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In Pictures: Windows 8's 8 top apps (so far)

The launch of the Windows 8 beta also means the launch of the Windows 8 App Store beta. Here are our top early picks from Microsoft's store

  • Soluto This app turns you into remote tech support for your family's and friends' PCs (so you may want to make sure you're up for playing that role before installing Soluto). You can install apps, stay up to date with silent app updates, get important hardware info, defrag, and clear disk space no matter where you are -- even if the PC you’re helping with is turned off or in another country. And the people you're assisting don't even need to do anything (which, again, you should make sure you're OK with before signing up for that tour of duty). Soluto can be used for free with as many as five PCs.

  • SigFig SigFig is an app for managing your entire investment portfolio. It not only gives you the standard charts and graphs, it can provide advice on how to avoid fees, which investments you should dump, and which market opportunities to jump on. It also features an overview dashboard that presents all your investment holdings in one place so you can see the big picture.

  • News Republic News Republic is one of the most popular news reader/aggregator apps around. It pulls in stories from far and wide, but it more important, it uses filters and keywords to give you a high signal-to-noise ratio so you don't have to wade through nonsense to get to the stories you care about. And if you really like a story, News Republic lets you share it via Facebook and Twitter.

  • SkyDrive Of course Windows 8 is going to have an app for Microsoft's cloud storage service. With SkyDrive, you can store your files and access them from virtually any device. And when it comes to documents, you can view, edit, and share them using Office Web Apps.

  • Evernote Evernote is your does-it-all notepad app: You can jot down anything and everything that comes to mind, record audio you want to save for later, and even take pictures. Your Evernote account synchronizes among your Windows 8 device, iOS or Android smartphone, iOS or Android tablet, and the Web, allowing you to find your memories at any time from anywhere.

  • mSecure mSecure has one simple goal: To help you manage your myriad -- and constantly changing -- passwords. It uses 256-bit Blowfish encryption and provides both prefab templates and the ability to create your own templates for managing usernames, passwords, account numbers, and all those other little bits of info you need.

  • The first apps you should get for Windows 8 Windows 8's public beta is out, with more than 1 million copies downloaded. One of the main attractions to Windows 8 is its simplified Metro interface and the tablet-style apps its meant to run. InfoWorld has gone through the initial selections in the Windows Store to choose eight apps any business user should get first. Discover our selections here.

  • Elements OK, so this isn't quite a business app, but it's always helpful to know the weather so you can prepare for your commute and/or travels accordingly. After all, nobody wants to get stuck in a rain shower unprepared.

  • AT&T Communication Manager The Communication Manager helps you stay on top of your AT&T-network mobile device -- you can view how much data you've used (and how much you have left), including roaming data use, and check on your next bill cycle. The app also lets you connect automatically to AT&T Wi-Fi hot spots to save on cellular data usage and to activate service plans.

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