What you need to know about Windows 10, UWP, and desktop apps

Is Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform a stepping stone to more modern Windows 10 apps or recognition that traditional PC applications are the foundation of Windows?

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Caughey also points out that tablets are changing the way enterprises are thinking about mobility; it’s not just about smartphones. “We’re seeing desktop and mobile blurring. It’s not uncommon for ‘desktop’ machines in the enterprise to be tablets or hybrids similar to the ones pioneered by Surface and now built by a number of OEMs. So, yes, there will certainly be desktop usage of UWP, but many of those ‘desktops’ will also be mobile. As far as traditional mobile devices — we’ve offered mobile point-of-sale solutions based on Windows CE or Windows Mobile that are still in production, but they’re gradually being replaced by inexpensive Windows tablets, which run full Windows so they’re ‘desktop’ PCs from the software angle. This trend was probably facilitated by business experiments with iPads, but Windows tablets are a natural choice in many enterprises, which tend to historically be Microsoft shops with Microsoft skill sets. I see this trend continuing.”

Kleynhans says the real appeal of UWP apps could be the way they can take best advantage of new hardware, particularly Surface Dial and tablets, rather than more niche platforms like Surface Hub or HoloLens.

“Dial is a totally new way of interacting that makes so much sense. It’s an analog device in a digital world. This is a terrific opportunity that opens up whole bunch of new ways to work. I’d like to see new UWP apps leverage that and use it in new ways,” Kleynhans says. Imagine switching from 2D plans to 3D renderings and back, revealing the structure of a building you’re looking at, at the turn of a dial.

Kleynhans expects two-in-one devices like the Surface and Lenovo Yoga will become "the gateway and the enabler for UWP" because of things like pen and touch — new ways you can interact with applications. "When you can start to sketch with your pen and do some of the other things [UWP brings], you can truly switch an application from working in desktop to tablet mode as you’re wandering around the office or going to a work site."

“When we start seeing apps that can work in multiple modes on the same device when they’re written as a UWP app, that’s when I think we’ll start to see more use of UWP, as companies start to plan out the next versions of some of their PC-based applications,” Kleynhans says.

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Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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