Microsoft has said that it sees the future as mobile-first and cloud-first, but the features of the upcoming Windows 10 operating system show that they have no intention of leaving desktop users behind.
Microsoft has one clear message for app developers: They want universal apps that work equally well on the desktop, tablet, smartphone or Xbox. They have a vision of One Microsoft with the experience across all devices being seamless.
At the recent Mobile World Congress, the company unveiled their Windows 10 Universal App Platform to developers. Developers who have signed up for the Windows Insiders program can get to work right now creating apps to appeal to all users.
As an Office user, I have a desktop version of Office 365 installed on my PC, I use the Office 365 Android App on my phone and separate apps for Word and Excel on my tablet. Under the Universal App concept, only one app purchase would be required and that app would work on my desktop, phone, tablet or even my Xbox gaming console if wanted to view some documents on my television. If Microsoft’s vision proves true, the apps will adapt to the screen layout of the device I’m working on. They will display one way on my smartphone and another way on my large-screen monitor.
The controls for the apps will also work differently depending on the input method. They’ll respond one way to a mouse click and another if you’re using a touchscreen device. Many Windows 8 users felt that apps catered to those using touchscreen devices and for some programs like Internet Explorer, you needed two version of the same program installed on the same device.
If Microsoft can accomplish bringing apps to the Windows Store that seamlessly switch between devices, they could end up kick-starting sales of Windows Phones, which have struggled next to iPhones and Android models.