Microsoft working on a game changer to bring more apps in the Windows ecosystem

windows 10 family1Microsoft just recently posted a job listing which has an intriguing invitation for its applicants. The invite is for them to apply for a job in which a team is working on creating something “game changing” in bringing apps to the Windows platform.  It’s a pretty well-known fact that the Windows app store lags behind the iOS and Android app stores and it looks like Microsoft is very well aware of that and has a plan.

We all know by now that Windows 10 is unifying all the Windows app stores across phones, tablets, PCs, Xbox, IOT devices and even its giant Surface Hub just unveiled recently.  Microsoft is making it very easy for developers to create universal apps for the entire Microsoft ecosystem of devices and we have heard that they are working on ways which will make it easier for developers to port iOS and Android apps to the Windows platform and vice-versa.

This is a major step in achieving proper app support and excitement from developers who will now have a massive target audience as they target the entire Windows user-base across all device types.  This in-turn is an essential part in creating a viable and healthy 3rd ecosystem which is a daunting task these days.

However, Microsoft isn’t prepared to put all its eggs in one basket and surely has a plan B in case this doesn’t pan out as expected.  Plan B has to be the enabling of Android apps to run on Windows mobile devices, but if it comes to this, it must be implemented well.

Windows 10 will be a critical release for Microsoft and lots of planning and restructuring of the company has occurred in the process of what Windows 10 is set to be.  This release is aimed to change its perception among users and developers and it will be a very interesting time for the company and the tech industry to see what unfolds but everything so far looks like they have a winner on their hands.

Check out the job posting below:

 Do you want to be the game changer in bringing more apps to Windows platform?

Our team is building next generation application platform that will change how Windows devices and services are perceived and received by our customers and developers. We are enabling an app platform that can enrich Windows in incredibly fast and efficient ways for our developers.

We are looking for a Senior Program Manager with expertise on Windows as well as competitors app platforms. Do you have experience writing apps on different platforms? Would you be able to articulate the pros and cons of each platform’s APIs, tools, documents and release process? You do not need to know every competing platform, but do need to have a deeper understanding in at least one of the competitors app platforms and associated cloud services.

We are looking for people with a ‘can-do’ mindset, great interpersonal skills, and strong technical background to back it up. You’ll need to understand the details of your features and stretch from specs, to evangelism, to design, to owning integration across groups while working closely with development, quality, and management. You will need adaptability, flexibility, and the ability to acquire new skills on-the-fly. A proven track record of defining, designing, specifying, managing, and shipping hardware/software technologies is a must. We’re focused on shipping quickly and often in a V1 environment, so we’re looking for someone who can drive and make the right things happen when plans are changing and not all the systems are in place.

Mandatory qualifications

o   Proven Program Management of complex hardware and software integration projects

o   A strong technical background and the ability to “go deep” in your feature area

o   Relentless customer focus

o   Knowledge of the app market and industry, competitors and customer needs

o   Ability and vision to anticipate future demands and competitive trends

o   The ability to partner closely with internal and external partners

o   BA/BS degree in Computer Science or related technical equivalent and 6+ years of industry experience

Microsoft is an equal opportunity employer.  All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, national origin, marital status, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, or any other protected status.

 

Source: Microsoft Careers via Neowin

 

Microsoft saw a 110% increase in app downloads & sales in the Windows app store for 2014

Windows FamilyWindows Phone had a rough start in sales during the first half of 2014 due to the uncertainty around the Nokia acquisition and lack of new devices.  With such a rough first half of the year, many negative articles started popping up and were beginning to write-off Microsoft’s mobile OS.  However, as Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s Devices and Services was completed, things started to look a lot more positive as sales started to pick up in Q3 2014 and many new devices hit the market.

Nevertheless, the slow sales in the first half of 2014 didn’t impact the massive amount of first-party apps and growth the Windows Phone Store had achieved, as 2014 provided the most significant increase in official apps the Windows Phone Store has ever seen. With Microsoft rallying developers for Windows 10 and the promise of Universal apps, Todd Brix, General Manager of Windows Apps and the Store Team has revealed some positive stats about the Windows App store:

“We began the year with a commitment to create opportunities for developers with Windows Store. We made good progress by both attracting over 30% more active users and by exceeding a 110% year-over-year increase in app downloads and gross sales. In addition the ecosystem has grown, with an 80% increase in registered developers and 60% increase in app selection year-over-year.”

He continued on to say that Microsoft’s goal in 2015 will be to provide a platform where developers can be successful, and the focus on Universal apps and the unified Windows 10 platforms will be a major factor in achieving that goal.

Brix talked about five key areas where Microsoft remains focused on helping developers stay on track and take advantage of Windows 10.  These areas include expanded payment options in emerging markets with carrier billing and enhanced monetization options of apps where the exec noted that “we are increasing our focus on in-app advertising to help improve fill rates and grow developer revenue.”

