Windows 10 arrived yesterday, and with it came a renewed push by Microsoft to provide a one-stop app store experience for practically every software need and Windows device class.
The company's so-called Windows Store sports more than a new coat of pixels; it serves as a unified marketplace for a wide variety of hardware devices that will be running the operating system in the months and years ahead. "The Windows 10 Store is the first app store in the industry designed to provide a single platform for delivering the full range of apps, games, software and services that generate an economy estimated at $300 billion annually to the many types of devices that people rely on today—PC, tablet, phone and soon IoT [Internet of things], console and holographic," Todd Brix, general manager of Microsoft Windows Apps and Store, said in a statement.
Windows 10, available now as a free upgrade for millions of users, also comes in an IoT version for low-power sensors and other connected devices. A mobile version is in the works and the company's upcoming HoloLens augmented-reality headset is also powered by Windows 10.
Tying those platforms together is the company's Universal Windows Platform, which allows developers to target multiple device classes with minimal changes to the underlying code. If Microsoft reaches its lofty expectations for Windows 10, Windows Store can help those Windows developers commercialize their wares, and perhaps narrow the gap between the store's app catalog and the more popular Apple App Store and Google Play marketplaces.
"First and foremost is the expected Windows 10 reach of 1 billion Windows 10 devices across PC, tablet, phone, Xbox, HoloLens, Surface Hub and IoT over the next two to three years," he said. "Those 1 billion customers will experience a single store across their Windows 10 devices where they'll enjoy new and updated apps built on the Universal Windows Platform."
In addition to opening up app submissions for Windows 10, Microsoft has updated its developer tools, Kevin Gallo, vice president of the Microsoft Windows Developer Platform, wrote in a company blog post.
Along with the official public build of Windows 10 yesterday, the company also released "the final version of the Windows 10 developer tooling," Gallo announced. "Today's tools release updates Visual Studio 2015 to provide everything you need to build, debug and submit apps to run on any Windows device running the Universal Windows Platform."
The updated release to manufacturing (RTM) version of Visual Studio 2015 contains "a few goodies" that help developers target more devices and build better-looking apps, Gallo said.
They include a Windows 10 Mobile Emulator that "takes advantage of your PC's graphics hardware (GPU) to make the screen render faster. It provides a faster and more responsive debugging environment using Microsoft RemoteFx," Gallo said. The technology also offers "rich XAML designer support for creating user experiences tailored for the device," he added.