Microsoft Launches Windows Azure Toolkits for iOS, Android and Windows Phone

Microsoft has announced a set of toolkits for developers to create applications that access the Windows Azure cloud platform from devices including the iPhone, Windows Phone and Android.

Microsoft has announced a set of toolkits to further enable developers to build device applications that take advantage of Windows Azure, the Windows Azure Toolkits for Devices.

Microsoft announced Windows Azure Toolkits for Devices, consisting of assets for Windows Phone, iOS and a preview of tools for Android. Using the toolkits, developers can use the cloud to accelerate the creation of applications on the major mobile platforms. Companies, including Groupon, are taking advantage to create a unified approach to cloud-to-mobile user experience.

"At Groupon, we recognize that people aren't tied to their computers and want to get deals-whenever and wherever they happen to be," Michael Shim, vice president of Mobile Business Developer & Partnerships at Groupon, said in a statement. "Taking advantage of the Windows Azure Toolkits for Mobile Devices, we can rely on a common back-end to create consistent, next-generation mobile experiences like real-time notification services that integrate into each phone's home screen and app experience."

In a blog post on new toolkits, S. "Soma" Somasegar, senior vice president of Microsoft's Developer Division, said:

"More and more applications that are being built today touch the cloud in some way, shape or form. It could be as simple as consuming a service or some data that resides on the cloud. It could be writing parts of the app logic on the cloud. In a world where we believe in a set of connected experiences across a variety of devices, the cloud plays an integral role. I have been talking for a while now about Windows Azure as a great back-end for application experiences that span multiple platforms and devices. Putting data and logic within Azure services means each device application you write has less unique code, so you can reach more consumers, faster."

And in a separate post on the new Azure toolkits, Jamin Spitzer, senior director of platform strategy at Microsoft, said:

"The toolkits leverage the cloud to simplify the complexity of supporting multiple devices. As a common back-end, developers can use cloud services to share common requirements like device notifications, authentication, storage and even higher-level services like leaderboards. At the same time, developers can maximize the performance of each mobile device by writing client code that exploits each platform. As more and more mobile applications rely on back-end services, the cloud can become increasingly useful and strategic for developers."

With version 1.0 of the Windows Azure Toolkit for iPhone, developers can begin writing iPhone applications on the Windows Azure platform without having to have intimate knowledge of Microsoft tools, such as Visual Studio. Compiled iPhone code libraries to interact with Windows Azure, a sample iOS application, documentation, and a "Cloud Ready" Windows Azure deployment package are included, Spitzer said.

And new features in version 1.2 of the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone include integration with the Windows Azure Access Control Service, full support for Windows Azure Storage Queues and an updated user interface for the supporting Web application.

Meanwhile, the preview of the forthcoming release of the Windows Azure Toolkit for Android developers can extend the functionality now available for iOS and Windows Phone to the Android platform.