Universal apps coming to Windows Phones & tablets

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Just as Windows got a major overhaul with an 8.1 update last year, Windows Phone 8 is rumoured to make the decimal upgrade shortly after the annual Build developers conference in April. In trying to keep on good terms with the smartphone manufacturers and developers who support Windows Phone, Microsoft has already sent out the first software development kit (SDK) and the inevitable leaks have already begun. The SDK is essentially a compilation of the new version of the operating system with the tools that developers can use to create apps and that smartphone manufacturers can use to enable features in their upcoming phones.

The biggest change in the SDK is the ability to create ‘Universal’ Windows apps which run on both Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT, Microsoft’s tablet operating system. What it means for developers is that they will be able to create one app with shared HTML and JavaScript code but use different user interfaces depending on which device the app is installed on. Universal apps are something that Windows Phone’s rivals, iOS and Android, already allow. The move towards universal apps is one of the first steps in merging the phone and tablet operating system into a single OS, something Microsoft has alluded to in the past.

The good news for users is that the 8.1 update to Windows Phone is not just for the developers. Microsoft has included a host of new stuff in the update which will add some of the most requested features and fix some of the biggest gripes that have been nagging at the platform. A new feature to Windows Phone that Android users will be familiar with is the option to set a different app as the default messaging application. Multitasking is set to change as well with the ‘back’ button moving an app to the background instead of exiting it as well as being able to exit apps from the multitasking menu by swiping them down instead of trying to hit the ‘X’ icon.

The Verge gathered up a host of leaked screenshots of Windows Phone 8.1 which we have in the gallery below.

[Source – The Verge]

David Greenway

David Greenway

David is a technology enthusiast with an insatiable thirst for information. He tends to get excited over new hardware and will often be the one in the room going "Its got 17 cores, 64GB of RAM and a 5" 4K flexible OLED display, oh it makes phone calls too?" Currently uses: Too many phones. Wants: World peace... and more phones.