Increasing options for app discoverability with UI changes and offering more promotion for Windows apps are also important factors which he mentions. Brix finishes off with the final two key areas of focus which are to make the Windows platform accessible to all developer skill levels while simplifying and unifying app development to save developers time.

Source: Microsoft

Roku app is now available for Windows Phone 8 & Windows 8.1

Screenshot_355599_100000Roku and Microsoft have teamed up to release the official Roku App which is now available for download on Windows Phone 8/8.1 and Windows 8.1.

35d81f5d-f0d2-44f3-8503-22ceaa34a22fThe app will automatically detect all Roku devices on the local Wi-Fi network. The app will also display installed Roku apps/channel which can be launched with just a tap, and last, but not least, the app will allow you to fully control your Roku player with an on-screen remote control – this neat feature can perhaps eliminate the extra controller on the coffee table.

Roku is a popular, easy to set up streaming player that features a wide variety of streaming video content. “Roku makes it easy to enjoy the hottest movies, TV shows, music, games and more on your TV. Millions of people use their Roku players every day to watch their favorite entertainment instantly and on demand.” according to Roku. Some of the popular streaming apps included with Roku are Netflix, Amazon instant video, huluplus, HBO GO, Pandora and more.

Download Windows Phone 8/8.1 Roku App here
Download Windows 8.1 Roku App here

 

Roku app is now available for Windows Phone 8 & Windows 8.1

Screenshot_355599_100000Roku and Microsoft have teamed up to release the official Roku App which is now available for download on Windows Phone 8/8.1 and Windows 8.1.

35d81f5d-f0d2-44f3-8503-22ceaa34a22fThe app will automatically detect all Roku devices on the local Wi-Fi network. The app will also display installed Roku apps/channel which can be launched with just a tap, and last, but not least, the app will allow you to fully control your Roku player with an on-screen remote control – this neat feature can perhaps eliminate the extra controller on the coffee table.

Roku is a popular, easy to set up streaming player that features a wide variety of streaming video content. “Roku makes it easy to enjoy the hottest movies, TV shows, music, games and more on your TV. Millions of people use their Roku players every day to watch their favorite entertainment instantly and on demand.” according to Roku. Some of the popular streaming apps included with Roku are Netflix, Amazon instant video, huluplus, HBO GO, Pandora and more.

Download Windows Phone 8/8.1 Roku App here
Download Windows 8.1 Roku App here

 

50-80% off Apps/Games for Windows/Windows Phone: Maps Pro, Rayman Fiesta Run & more

During this week’s Red Stripe Deals, Microsoft is offering some deep discounts (50-80% off!) for many great apps and games in the Windows and Windows Phone Stores. Here are the deals:

Rayman Fiesta Run

Rayman-Fiesta-Run_thumb_0E2476F4A follow-up to the popular Rayman Jungle Run, Rayman Fiesta Run has you lunging for cocktail umbrellas, leaping on limes, bouncing on sausages, and punching piñatas across more than 75 levels of fun! This week you can get it for 67% off—just $.99 on Windows, and $.99 on Windows Phone.

Windows Store: Download “Rayman Fiesta Run” Here
Windows Phone Store: Download “Rayman Fiesta Run” Here

Maps Pro

Maps-Pro_thumb_4182CB01Why buy another mapping app? Because Maps Pro isn’t limited to a single map source—it works with multiple mapping styles, like Google Street View, Nokia, OpenStreetMap, and Bing Maps. It also offers offline maps, and voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation with directions for driving, walking or cycling, and can interface directly with your external Bluetooth GPS device. This comprehensive mapping app is regularly priced at $4.99, but with 80% off this week, you can get it for just $.99 in the Windows Store.

Windows Store: Download “Maps Pro” Here

Skateboard Party 2

Skateboard-Party-2_thumb_3E72FDBDMaster over 40 skateboard tricks and hundreds of amazing combos. Use the tutorials in Skateboard Party 2 to practice and learn at your own pace, and then compete with other skaters online. Works with an Xbox game controller, on-screen touch controls, or accelerometer (tilt) controls, if your hardware supports it. Get it for 50% off this week, just $.99 on Windows as well as $.99 on Windows Phone.

Windows Store: Download “Skateboard Party 2” Here
Windows Phone Store: Download “Skateboard Party 2” Here

Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood (Full)

Enigmatis-2_thumb_189F680BThe second in the popular Enigmatis mystery series, The Mists of Ravenwood gives you lots of spooky details, stunning plot twists, and 55 beautifully hand-drawn locations set in the redwood forests of Northern California. Normally $6.99 on Windows, you can get it this week for half off: $3.49 on Windows and $1.49 on Windows Phone.

