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Windows Phone, tablet (RT/Win 8.1), and traditional computers (RT/Win 8.1) will all share some common ground

Today, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) added some final details about its new "Universal Apps" program which will adds unified developer options across Windows Phone 8.1, Windows RT 8.1, and Windows 8.1 (smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops).
 
First off, Microsoft added a few new general options that app developers will surely appreciate.  For the previously announced unified developer registration (across the various Windows device platforms) it announced it will now accept a credit card alternative -- specifically eBay, Inc.'s (EBAY) PayPal.  It also now allows developers to reserve names of their upcoming apps up to 12 months in advance.
 
Second, it offered consolidated app options that make it easier for developers to deploy to multiple platforms and for consumers to partake in those various offerings.  Also included are a set of universal pricing tiers, which will allow customers to pay once and download a participating developer's app on all Windows platform.  Developers also have the option (and are encouraged) to make in-app content universal (so purchase on one platform and you'll get it on you installations on all your devices).
Halo Spartan Assault
Tired of getting stuck with low-res. downloads for apps you've already purchaed?  Microsoft's new Universal Apps let developers offer a single purchase that gives customers access to the highest definition app package on any compatible platform.

Looking ahead, this could provide Microsoft with a key competitive advantage over Google Inc. (GOOG) and Apple, Inc. (AAPL), which typically force you to rebuy apps on each new kind of device if you want the latest and greatest experience (iOS developers allows you to download previously purchased iPhone apps on iPad, but iPad-specific versions of apps require repurchasing).  
 
Even though Windows Phone's market share is virtually nonexistent, if customers can buy a Windows Phone and get access to most/all their favorite Windows 8.x apps for free, it seems many will be much more likely to take the plunge.
 
Developers have the ability to set one set of permissions and the app certification policies have been made homogenous across the various tiers.  To support a specific kind of device developers need only upload a "package" which will be available to download on compatible devices via the Windows/Windows Phone Stores.
 
The store will automatically select the appropriate package.
 
Windows Phone developers may wish to use the older Silverlight technology ("xap" packages, or *.xap files), which Microsoft is still clinging to, but with the latest and greatest Windows Phone 8.1, they now have the option to move to "AppX" (*.appx) style packages.  With AppX packages, developers can write a single app that is auto-customized for various platforms by Microsoft's APIs.  Obviously some developers will want to put in the extra work to specify explicitly optimal user interfaces for their app for each applicable screen size and input kind.  But for small businesses and casual app developers this is a potential game-changer.

IE 11 cross platform

Microsoft is now offering helpful reminders at submission time to prevent developers from forgetting to submit a privacy policy, a common (and frustrating) cause of rejection for first-time Windows/Windows Phone developers in the past.

Finally, Microsoft has redesigned its Dev Center for Windows and Windows Phone to offer better guides to creating apps for developers of a variety of skill levels.  And it has promised to cut down on submission times.

We'll have to see how well all of these things work out in practice, but as with the recent Windows 8.1 Update 1 (which added improved mouse and keyboard support), Microsoft definitely appears headed in the right direction.  In the long term it plans to integrate Xbox apps into its Universal Apps platform.  With the large Windows and Xbox market shares, it may be able to drive growth synergistically in the tablet and smartphone space.

Source: Windows Blog



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Noone cares
By Nyanyanya on 4/15/2014 8:42:33 PM , Rating: -1
Who cares, Microsoft has already lost the mobile battle beyond recovery, they should stick to what they used to do good, desktop OS, and fix the mess they made with W8.




RE: Noone cares
By inighthawki on 4/15/2014 8:51:51 PM , Rating: 3
You're right. Why bother? Android shouldn't have even attempted to compete with iOS because it was the market leader. Linux and OSX should also just give up, because we don't need competition.


RE: Noone cares
By StevoLincolnite on 4/15/2014 9:08:08 PM , Rating: 3
People said that the iPhone wouldn't gain traction.
People said that Android wouldn't gain traction in the face of iPhones massive success.

It's not over until Microsoft exits the market.


RE: Noone cares
By dagamer34 on 4/15/2014 9:14:27 PM , Rating: 2
Even *if* Windows Phone never amounts to greater than 5% marketshare, you should still want competition because it drives other platforms to innovate faster. Plus, really great features from other operating systems get copied all the time. iOS Notification Center? Done in Android first *4 years prior*. Ability to launch camera from the lock screen? First done in Windows Phone. Card view multi-tasking? webOS. Gestures to move back a screen? BlackBerry 10.

No one should actively wish for the death of a competitor.


RE: Noone cares
By amandahugnkiss on 4/15/2014 10:17:19 PM , Rating: 3
Technical dolts who don't realize what potential this can have won't care.

Those who have learned that building nothing but mobile apps in an overpopulated market place may not pay the bills will care. Those who realize MS has made a sh1tl02d of money for a sh1tl02d of developers, them and said developers both will care. Everyone who developed apps for the desktop who can now have many more devices to release on with just a little extra work will all care. Since these people care so will customers who see what the advantages a connected platform can offer. Throw in the years of battle-worn security knowledge, an already huge customer base, and a nice head start in building a fully connected environment and you have what might be one of the best environments around (for both devs and end users).

Apple, Google, Intel, MS Shareholders, Yahoo, VMware, and <any other tech company> also care.


RE: Noone cares
By Labotomizer on 4/16/2014 11:32:51 AM , Rating: 4
Don't know why this is so hard for people to understand... Microsoft provides the entire stack like no other vendor does. From mobile to PC to hypervisor to database to messaging to collaboration to hosted infrastructure. Heck, they even provide ERP.


"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive














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