Microsoft Bringing Universal Apps to Xbox One

Microsoft Bringing Universal Apps to Xbox One

Universal Windows Apps 310x

New Windows apps will run across the entire Microsoft ecosystem with minor tweaking.

During today's BUILD Conference, Microsoft announced that it would be bringing universal apps to all of its operating systems. In short: developers will be able to deploy the same app, with minimal tweaking, to any device running Windows 8.1, any phone running Windows Phone 8.1, and the Xbox One.

The Universal Windows Apps initiative should make app development across multiple Microsoft platforms a breeze, relatively speaking. It also means you won't be buying the same app two or three times for different Microsoft devices, while all data related to the app or game (save files, in-app purchases, etc.) will be synced via The Almighty Cloud. You might have to buy an all-access pass to use the app on multiple devices (it's up to the dev at the moment), but there won't be the same kind of fragmentation that still exists between iOS and OS X.

Tools provided by Microsoft will enable developers to tweak app settings -- form factor, resolution, mouse or touch input -- without dramatically changing the rest of the app's code. Controller and Kinect input will also be available if developers want to bring apps to the Xbox One.

This could be a serious shot in the arm for Windows Phone, which has been languishing behind Android and iOS for years. Being able to use your Windows apps on your phone, with minimal cost and headache (theoretically), could very well boost sales.

What say you, Windows users? Will you take Windows Phone seriously now that the promise of universal apps exist? Or will you be sticking with Android and iOS for the foreseeable future? Let us know on the forum.

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I already have a few things I really like about windows phone actually, it's very efficient as a platform and does bring your accounts together nicely, it's terrible if you like playing with your phone though, it's great if you just want to get shit done on it.

Still stick to android at the moment though..

I, along with pretty much everybody else in existence, thought that this was the entirety of the reason they trashed the traditional windows layout for Windows 8.

I also have a feeling that we were promised this kind of cross-platform unity quite a long time ago.

They have simply left it too late, this should have been a core feature of the Windows 8 operating system on release.

Even with universal apps they will never catch up to the 1,190,107 android apps and 1,000,000+ Apple apps in existence, nor are they doing themselves any favours by so heavily restricting the hardware requirements for Windows phone, it's hard to stay competitive when your competition is using 2.5Ghz quad core and 2.0Ghz Octa core processors and the highest thing you are able to run is a 1.7Ghz dual core on aging architecture.

Been thinking about getting a Windows Phone based, uh, phone for a little while now, and this (and Cortana, too, because why not?) has given me another reason to do so. However, for sheer number of apps and games, iOS and Android still rock the house, so still in a wait and see position at the moment.

Good news for current users, though. It really is "Windows Everywhere" with this announcement.

So essentially all desktop applications are about to get borked to hell with touch screen interfaces?

This is Microsoft, they never get stuff right on purpose.

fix-the-spade:
So essentially all desktop applications are about to get borked to hell with touch screen interfaces?

This is Microsoft, they never get stuff right on purpose.

Nope, this applies to Modern (Metro) apps only. Desktop programs will not be affected.

frizzlebyte:

fix-the-spade:
So essentially all desktop applications are about to get borked to hell with touch screen interfaces?

This is Microsoft, they never get stuff right on purpose.

Nope, this applies to Modern (Metro) apps only. Desktop programs will not be affected.

Not only that, but they've finally officially announced Windows 8.1 Update 1 (8.2? 8.1.1?), that greatly benefits the desktop user and is pretty much made to bring back all the "missing features" of W8. Also, the start menu is coming back, although unsure if that's for 8.2 (8.1 update ?) or W9.

What apps?

And as a Win8 user, I can state that the Metro apps are vile garbage for anything that's not a touch-screen interface. Unless you love simple little programs taking up your entire screen real-estate and being clunky and unwieldy.

NLS:

frizzlebyte:
Nope, this applies to Modern (Metro) apps only. Desktop programs will not be affected.

Not only that, but they've finally officially announced Windows 8.1 Update 1 (8.2? 8.1.1?), that greatly benefits the desktop user and is pretty much made to bring back all the "missing features" of W8. Also, the start menu is coming back, although unsure if that's for 8.2 (8.1 update ?) or W9.

It was the 8.1 update that came out last fall that added the start menu and brought 8 more into line with previous releases of windows. Windows 9 is only a rumor for the time being (but I would wager that they're working on it in a mad dash effort to keep themselves relevant).

