Microsoft recently introduced support for a new type of app: Universal Windows Apps which can run on pretty much any modern Windows device including phones, tablets, and desktop or notebook computers.

Developers can distribute Universal Windows Apps through the Windows Store, and when customers buy an app they get a license to run it on multiple devices.

Now some of the first universal apps is available.

Halo Spartan Assault
Halo: Spartan Assault

Microsoft’s Halo: Spartan Assault and 17-Bit’s Skulls of the Shogun are each available for $4.99. Buy either game from the Windows Store or the Windows Phone Store and you get a license to run it on a phone or tablet.

Want to try a universal app for free? Microsoft’s Minesweeper, Solitaire, Wordament, and a few other games are now universal.

Not only will these apps dynamically resize graphics and other elements to fit the size of your display. But they use Microsoft’s cloud services so that your scores and other achievements are synchronized across devices.

Microsoft plans to enable support for Universal Windows Apps on the Xbox One game console eventually, but at this point the apps are only available for devices running an operating system with Windows in the name.

via WP Central and PC World

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11 replies on “Universal Windows apps arrive, run on PC, tablet, or phone”

  1. Can’t wait till they are on XBOX. Hopefully companies like Amazon and HBO (who have historically supported XBOX but not the windows store) will make universal apps for XBOne which will be able to run on the PC as well.

  2. Universal apps are definitely a good thing. You buy one app and it works on all your Windows devices. Too bad for me, I’m an Android user and if I’m going to try a new phone OS then it might be Ubuntu Touch. I am planning on getting a Windows 8 UMPC though. If I ever buy a Windows Phone in the future then it’d be nice to save some money on app purchases since I’ve already bought them for my UMPC.

  3. This is the real shortcoming of chromeboss/OS in my opinion. Going from Windows to out you can lose a lot of functionality, and if you’re going from Android you lose the great app selection and access to any apps you might have bought. If Google deigned to try to make Android work on more form factors, while keeping apps compatible (now of that “sorry, you’re device isn’t ‘compatible’ despite having the same GPU and cpu and more than enough ram” bunk), they could meet this challenge head on. As is, Windows now has a great theoretical advantage.

  4. Interesting but I have reservations whenever Microsoft does something that seems overtly friendly to consumers.
    Hope springs eternal.

  5. Finally! This should have been a core feature when Microsoft released WP8 and WindowsRT. Now all they need are usefull apps instead of only games.

    1. My thoughts exactly. There’s nothing like competition
      and getting one’s teeth kicked in to get the noggin
      synapses firing. juices. Microsoft should have learned
      its lesson from Apple in the latter’s 2 desktop platform
      transitions, from Motorola 680×0 to PowerPC, and from
      PowerPC to Intel, way earlier.

      However, just because a program can run doesn’t
      mean it should. Someone said that Desktop programs
      look awful on small screens. Well, better (too) late than never?

    2. What types of useful apps are you looking for?

      I’ve always thought that WP8 apps were pretty good besides games, though Windows 8 apps haven’t been that impressive aside from the ones from Microsoft and Bing.

      I’d like to see more serious apps in the Windows store like a more robust Sketchbook app, Photoshop, Dropbox, Box.

      I’d also like to see Amazon music, video and cloud apps as well as Google gmail, hangouts and drive… but the absence of these has more to do with Google and Amazon than Microsoft’s development environment and tooling.

      1. It’s an ongoing process… This is just the first signs of payoff since they started this project over two years ago… Unfortunately, they had to develop the proper infrastructure to support all of this and there’s still more work to be done before it’s all finally seamless…

        For more serious apps, many are still holding off because MS still has to provide a more viable app ecosystem to ensure both demand and capabilities for developers to take advantage of…

        MS is trying to jump start this by providing a ModernUI/Metro version of Office, which should then pave the way for others to start doing the same…

        Mind, all the other developments like working on making live tiles interactive for greater functionality are all part of this effort and it’s ongoing…

        1. I agree, it’s all ongoing and the progress Microsoft has made is not trivial. It’s pretty interesting to see how things have been improving for both the OS and for developers.

          I hope that developers jump in and develop more universal apps. I’m also a developer and when I look at the 3 main options (iOS, Android, Windows) it’s Windows that is the most interesting at the moment, but I think the lower marketshare of Windows Phone and Windows App Store app usage scares developers away.

          1. Yes. The platform looks promising and has some pretty neat ideas, but I know a grand total of 1 person with a Windows Phone device.

          2. And I know many. There’s no doubt that Windows Phone has low market share. It has something like a 2 or 3% worldwide share, but does better in certain countries, even reaching 10%.

            It’s up to developers and consumers to decide whether or not they want to go with Windows, but if everyone made their decision based on popularity it’d be a pretty dull world.

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