Microsoft Windows 8 App Store reveal imminent

Microsoft is expected to reveal its Windows 8 app store plans this week, detailing how it will challenge Apple's thriving third-party download ecosystem with its new breed of notebooks, desktops and tablets. The unveil will come at an event on Tuesday, Fox News reports, and is expected to offer free and paid apps along with trial versions and in-app payment systems, just as on Microsoft's Windows Phone platform.

However, legacy apps for the traditional Windows desktop won't be supported: instead, the store will offer Metro-style software. Legacy software will show up as a landing page within the store, linked to developers' sites, while brick & mortar sales of boxed apps – as well as third-party download sites – will still be supported.

The Windows 8 Store was confirmed in the pipeline several months ago, indeed the icon – though not the functionality – was present on the Windows 8 tablet we previewed back in September. Microsoft has refused to comment on its exact setup until this week, though.

Third-party Metro apps will become particularly important as Microsoft pushes the tablet potential of the new OS. The first such slates are expected to show up in the second half of 2012, with Samsung and ASUS both tipped to be readying models. The initial batch will run on x86 processors from Intel and AMD, though the Windows 8 on ARM project will see Samsung, Lenovo, Sony, Acer and other manufacturers reportedly weigh in with versions running on NVIDIA, Texas Instruments and Qualcomm chipsets in mid-2013.

What's still unclear at this stage is whether ARM Windows 8 models will be able to run legacy apps at all. Rumors that they would not began last week, amid suggestions that only Metro apps would be supported, though Microsoft is yet to confirm either way.