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Microsoft announces PC and mobile convergence with Universal Windows Apps

Coming soon to a desktop, tablet, laptop, television and wearable near you
Wed Apr 02 2014, 18:54
Asus Vivo Tablet RT Windows 8

OPERATING SYSTEM MAKER Microsoft has announced Universal Windows Apps, allowing a single app to run across Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 for the first time, with additional support for Xbox coming soon.

At the Build Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, the announcement of a single runtime capable of running across form factors was made by Microsoft.

Developers can use the language of their choice to create either a single app renderable across devices, or customised apps which still share the majority of code but work differently according to need. To enable this, a new version of Visual Studio has also been announced designed around Universal apps.

Office has been rebuilt from the ground up in Directx to become a Universal Windows App, demonstrated today at the Build Conference in San Francisco and running with the same functionality on both a Windows Phone handset and Desktop computer. 

Directx 12 is itself to become a cross platform API which Microsoft believes will allow Xbox One quality graphic rendering across PC and even mobile.

Internet Explorer 11 also becomes a universal app bringing WebGL along and with in-line video playback available on mobile for the first time.

With Xbox support comes a new version of Kinect for Windows to allow Universal Apps to take advantage of motion control. Javascript library Win js also becomes a cross-platform library and is being released as open source to Github.

The news marks a pre-emptive fightback against Canonical's Ubuntu Linux platform, which is due to converge its mobile, tablet and desktop operating systems during 2014.

The Windows 8.1 and Visual Studio Updates will be made available to developers immediately, along with a preview program for Windows Phone 8.1. µ


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