Microsoft announced at its Build conference, that Universal Windows apps can integrate with Cortana. The virtual digital assistant will be able to launch apps with natural language.
With the Windows Phone 8.1 update in the hands of developers in the form of a preview, Microsoft has chosen to release some of its own apps that take advantage of the new OS features and the APIs. Movie moments, a basic video editing app that takes advantage of the video editing APIs and reading List, a Read-it-later style service, have been made available for Windows Phone 8.1 as universal apps on the store. These apps were part of the Windows 8.1 update that launched for the bigger screened devices in October last year, which means we are finally starting to see some parity within Windows. If you are one of the many developer preview users, download these two apps from the Windows Store and test them out –
Just after rolling out the Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview, universal Windows apps, the key factor Microsoft aims to attract developers with, are already starting to show up on the store. Microsoft announced this new addition, along with several other enhancements to the developer side of things on Windows Phone, in a blog post today. Developers can now link their Windows Phone apps and Windows apps, as Microsoft has unified the Store front on both the platforms, with the same pricing and even streamlined in-app purchases. Apple has been allowing universal apps between the two form factors iOS is based on, but Microsoft is taking it to another level with support for all of its consumer platforms that occupy a wide range of form factors, from phones to tablets to desktops and even its Xbox gaming console on a TV.
Among the myriad of announcements Microsoft made at its Build 2014 keynote is one small but highly important detail. With the Windows Phone 8.1 operating system moving to a WinRT layer, all the Microsoft platforms now run on the same runtime, which includes all the devices like a PC, a tablet, a phone, and yes, even the Xbox One. Powered by a common runtime, developers will be able to target all these devices with a shared set of code that will work across all the platforms, like for example notifications, in-app security and so forth. This also means that users can buy an app from one store and use it on another, although the interface will change according to the form factor.