A few years ago, we started to see several popular developers beginning to un-bundle their mobile apps. Remember, Foursquare de-emphasized the “check-in” feature from its main app and ultimately stripped it from all the fun to create Swarm, a standalone social network mainly focused on check-ins.
Facebook, an even more popular developer also decided to push its massive user base to use its standalone Messenger app instead of the built-in messaging experience in its main app. This aggressive strategy was not well received at first, but today Messenger has reached 1 billion users and the app has become a pretty solid messaging solution by now.
What about Microsoft, you may ask? Well, the company makes some great all-in-one apps such as the desktop Outlook app that lets you manages emails, contacts, calendars, tasks and notes all in one place. On mobile, the company also used to emphasize “hubs” in the Windows Phone 7/8 era: there was Messaging hub for text messages, Facebook chat and MSN Messenger, a Photos Hub that integrated with OneDrive and Facebook, an Office Hub which regrouped Word, Excel and Powerpoint, etc.
However, the company seems to have hesitated over the years between all-in-one apps and task-focused apps. As an example, the Outlook Mobile app on iOS and Android is currently a full-featured app which handles emails, contacts and calendar. Microsoft even killed its standalone Sunrise calendar app recently after integrating its main features into Outlook, and we’re also not sure that the task management app Wunderlist also has a future as a standalone app while both Outlook and Cortana already have task management features.
On Windows 10 though, Microsoft used to favor task-focused apps such as the Outlook Mail, Calendar and People apps, or even the Messaging+Skype and Skype Video apps. However, you may be aware that the company has since changed its plans as the new Skype UWP app is expected to become an all-in-one messaging app on Windows 10 devices with the new « SMS relay » feature.
If you’re a Windows Phone user, you may not really care about this debate as one of the killer features of the OS has been the ability to pin some parts of an app on your home screen. Of course, it’s up to developers to allow this and even Microsoft is not always doing what seems obvious: as an example, we used to be able to pin Cortana reminders on the Windows Phone 8.1 home screen but it’s no longer possible to do it on Windows 10… why, Microsoft?
So, we want to ask you, dear readers: do you prefer to use all-in-one apps or task-focused app on your various devices? We can’t wait to see what you will respond in the poll below: