analyze, for each form factor, how many app launches it sees per day, how many people launch Metro apps less than once a day on average, etc.

We could also look at the Metro apps being launched by most unique users per form factor, and the average times each user launched every app.

Disclosures - All rights reserved to ©2013 Soluto, Ltd. and/or its subsidiaries and affiliates. Soluto and PC Genome are trademarks of Soluto, Ltd. (“Soluto”). All other product names and trademarks are the trademarks of their respective owners. The data, technical information, measurements and other information contained in this document (the “Information”) is gathered and processed by Soluto, based on certain criteria, publicly available data, sampling and processing methodologies, used and learned exclusively by Soluto, is not based on any representation and/or warranty made by any other third party (other than publicly available technical data), and are believed by Soluto to fairly reflect the results of such process; however, Soluto does not represent that the Information is error free and disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, validity or completeness of the Information, and shall have no liability for any errors, omissions or inadequacies related to the Information. Further, you hereby acknowledge that any reliance upon such Information shall be at your sole risk. THIS DOCUMENT AND THE INFORMATION, ARE OFFERED “AS-IS”, AND SOLUTO SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ANY WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS OF ANY PRODUCT AND/OR SERVICE DESCRIBED AND/OR PRESENTED IN THIS DOCUMENT, FOR ANY PARTICULAR PURPOSE. This document and the Information contained herein is not intended to be taken as authoritative statements of fact, or an advertisement of any product, company or service. Soluto is the sole author of this document, which has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by any third party.
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