Microsoft Unveils Windows 10 Universal App Platform to Attract Developers, Strengthen Windows 10 Appeal
How developers and SMBs are likely to benefit from the changing Windows ecosystem
On March 2, 2015 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Microsoft took the wraps off of their Windows 10 developer platform strategy and universal app platform, bringing into clearer focus how the Windows 10 ecosystem will operate. The announcement has implications now for developers and down the road for small and mid-size businesses (SMBs), eMazzanti’s primary customer base.
In a Microsoft blog post dated March 2, 2015, Kevin Gallo, Director of Windows Developer Platform at Microsoft shared these details in a “first look” at the new Windows universal app platform.
- The platform enables one app to run on every Windows device, including Xbox and new devices, HoloLens, Surface Hub, and IoT devices.
- The platform will provide easy access to device specific functionality such as a phone dialer.
- The announced goals for the platform are 1) Driving scale through reach across device type, 2) Delivering unique experiences, and 3) Maximizing developer investments.
- The platform will support a number of screen sizes and interaction models, including touch, mouse & keyboard, game controller or pen. The flexibility will reduce the need for developers to build multiple apps for multi-modal devices, desktops and web.
- One Windows core and the universal app platform will power all “mobile experiences” or interactions started on one device and continued on another, including all of their screens.
- The platform enables a new class of Windows universal apps that are written once, with one set of business logic and one UI.
- Apps will be delivered to one Store in one package to reach every Windows 10 device the developer wants to reach.
Gallow cites evolving user preferences as a driving force for the convergence of Windows into one core and one developer platform. He says users want “experiences to be mobile across ALL their devices” and to use whatever device is most convenient at the moment. The preference shows up in overlapping top Store searches across device types.
The universal app platform also includes these capabilities:
- UI adapts to the user’s input mode and available device capabilities.
- User controls appropriate to the device being used.
- Easier to create more adaptive experiences for small and large screens.
- Easy to incorporate speech, gestures, inking, and user gaze inputs.
- Access to Cortana AI, OneDrive, and Application Insights cloud-based services.
- Apps will appear in Cortana search results.
Gallow explains how everything works together by telling us that the universal app platform is at “the heart of Windows 10” in addition to a number of in-box apps, the Windows Store, and the ‘Project Spartan’ browser. It’s an impressive package that Microsoft has created to attract more developers and enhance the appeal of Windows 10, expected later this year.
Benefits for Developers
Because apps developed for the universal app platform can run on all Windows devices without modification, developers are likely
to get more mileage from their investments in new app and web code. Instead of developing and maintaining multiple versions, they will save time and money by authoring, delivering and maintaining only one version for all Windows devices.
With this announcement, Microsoft is also showing that it listens to developers. The announced intention that Windows 10 will continue to support existing Windows apps and desktop applications on the devices for which they were developed means that developers will be able to extend their existing investments in code and skills.
Finally, a number of Windows 10 advances for the web will help integrate websites into the universal app ecosystem. Windows 10 will make it easy to package and publish a website to the Store as a web app. A new rendering engine will work across platforms and, not surprisingly, the ‘Project Spartan’ browser is a Windows universal app itself.
Benefits for SMBs
It’s not hard to imagine the benefits that will accrue to SMBs down the road as Windows 10 and the universal app platform gain momentum. If the platform attracts a large number of developers, as anticipated, then a wide variety of apps to benefit SMBs will soon appear with the attraction of cross-platform operability.
Undoubtedly, app generators will be created that allow a business to easily build and maintain one “app” as their website, mobile, and tablet customer portal. Custom apps for SMBs will also be easier to create. Businesses that take advantage of such capabilities will be able to attract more business due to a consistent user experience across all devices, something surveys reveal that customers want.
Other capabilities that we can’t yet imagine are sure to come as well. They may include new ways to interact with products on devices, creating a more immersive, personalized customer experience that follows the customer across all devices, from their office desktop to home tablet to smartphone to in-store electronic display.
New types of interactions with IoT devices will make our lives, possessions and work environment all more connected. Opportunities for SMBs to profit from IoT technology will likely increase. From this announcement, it appears that Microsoft wants to be at the center of our connected world.
Perhaps the most significant benefit for SMBs is the equalizing effect the universal app platform could have an on small and large businesses. By standardizing the user experience across devices it will become easier for the smaller players to look and interact with customers like their bigger competition. That’s a boost that every SMB CEO can appreciate.
eMazzanti Can Help
eMazzanti is ready to show business leaders how modern Windows technology and productivity tools will open up new growth opportunities for companies. Improve productivity and flexibility by taking advantage of our Microsoft technology expertise and managed IT services. To explore the options, please contact eMazzanti Technologies at [email protected] or call 1-866-EMAZZANTI.
About eMazzanti Technologies,
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