Last month we reported that Windows Store has crossed 50,000 apps over the store for Windows 8 and Windows RT Platform.Less than a month after that the store has crossed another 10,000 apps.
According to the latest stats from MetrostoreScanner,the Windows 8 and Windows RT store now accounts for 61,313 apps for the new emerging platform from Microsoft.The United States regional Windows Store now accounts for 42,084 apps in their regional store while the China regional Windows Store has 40,102 apps in the store.
If we take a look at the Store apps category wise the Entertainment category still leads with over 8200 apps closely followed by Books and Reference category with over 8,000 apps and Games category with over 7,800 apps in the Windows Store.
Microsoft recently had opened up a lot of initiatives for the developers and for enthusiasts to help them bring their apps to the store with programs like Ideapress which converts the WordPress blog into a full fledged Windows Store app.
With Windows Blue rumors floating around the web and some reports suggesting that the company is planning to unify both Phone and PC Operating Systems,we can expect a flood of apps making their way to both the Windows Phone and Windows Store platform in coming months.
Dave Methvin, president, jQuery Foundation said,
With the release of Windows 8 Developer Preview back in September, Microsoft asked developers across the globe to start creating metro style apps for the new OS. With that, Microsoft also launched Windows 8 App Developers blog for all the information that was required to develop apps.
However,with the release of Consumer Preview, Microsoft made a considerable amount of changes, which certainly affected the apps which were build for Developer Preview. A new post on the Windows 8 Apps Developer blog sheds some light on this issue of migrating your apps which were build for Developer Preview to Consumer Preview. According to this post, by following some simple steps you can easily migrate your apps from Developer to Consumer Preview compatible.
John Sheehan, Partner Architect on the Windows Development team mentions these guidelines to follow:
Create a new project in Visual Studio and pick the template that most closely resembles the UI of your existing app.
If the new Item Templates support the contracts and features you need, like the File Picker contract or the Search contract, use them instead of trying to reuse your existing code.
After you reconstruct the basic elements of your UI using the new templates, migrate your visual and audio assets from your old project into your new one. Limit the additional code you bring into the project to just be the custom business logic that was at the heart of your app.
Finally, begin to stitch your new UI (structured with the new templates) to your visual and audio assets and to your back-end logic.
By following these steps, you’ll naturally incorporate many of the changes into your app’s code.
Lastly, he adds,
“This post is meant to get you started, but it only covers a small sample of the changes we’ve made to the development platform. As I suggested throughout the post take a look at //Build to Windows 8 Consumer Preview in the Dev Center to get detailed info on how to migrate your app to the Consumer Preview. “
With the availability of Windows 8 consumer preview today, the users can now access Windows Store. Bing team has today released three Bing powered apps for Windows 8 namely Finance, Weather, and Maps.
All these apps were made to be compatible with touch and as well with keyboard functionality. The weather app allows you to view weather with hourly, daily and even 10 days forecast. The finance app lets you view the key market indices via live tiles and the last app is the maps app which allows you to find different places. You can pinpoint various places, get directions, see traffic conditions thorugh this app.
Here is what the blog post has to say about these apps-
The Windows 8 Consumer Preview, ready for download, previews 3 Bing-powered apps: Finance, Weather, and Maps. Each Bing app was designed for touch devices and offers mouse and keyboard functionality. A key focus for us at Bing is helping people get things done more quickly and these visually organized, intuitive and dynamic apps do just that.
All these Bing powered apps are very user friendly and rich graphics has been used.
This may be a question which every developer may be thinking as how they would be submitting their apps to Windows store. Today Microsoft has posted on the Windows Store for Developers blog showing step by step instructions as how to submit the apps to Windows store.
The blog post states that Microsoft has broken the submission process into two phases. In the first phase the developer wold be learning, submitting and reviewing their apps and once the app has been submitted for certification you can track the progress.
Microsoft details that developers can visit the store even before they have started working on the app and they can reserve the name of the app much before they began coding, so they don’t have to worry about the name of the app during coding process.
The submit an App page has lot of features which includes reserving the name for your app, setting age rating and rating certifications, selling details and much more. Here is how the page looks like-
Microsoft would also be providing Windows App Certification Kit, which allows you to verify your apps locally. Using this kit you can fix technical issues early before submitting and therefore increasing the chances of getting listed in Windows store easy.
Once the app has been submitted for certification you can track the certification of your apps easily via dashboard. Here is how the dashboard looks like-
You would be able to get access to Windows store once Windows 8 consumer preview is released on February 29. Check the following video where Microsoft details the submission of Windows 8 apps to Windows store-
We have earlier posted lot of screenshots about the Windows 8 consumer preview build 8220, now Canouna has extensively posted about it on Winunleaked and showing most the new features in this build.
According to him the following new features is available in this build-
new Immersive UI icon set
new background set for the Start Page
new shortcuts for the Charm Bar
new Apps menu template
no more Microsoft Confidential watermark, neither on the desktop or in the WinVer
no security hash
no start button
a lot of bug fixes
new Ribbon organization
new branding : « Windows 8 Consumer Preview »
new organization for split touch keyboard
And of course lot more
As we already know that Start orb has disappeared from this build, but you can access the start meny by just taking the cursor to the bottom left corner and the menu would appear. Finally he has posted lot of screenshots which we are posting here as well-
There you go — Microsoft has confirmed that they have remote kill switch installed in to Windows 8 apps. using this access, they can disable and even remove an app entirely from a user’s device. This piece of information was released along with other details of the upcoming Windows Store for Windows 8.
If you are shocked or outraged, don’t be. This has become standard procedure for app stores of this kind and it is seen in both Apple and Google run app stores. So both of the market leading companies can trigger a command to wipe out an app from your system and they do not necessarily need your permission to do it. However, it is an extreme maneuver and is reserved for the times when malware has accidentally slipped through the screening process or there’s a severe amount of controversy or legal battle regarding the app. It is is sort of a last resort for the companies. And users are usually well compensated for their inconvenience through app store gift cards and so on. In fact, Microsoft has precedent for being generous in this regard. Recently there was a security glitch in the Xbox Live platform that banned people without rhyme or reason. These users were promptly reinstated in their full unbanned glory and were actually given free download codes for an entire game! Needless to say, Xbox Live gamers are now hoping to be similarly inconvenienced at the first given opportunity.
“In cases where your security is at risk, or where we’re required to do so for legal reasons, you may not be able to run apps or access content that you previously acquired or purchased a license for,”
Other than mentioning the fact that the users will be compensated, the Windows makers also mentioned one more point of interest. They may also clean out the data created by the offending app.
“If the Windows Store, an app, or any content is changed or discontinued, your data could be deleted or you may not be able to retrieve data you have stored,”
Not very convenient if you were depending on it but when it come to security risks, it is going to be quite the blessing to have Microsoft do the clean up for you.
So far, there has been no incident in the the mobile app store history where Apple has had to use their kill switch. Steve Jobs had acknowledged the presence of such a command though. iOS apps that have been removed from the app store after it was approved and put up, have so far not been removed by Apple. Those who purchased the apps could continue using it as normal. There was no remote wipe. Google however has used their kill switch multiple times, usually after discovering a malicious app on the lose.
Microsoft has not detailed the review process for the apps but they will surely be helped by the precedents set by Google and Apple. It will be easier to perfect the existing system now that there are others who are already doing it. Experts have chimed in with their opinion saying that it will most likely be much more stringent that the standards set by Google. But perhaps it won’t be as strict as Apple. It is easy to see that the best path is to take the middle path that lies between the two renowned extremes.
There has been no official word on it but the Windows Store is expected to throw open its digital gates the same time as the first beta release of Windows 8.
Windows 8 apps will be able to share data with each other through a unified platform that has been built in to the OS. This will allow developers to create advanced sharing features inside their apps to allow data to be shared and be used by other independent 3rd-party applications. This opens a whole new world of possibilities for developers and users alike. And it does not require the app developers to have specific apps in mind when creating the feature to share date or receive shared data.
Steven Sinofsky of Microsoft has recently demonstrated that apps written for Windows 8 tablets can be easily made to run on Windows Phone devices. The developers do not have to do much in order to port their general Windows 8 apps to Windows Phone. This is big news because developers are generally not even used to having easy (or any, for that matter) portability even between mobile platforms, forget between two different class of devices. However, this has been made possible by Microsoft because Windows 8 was designed to be a single platform across all of these devices and that includes everything.