OT: I've had a windows phone for about a year now and I absolutely love the little thing (you still won't catch me with windows 8 on anything else I own, though): glad to see microsoft is finally pulling their head out of their ass about trying to force people into purchasing different levels of hardware by artificially restricting what they can do. I kind of hope they improve the ability for the phone to work with the 360 and xbone; it's kind of neat to use it as a remote control.

Now if only they'll add bluetooth keyboard support to my damn phone I'll be all set.

Don't know how this will work out for the Windows Phone or Windows 8 but for the XOne, this is really exciting.

It already felt like Microsoft was trying to stretch itself too thin with designing one OS for desktops and tablets, trying to get apps to work on a monitor, TV, tablet, and phone with various possible input methods just feels like too much to me. Still, I think maybe it could work as long as apps are labeled based on what platforms they're optimally designed for, kinda like how Steam labels games based on whether they work with a controller.

Jumwa:
What apps?

And as a Win8 user, I can state that the Metro apps are vile garbage for anything that's not a touch-screen interface. Unless you love simple little programs taking up your entire screen real-estate and being clunky and unwieldy.

Doesn't that fall onto the creators of the apps though? While it's true most Metro apps are clearly designed for touch, it's not like there's any rules against creating apps for a mouse and keyboard, or ones with UIs that can switch between modes.

Well, considering I have an Xbox One and plan to get Windows 8 once I get another hard drive for my PC, this could be interesting for me.

Whatislove:
I also have a feeling that we were promised this kind of cross-platform unity quite a long time ago.

WinCE had universal apps (remember WinCE?). Back when you could get WinCE devices that ran on MIPS, ARM, x86 as well as some other CPUs, microsoft actually had a "universal" binary (some sort of bytecode) that ran on any of them. Later on they scrapped all other cpu support apart from ARM and ditched then universal binaries with them.

Later on, when Microsoft first announced XNA, it was supposed to be the thing that lets you run the same games on you phones, desktop as well as the brand new xbox.

Those are the two examples I can think of.

So yes, your feeling isn't exactly wrong..

As for running touchscreen-based apps on your xbox with a controller.. um.. that sounds even worse than using them with a mouse.

ah, so the core windows 8 launch features are finally arriving. 2 years late. Why does this feels like a trend nowadays?

It really makes you wonder what the next version of windows will be, do you really think they would go back on this kind of stuff? I doubt it, which for me means that windows is even more dead to me then it already was. I just don't see what I'm getting out of this other then even crappier PC software. But if you where the head of microsoft why would you go back on any of this? After all, the future is all about connecting devices right?

Fucking shoot me already.

So anything that can hack/exploit an app on one platform can now do it on all their platforms!

Awesome! That roar you hear is the sound of millions of Chinese and Russian hackers having a collective orgasm.

Olas:

Doesn't that fall onto the creators of the apps though? While it's true most Metro apps are clearly designed for touch, it's not like there's any rules against creating apps for a mouse and keyboard, or ones with UIs that can switch between modes.

Which leads back to the first part of what I said: there are very few apps to begin with. And what few exist are not made for running on anything but touchscreen mobile devices. And Microsoft's official apps are among the worst. Skype for Metro is abysmal, and far worse than the desktop PC version.

So I don't see this being a big deal, not now, not any time soon.

I think I'll just wait for Google to release a desktop version of android that can run Linux programs and Android apps. There's already several apps I'd rather use on Android and Linux than bother with finding a Windows equivalent

Jumwa:
What apps?

And as a Win8 user, I can state that the Metro apps are vile garbage for anything that's not a touch-screen interface. Unless you love simple little programs taking up your entire screen real-estate and being clunky and unwieldy.

As Win8 user with a touch screen laptop I can confirm they are still shit. I very much enjoy UC bowser on my android tablet so I figured I might as well sell my soul and personal information to Microsoft so I can use Metro apps and what do you know, it has less features than the android version. Even IE for Windows 8 doesn't have multi touch gestures. Wtf Microsoft. I have an 11 inch screen in front of me that fits my entire hand. I can do more than swipe from sides

Its ridiculous how shit Windows 8 still is on a touch laptop. If you want to do pc stuff you still have to do everything on the desktop which is still designed for a keyboard and mouse. ZorinOS 8 is probably the best OS I've used with touch functionality simply because it has touch scrolling and made clickable icons a little thicker so I can hit them with my finger. Boom. That's all you need. Make buttons thicker without oversizing everything and you have an OS that works with both touch and keyboard and mouse

flying_whimsy:
It was the 8.1 update that came out last fall that added the start menu and brought 8 more into line with previous releases of windows.

