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5/3/2014
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Microsoft's Windows Phone 8.1: 3 Takeaways

Windows Phone boss Joe Belfiore's Reddit "Ask Me Anything" chat included feature news on the forthcoming Windows Phone 8.1 -- and frank talk of mobile struggles.

nowhere near the million-plus in populating the iOS and Android ecosystems. App developers naturally follow users, so given its small share, Microsoft's progress isn't terrible. Even so, the app gap is far from closed -- a point Belfiore discussed during his chat.

"So--sitting in 3rd place," Belfiore wrote, "it's tougher for us to get the apps." He countered that Microsoft has made progress in the last couple years, pointing to not only the addition of high-profile apps such as Instagram, but also outreach efforts with ISVs. The company also recently debuted Universal Apps, which let developers build Windows, Windows Phone and the Xbox apps from mostly the same code.

Microsoft's Joe Belfiore introduced Windows Phone 8.1 at last month's Build conference.
Microsoft's Joe Belfiore introduced Windows Phone 8.1 at last month's Build conference.

Some chat participants stressed that when popular apps finally come to Windows Phone, they're usually neither as fully featured nor updated as often as their iOS and Android equivalents. "Right now we're MOSTLY focused on continuing to GET the key apps--although lately with more of these present, we've shifted a bit towards improving the current ones," Belfiore wrote. He characterized the development of the Windows Phone ecosystem as a "marathon, not a sprint."

He said Facebook will launch an improved Windows Phone app as soon as June, and promised the update will deliver better performance, full-width photos in the newsfeed, and a revamped UI that displays photos and comments at the same time. Belfiore also said Microsoft will soon release an improved version of Skype, and that the company is "talking" to makers of the popular Snapchat app about a version for Windows Phone.

Belfiore also broached Microsoft's sometimes-icy cross-platform relationship with Google. He noted that Google's apps are "high on our 'want list,'" but qualified, "Unfortunately, the apps are Google's and I can't say when they will act." He added, "You should ping them! (often!)"

Could the growing movement toward open-source hardware rewrite the rules for computer and networking hardware the way Linux, Apache, and Android have for software? Also in the Open Source Hardware issue of InformationWeek: Mark Hurd explains his "once-in-a-career opportunity" at Oracle.

Michael Endler joined InformationWeek as an associate editor in 2012. He previously worked in talent representation in the entertainment industry, as a freelance copywriter and photojournalist, and as a teacher. Michael earned a BA in English from Stanford University in 2005 ... View Full Bio

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hho927
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hho927,
User Rank: Moderator
5/5/2014 | 12:43:38 PM
Re: Pros and Cons
The hardware is not the issue. MS made XNA long ago. If you use XNA to develop games, you can publish your games to any platform.

XNA is not good for large games. Hardcore game developers don't use XNA. Most of them were written in C/C++ even machine language(I don't know what they use now. I quit develop games long ago). Each OS (xbox,windows,etc) have different APIs. So to port them, they have to rewrite some codes.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
5/4/2014 | 9:21:27 PM
Re: Pros and Cons
Thanks for echoing me on this. I do love your idea about porting games to WindowsPhone. XBox is actually a pure x-86 based PC and you can install OS on it. If we can port PC game to WindowsPhone, it will create more growth potential for it.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
5/4/2014 | 8:36:53 PM
Re: Pros and Cons
Good points, the availability of apps and familiarity with Windows will determine the future of Windows Phone 8.1 (and 8.x). Universal Apps might be able to create a healthy ecosystem in time, it is interesting that Microsoft went with the x86 architecture for the Xbox One, this brought the PC and Game developing world closer, if it is relatively easy to port a low resource hungry game onto a mobile device then the Windows Phone could score big time, since, some users have a Smartphone because of its ability to perform mobile gaming.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
5/3/2014 | 9:59:22 PM
Pros and Cons
For WindowsPhone, my experience as an end user is rather limited. I used to purchase a Lumina for my mom since it has big screen size, big font size, concise and clean UI with big icons. But sorry to say the UI cannot be called fancy and somehow it's a little bit difficult to find relevant settings. I am not sure if WindowsPhone 8.1 will be better with newly added features. The file manager is a good thing to have but in my humble opinion the App availability is still the key - without strong support from development community, WindowsPhone platform may not last for long.
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