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Windows 8.1 ‘opens the floodgates’ for a huge landscape of device access

Windows 8.1

In an official Windows App Builder blog post, Microsoft showcases one of the “exciting” improvements in Windows 8.1. With Windows 8.1, access to a huge landscape of devices is now possible through the support of several new and innovative device protocol APIs.

“One of the most exciting improvements in Windows 8.1 Preview is opening the floodgates for device access. While Windows 8 supported certain device scenarios like print, sensors, and geolocation, access to arbitrary devices was limited to dedicated device apps. This changes dramatically in Windows 8.1 Preview. We support several new and innovative APIs like Point of Sale (POS), 3D printing, and scanning, and—through device protocol APIs–open up access to a huge landscape of other devices,” Microsoft stated in an official blog post.

Device protocol APIs, a feature that is new to Windows 8.1, allows for app developers to create an app that communicates with a device over protocols such as USB, HID, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Smart, and WiFi Direct. The principle behind making this work is a simple process. Developers need to identify the device using metadata and open a communication channel to the device. Opening the channel prompts the user for consent and once access is granted, the app can communicate with the device.

“Windows 8.1 Preview provides rich support for apps to communicate with devices. By integrating standard devices (e.g. printers, sensors) or even custom devices seamlessly into your apps, users can enjoy a fast and fluid way of interacting with their favorite devices,” Microsoft adds.

Head over to the source link to learn more about creating apps that leverage device protocol APIs, if you are an app developer.

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