One of the biggest new features coming with the launch of the new Windows 10 operating system on the 29th of July is the official, public launch of the new unified app store which will offer apps for a variety of devices running Windows 10 including PCs, Windows Phones, Xbox One, Microsoft Band as well as functioning as a digital store for music, movies and TV shows all from within the same virtual store hub.
An early iteration of the unified app store has been available for just over a week now for those enrolled in the Windows Insiders program and have early versions of Windows 10 already running on their computers. The public launch of this store, along with the release of Windows 10, promises to be a more solid representation of Microsoft’s image for the store though and will also bring with it the ability for developers to submit their new and/or improved apps designed in the new Universal Windows Platform (UWP) format.
This new format for apps, often referred to as simply “Universal Apps” was first announced earlier this year and allows developers to design apps in a single format that can be automatically scaled to function on multiple platforms without the need for any reprogramming, thus saving developers money, time and resources. An example of how these Universal Apps work would be the many modern websites that look different when viewed on a mobile device when compared to a desktop computer. The website designer has no need to design two separate versions of their site from scratch. The site design simply changes automatically when it detects it’s being viewed on a specific device. Universal Apps work the same way.
Microsoft has been releasing regularly updated previews of the Windows 10 SDK for a while now and as a result several apps have already been upgraded to early versions of the Universal App format such as the popular personal finance app, Mint which works on both Windows Phone and Windows PCs. These same tools have also been used by many app developers to test for bugs in their current apps to make sure they run smoothly in a Windows 10 environment.
The public launch of Windows 10 and the new unified app store will also bring with it the final version of the developer .NET tools and Microsoft’s new .Net Native compiler which allows apps to run faster with less memory requirements and to be processed as a single application on the Windows 10 platform. This is a massive change from previous programming languages which were specifically designed to create programs for specific devices and systems and required much more memory. With the use of the new .Net Native, apps should be able to use around 15% less memory and run roughly 30% faster according to Microsoft officials.
Windows 10 users can expect more and more Universal Apps to begin to populate the new store in the weeks following the launch of Windows 10. One of the bigger ones to arrive will be Microsoft’s new Office Universal Apps for Windows 10 which have had a complete redesign from their current Windows 8.1 versions.
Are you excited for the formal arrival of Universal Apps on the 29th of July or are you more indifferent? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.