Windows Store: Download “Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood (Full)” Here
Windows Phone Store: Download “Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood (Full)” Here

Miriel’s Enchanted Mystery

Miriels-Enchanted-Mystery_thumb_40D431CEIn Miriel’s Enchanted Mystery, a charming casual time management game for kids 3 and up, you’ll bake bread, make potions and colored cloth, and use powerful spells to complete tasks. Once complete, you can use what you’ve earned to buy more products and skills and make things even more interesting. Download it for $1.49 on Windows and $.99 on Windows Phone.

Windows Store: Download “Miriel’s Enchanted Mystery” Here
Windows Phone Store: Download “Miriel’s Enchanted Mystery” Here

Dictionary Pro

Dictionary-Pro_thumb_6255F20EThe super comprehensive Dictionary Pro app offers 14 languages online or offline, with instant translations, and (online only) access to medical, legal, and financial dictionaries, thesauri, acronyms, abbreviations, idioms, and encyclopedia content. You can also play word games, listen to audio pronunciations, and check out interesting daily articles on words and their origins. Get all of this, ad-free, for $1.99 on Windows.

Windows Store: Download “Dictionary Pro” Here

Source: Windows Blog

50-80% off Apps/Games for Windows/Windows Phone: Maps Pro, Rayman Fiesta Run & more

During this week’s Red Stripe Deals, Microsoft is offering some deep discounts (50-80% off!) for many great apps and games in the Windows and Windows Phone Stores. Here are the deals:

Rayman Fiesta Run

Rayman-Fiesta-Run_thumb_0E2476F4A follow-up to the popular Rayman Jungle Run, Rayman Fiesta Run has you lunging for cocktail umbrellas, leaping on limes, bouncing on sausages, and punching piñatas across more than 75 levels of fun! This week you can get it for 67% off—just $.99 on Windows, and $.99 on Windows Phone.

Windows Store: Download “Rayman Fiesta Run” Here
Windows Phone Store: Download “Rayman Fiesta Run” Here

Maps Pro

Maps-Pro_thumb_4182CB01Why buy another mapping app? Because Maps Pro isn’t limited to a single map source—it works with multiple mapping styles, like Google Street View, Nokia, OpenStreetMap, and Bing Maps. It also offers offline maps, and voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation with directions for driving, walking or cycling, and can interface directly with your external Bluetooth GPS device. This comprehensive mapping app is regularly priced at $4.99, but with 80% off this week, you can get it for just $.99 in the Windows Store.

Windows Store: Download “Maps Pro” Here

Skateboard Party 2

Skateboard-Party-2_thumb_3E72FDBDMaster over 40 skateboard tricks and hundreds of amazing combos. Use the tutorials in Skateboard Party 2 to practice and learn at your own pace, and then compete with other skaters online. Works with an Xbox game controller, on-screen touch controls, or accelerometer (tilt) controls, if your hardware supports it. Get it for 50% off this week, just $.99 on Windows as well as $.99 on Windows Phone.

Windows Store: Download “Skateboard Party 2” Here
Windows Phone Store: Download “Skateboard Party 2” Here

Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood (Full)

Enigmatis-2_thumb_189F680BThe second in the popular Enigmatis mystery series, The Mists of Ravenwood gives you lots of spooky details, stunning plot twists, and 55 beautifully hand-drawn locations set in the redwood forests of Northern California. Normally $6.99 on Windows, you can get it this week for half off: $3.49 on Windows and $1.49 on Windows Phone.

Windows Store: Download “Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood (Full)” Here
Windows Phone Store: Download “Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood (Full)” Here

Miriel’s Enchanted Mystery

Miriels-Enchanted-Mystery_thumb_40D431CEIn Miriel’s Enchanted Mystery, a charming casual time management game for kids 3 and up, you’ll bake bread, make potions and colored cloth, and use powerful spells to complete tasks. Once complete, you can use what you’ve earned to buy more products and skills and make things even more interesting. Download it for $1.49 on Windows and $.99 on Windows Phone.

Windows Store: Download “Miriel’s Enchanted Mystery” Here
Windows Phone Store: Download “Miriel’s Enchanted Mystery” Here

Dictionary Pro

Dictionary-Pro_thumb_6255F20EThe super comprehensive Dictionary Pro app offers 14 languages online or offline, with instant translations, and (online only) access to medical, legal, and financial dictionaries, thesauri, acronyms, abbreviations, idioms, and encyclopedia content. You can also play word games, listen to audio pronunciations, and check out interesting daily articles on words and their origins. Get all of this, ad-free, for $1.99 on Windows.

Windows Store: Download “Dictionary Pro” Here

Source: Windows Blog