Microsoft’s Windows is still holding the long standing crown in laptop and desktop operating system usage around the world. However when it comes to mobile devices, Windows does not yet have the same presence as iOS or Android. With its current 2% market share in phones and tablets, Microsoft is trying to create an environment which makes app development as easy as possible. Microsoft has provided developers with an ecosystem of tools, in a single service, that can reach all platforms and all devices.
Earlier this week, Microsoft announced its release of Windows 10 preview SDK, to allow developers to create web, mobile, business and API apps for the upcoming Windows 10 platform. Expected in the second half of this year, this universal operating system will allow apps to be compatible across multiple devices including PCs, tablets and phones as well as across all platforms.
The release has come as a surprise, with the announcement expected at Microsoft’s Build Developer Conference on 29 April. It has been brought forward to give developers enough time to interact with the platform and to encourage iOS and Android developers to start using the platform to create apps. The early announcement has been made in the hope that iOS and Android developers will port their software to it.
Alongside the Windows 10 preview SDK, Microsoft also launched the Azure App Service, a new cloud based service that gives developers a single service for building mobile and web apps. By combining Microsoft’s existing tools, such as Azure Websites, Mobile Service and BizTalk Services, app development can be made easier. This single platform integrates all the appropriate services and can provide efficiencies in the development process.
Microsoft’s strategy with Windows 10 universal apps platform is to create a comprehensive ecosystem for app development that will give companies an incentive to create apps using this particular platform. The incentives will come in the form of cost savings and time savings achieved through cross platform development for various devices. However, it is important to remember that when companies look at developing an app it is vital to understand who your users are and the devices they are using. At the moment, with Windows Phone and Tablet usage representing 2% of the market, there isn’t much demand for Windows apps, especially in the the consumer space. However, there is significant potential for Windows in the enterprise space. With the ability to develop universal apps, therefore reducing development and deployment time, developing for Windows could pose a viable option for companies; especially if company devices are provided for employees.
Microsoft’s new platform may go a long way to making developing for Windows a more appealing options for developers. However, special consideration for UX and UI will still have to be given, to ensure optimal user experience across devices and platforms. Ultimately, Microsoft’s announcement is designed to play a vital role in Microsoft’s larger strategy to increase the adoption of the Windows platform and Microsoft services; but only time will tell on whether it will deliver real value for companies.