Microsoft Looks to Unify Development for Xbox, Windows, and Windows Phone
September 20, 2013 4:30 PM
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Microsoft wants you to be able to run any app in all three ecosystems
Microsoft Corp. (
) currently curates three environments -- Xbox, Windows 8, and Windows Phone 8 -- all of which have different development libraries and require a lot of work to port from one to another.
But Microsoft hopes that with the
Windows/Windows Phone 8.1
releases, these platforms can be brought together to the extent that a developer can make single app that can run on all three devices. That's the vision
new Windows Chief Terry Myerson
formerly the head of the Windows Phone unit
as Microsoft reorganizes following the
acquisition of phonemaker Nokia
) and the
pending departure of CEO Steve Ballmer
a Financial Analysts meeting
, he remarked:
The first of those [beliefs] is that we really should have one silicon interface for all of our devices," he said. "We should have one set of developer APIs on all of our devices. And all of the apps we bring to end users should be available on all of our devices. [We want] to facilitate the creation of a common – a familiar – experience across all of those devices, but a fundamentally tailored and unique experience for each device. [We] should have one set of developer APIs on all of our devices.
Of course it may be impossible to escape some sorts of optimizations for more serious apps; after all Windows Phone is a very different screen size, while Xbox has extra media and gaming hardware resources.
Critcs complain about Microsoft's lack of a unified tablet/phone Windows Store.
Some are surprised that given Microsoft's push of various apps including the Office Suite to the cloud that it still lacks a single unified app store for its tablets and smartphones. Apple, Inc. (
) already has such an app store. Microsoft might be able to follow a similar model to Apple in order to deal with the screen size problem --
allowing phone apps to run on the tablet
, in upscaled form -- while making higher definition apps tablet/PC exclusive.
It's important to understand that at this point it's just talk -- we have no idea when Microsoft's unified environment will actually be ready for the market. But Microsoft already has
a unified interface
(the Modern UI, aka "Metro UI") across all of its upcoming devices, so we're not that far off. Microsoft's many developers should prepare themselves for this shift.
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RE: What will come of this?
9/21/2013 11:41:30 PM
The interface or the SDK is not the problem. The platforms are the problem.
The usage patterns for a XBox, a PC and a Phone are very different, and I don't really think a single application would make sense on all 3 platforms at once. And even if there could be some specific examples, the vast majority will not fit the bill.
The amount of work required to create new, unified APIs is incredible, and getting developers to follow and use this new API is even harder.
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