Microsoft's Windows 8 "Consumer Preview" is nearing release and the company is putting the finishing touches on the preinstalled application list. We have learned from sources familiar with Microsoft's plans that the company will bundle in a number of Metro style applications:

  • Camera
  • Messaging
  • Mail
  • Calendar
  • SkyDrive
  • People
  • Photos
  • Video
  • Music

These applications, and possibly more, will come preinstalled for the Consumer Preview release, and will be updatable from the Windows Store. Mail, Calendar, People, and Messaging are designed to be core Windows communications apps and are not branded with Windows Live. One source has revealed that Microsoft is working to enable SMS support for the Messaging app which operates as a Windows Live Messenger equivalent in its current form. The Music and Video applications are currently branded with Zune, but are built by the Xbox team. We are hearing that this branding will be removed shortly before the Windows 8 release, moving to Xbox Live for Windows as the entertainment brand for Windows 8 Music, Video and Games.

Although the applications are built into the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, Microsoft has not yet made a final decision on whether the apps will be bundled at launch later this year. The company previously removed Outlook Express, its built-in mail client, from Windows 7 and replaced it with the downloadable Windows Live Mail application in a broader effort to separate core Windows apps to make updates easier. Windows Store can handle separate Metro style app updates from the operating system, and Microsoft is said to be considering bundle plans for OEMs along the lines of the current preinstall option for Windows Live Essentials. Microsoft has also built an Xbox Live Companion application, similar to the Windows Phone version, that may come preinstalled in the Consumer Preview version too.