Microsoft has deployed its first batch of the Windows 10 on PCs, as a first step toward going universal – running the same OS and the same apps across all of its devices. The new OS is all shiny and fancy, as you might have expected, but it doesn’t change the user interface in any radical way, like Windows 8 did, but instead returned to the desktop and UI familiar to us all. I’d even go so far as to say that switching from Windows 7 to Windows 10 will be easier than from XP to 7. Some who have made the move say that the two versions of the OS are too similar to be true.
Perhaps the most important news about Windows 10 is its introduction of a new concept, the Universal App. I find the choice of the name a bit off, though – for an app to be truly Universal, it should run not just on all editions of Windows 10, but on previous versions of Windows as well. But hey, it was them, not me, who gave the apps this deceptive name. But back on track: Universal Apps will run on all editions of Windows 10, from the one powering the Xbox One consoles to the one running on phones and tablets. And this is a more important thing than you might think at the first sight.
First of all, let’s count: you can deploy your apps on an increasing number of desktop devices quickly. Last week the number of PCs running Windows 10 has grown over 25 million worldwide, not counting the pirated copies of the OS (which is already spreading, mind you). And if you take a loot at the Windows Store (the new one, under development), you will see the importance of the new kinds of apps for the future.
1. CPU support
The new apps will run on all platforms. Desktop and portable computers are using x86 and x64 processors, while mobile devices like tablets and smartphones are powered by CPUs based on the ARM architecture. The Xbox One console has an x86 CPU, meaning that your apps will run on that, too, and the HoloLens is most likely to be based on one of the above architectures.
2. User interface
With Windows 10 running on a whole range of devices, you won’t have to create a separate app for every platform – you will be able to do all the under the hood works once, and simply create an interface for smartphones, tablets and desktops. This will cut the time needed to deploy an app on various platforms.
3. Re-use code
Microsoft is making it easy for iOS and Android developers to deploy their apps on Windows 10 / Windows Phone through two new SDKs built with this purpose. Developers will be able to use their existing C++/Java/Objective C code to deploy Universal Apps on Microsoft’s platforms, use its services like Cortana, Xbox Live or live tiles.
4. Load websites inside apps
A great innovation, which “marries” the web with apps: developers will be able to access their websites from inside a Universal App, make use of notifications and in-app purchases, and list their apps (websites) in the Microsoft Store.
This will be a great thing for gaming platforms like the Royal Vegas online casino, allowing their users to access their 300+ excellent games directly from their app on desktop, or their over 100 mobile games from their appropriate browser-based platform. Besides, users will get notified of their daily specials and promotions just like they were software updates or incoming messages. And the Royal Vegas Casino has a lot to inform its players about. Its game library – currently having over 700 titles in its downloadable suite – is growing by at least one, but usually two or three new titles each month. Besides, the Royal Vegas offers some of the most interesting – and mouthwatering – promotions each month, offering its players the chance not just to win serious amounts of cash, but also real life prizes. One of their biggest was a 7 day Caribbean cruise for two, a promotion that returns year after year. Not to mention the special offers for existing players, that puts free cash in their pockets, and the tournaments in which they can enroll in to win even more prizes at the end of the day.
It is in Microsoft’s best interest to get more developers to deploy their content on their new platform. Through Universal Apps, mobile-first developers will have a quick and easy way to deploy their mobile apps on millions of desktops, no matter on which mobile OS it was originally built for. We will likely see previously iOS exclusive apps appearing on Windows 10 powered desktops, and Android-first releases making it on Windows 10 desktops before iOS. Which is a good thing – diversity is always a good thing. While Windows Phone might have a very small market share at this time – only under 3% of the smartphones are powered by this OS – if you also count all the desktops running Windows 10, it will be much more profitable to build Universal Apps, conquering new devices all over the world.