How has Windows 8 app selection grown in the past year?  Checkout this Start screen comparison and see for yourself.

A little over a year ago, there were almost no apps at all (kudos to WordPress for being one of them).  Aside from the obligatory mail and calendar apps included, the pickings were slim. Even the Facebook tile, pictured here in a screenshot from one of my first Windows 8 videos, was merely a shortcut to the Facebook website and not a rich app. Every coffee-colored tile below is a desktop program.

Windows 8 Start Screen
Then: September 1, 2012

Today, there are hundreds of thousands of apps to choose from. In this recent screenshot, only a handful of tiles are desktop apps. I make great use of them — who could work without the Adobe and Office suites? — but the selection of Windows Store apps is overflowing with excellent first and third-party choices I use often even on my non-touch computers.

Windows 8.1 Start Screen
Now: December 14, 2013

Though video and media apps make up the majority of the additions I’ve made to my Start page, my favorite of the new additions is the long-form reading apps: news, fitness, Nook, Kindle, food & drink, NextGen Reader (powered by Feedly) and more.  If you prefer bite-size bits of news, all the social apps you’d expect are (finally) here.

There are some other surprising yet very welcome additions as well. Not pictured above is the official Mint.com app from Intuit.  Mint had previously and very publicly abandoned Windows Phone development, but has now come back on both Windows Phone and Windows 8/RT with very polished apps, including Live Tiles that update with your recent expenses.

I’m thrilled to see even those who might have abandoned Windows plans coming around to the platform, a trend I’m sure is in part due to the ease of development compared to some other mobile platforms.  Here’s hoping that this trend only accelerates and picks up other hold-outs like Cisco, whose WebEx meeting app is sorely needed in the Windows device world.