At Build, mobility gets a boost with universal Windows apps

Microsoft's pricing model and revenue sharing will change with universal apps

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But Gold said Microsoft has been trying to consolidate app development for years. "The vision of one code base for all platforms is nice, but it won't happen in the short term due to the need for optimizing the OS to each device," he said. "That means there will continue to be specific apps and environments for different platforms for three to four years, at least."

Several analysts said Microsoft needs to eventually combine the Windows Store and the Windows Phone Store to attain the ultimate unified app environment.

Having a single store "would make it much easier for users in discovery and management of apps," said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Kantar Worldpanel.

But Gold said that there's still some appeal to keeping phone apps separate from other Windows apps, in separate stores. "Phone users often want to go to a specific place to find apps, like going to a specialty store like a sporting goods store instead of a full-blown retailer like Walmart," he said.

Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, said he would have liked it if Microsoft had talked more at Build about what's known as "modularity" -- a concept that applies to scenarios where a user with a phone or phablet could walk into an office, place the device on a desk and have it connect wirelessly to a display, mouse and keyboard with all the data processing done on the phone with connections to the Internet and cloud data and services.

Moorhead said that unified apps are a kind of modular development approach to enable apps to be written once for many devices. "In that scenario," he explained, "it is easier to work with or watch content on any device."

This article, "At Build, Mobility Gets a Goost With Universal Windows Apps," was originally published on Computerworld.com.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

See more by Matt Hamblen on Computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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