No it didn't. It just added a button that took you back to the same Metro screen you got by pressing the Windows key. You can right click on it and get some useful context menus, but right clicking on the blank space does the same thing in 8.0

glad to see microsoft is finally pulling their head out of their ass about trying to force people into purchasing different levels of hardware by artificially restricting what they can do.

Me too it. Almost seems like the new CEO is trying to do damage control for the last decade of crap. Seriously, Windows phone and Windows RT to run on mobile processors? Why did they make 3 different OS's with no incompatibility?

PoolCleaningRobot:
-snip-

Ah, my mistake. I don't have windows 8 on anything besides my phone and since I have no plans to get it, I haven't been following the news as closely as I probably should have regarding the return of the start button.

And that CEO has a lot of damage control to do between the catastrophic windows 8 roll-out and the xbox division's less-than-stellar results. I hope they can turn things around soon or else they'll go the way of netscape and altavista: still there but completely irrelevant in the modern tech setting.

flying_whimsy:

PoolCleaningRobot:
-snip-

Ah, my mistake. I don't have windows 8 on anything besides my phone and since I have no plans to get it, I haven't been following the news as closely as I probably should have regarding the return of the start button.

To be fair when 8.1 came out, EVERY news source was touting the "return of the start menu!" I assumed it was legit until I read fine print that it just links to the metro screen

And that CEO has a lot of damage control to do between the catastrophic windows 8 roll-out and the xbox division's less-than-stellar results. I hope they can turn things around soon or else they'll go the way of netscape and altavista: still there but completely irrelevant in the modern tech setting.

Microsoft is a bit like Nintendo where they might be losing money, but they're so damn rich they'll be fine for years. I certainly hope they turn their ship around. Windows has so much pull that Microsoft releases garbage everyone has to deal with it

PoolCleaningRobot:
Microsoft is a bit like Nintendo where they might be losing money, but they're so damn rich they'll be fine for years. I certainly hope they turn their ship around. Windows has so much pull that Microsoft releases garbage everyone has to deal with it

A few years ago I would have said the exact same thing, and while it is true that they have the money to absorb this kind of loss, the computer industry as a whole is not so fortunate. Windows 8 has coincided with the biggest decrease in pc sales ever (and I've heard it pointed to as the cause more than once, though I think it is more complex than that). And with the recent announcement that some manufacturers are going to start selling desktops that dual-boot with windows 8 and the android OS (or just going back to Windows 7), it's a sign that the industry may not be willing to put up with microsoft's mistakes anymore.

8 came about because the market was in a vulnerable position with tablets and other smart tech on the rise, but microsoft's general incompetence with it has done more harm than any of the things it was designed to counter. The overzealous pushing of windows 8, the xbone's attempt to control the entire living room experience, and programs like office switching to a yearly subscription model are all signs of microsoft's desperation to maintain market dominance, and they've only succeeded in pushing consumers farther away. I honestly thought they'd learned after vista backfired so horribly and they lost some of those anti-trust lawsuits.

I was wrong.

...Crap. This probably means they're going to continue the "unified platform" bullshit that gave us Windows 8 in Windows 9, aren't they...?

Look, Microsoft... Can I call you Mike? I understand it's a big scary world out there, and Google and Apple seem to be coming to take your lunch. But this whole "we can be a cross-hardware platform, too" thing isn't winning you converts; it's just undermining the reasons people continue to use your platform with a GUI and "features" that are alienating to everyone who wants to use a computer like a computer and work with software rather than "apps".

What Windows has is a relatively open field where people can make what they want without either having to push it through Apple's approval or worry about whether it will work on a hundred different versions of Android hardware, all with different versions of the main OS, different powered hardware, and different screen resolutions. No one wants to buy Windows-branded apps, any more than anyone was keener to buy a game because it had Games For Windows branding. If you keep going this route, making it harder for independent creators to work with your platform, they're not going to cave in and make Windows apps. They're going to go to one of the other guys, who already has a far broader market share than you possess in the fields that you covet.

If you grow to a whopping 6% of the phone market in the U.S. but half your computer base throws in the towel, you lose. Period. Game over. Ballmer is gone; it's time to rethink his "fight to the death" leadership postions, before it's too late.

 

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