Windows 10s to Challenge Chrome OS

Update (02.08.2017) – Microsoft advises devs.

Microsoft to devs: Again, here’s why Universal Windows Platform matters.

William Hickson said in 1836:

If at first you don’t succeed; try, try, again.

This may be the marketing plan for Microsoft’s Windows 10 Cloud. The details are very sketchy, but it appears the new OS will be a light weight browser (presumably Edge) centric version of Windows 10 which will only permit the operation of Apps designed for the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) downloaded from the Windows App Store.

Universal Windows Platform

At the core of UWP is the idea that users want their experiences to be mobile across ALL their devices and they want to use whatever device is most convenient or productive for the task at hand. Microsoft hopes that UWP will help it catch up to the Android and iOS app stores by leveraging its dominance in desktop computing.

Here are some of the characteristics that make UWP apps on Windows 10 different.

Target device families, not an OS

A device family identifies the APIs, system characteristics, and behaviors that you can expect across devices within the device family. It also determines the set of devices on which your app can be installed from the store.

Apps are packaged and distributed using the .AppX packaging format

All UWP apps are distributed as an AppX package. This provides a trustworthy installation mechanism and ensures that your apps can be deployed and updated seamlessly.

One store for all devices

After you register as an app developer, you can submit your app to the store and make it available on all device families, or only those you choose.

Common API across device families

The UWP core APIs are the same for all Windows device families. If your app uses only the core APIs, it will run on any Windows 10 device.

Extension SDKs make your app light up on specialized devices

Extension SDKs add specialized APIs for each device family. If your app is intended for a particular device family, you can make it light up by using these APIs. You can still have one app package that runs on all devices by checking what device family your app is running on before calling an extension API.

Adaptive Controls and Inputs

UI elements use effective pixels (e.g. responsive design) so they automatically adapt themselves based on the number of screen pixels available on the device and they work with multiple types of input such as keyboard, mouse, touch, pen, and “Xbox One” controllers. If you need to further tailor your UI to a specific screen size or device, new layout panels and tooling help you adapt your UI to the devices your app may run on.

Windows App Store

The following are some of the apps available from the Windows Store. I expanded the first two of the two dozen or so categories to give a sense for the number of UWP apps currently available.


  • Adobe Reader
  • Aerize Explorer Pro
  • AppRaisin (UWP)
  • Awesome Lock
  • Band Store
  • B2X SmartApp
  • Bing Rewards
  • Box (8.1) Box (UWP)
  • Carpenter’s Friend
  • CloudMesh
  • Copy Space
  • DOSBox
  • Dropbox (UWP)
  • Easy Transfer
  • Firmware Update Check
  • Flashlight XT
  • Folders Pro
  • Glance Background (8.1 only?)
  • Jack of Tools
  • LCARS Interface for WP
  • Lockie
  • Lockmix
  • Lock Screen Text
  • MyAppFree
  • MY EE
  • OneReader
  • Password Hide
  • Radaee PDF Reader
  • Send Anywhere
  • ShareFolder Explorer
  • Spirit Level+
  • Toolkit Pro
  • Torch Pro
  • Web Tiles (UWP)
  • Woopiti
  • Zedge


  • 2Day
  • 9 Notes
  • Appointile
  • BlastNote
  • Calendar Import
  • CamCard
  • Chronos Calendar (UWP)
  • ChronoMts
  • Clear List
  • Clipboard Manip (UWP)
  • Clipboarder
  • Count-It (UWP)
  • CV Sampler (UWP)

Productivity Cont

  • Diarium (UWP)
  • Evernote
  • Fast Post
  • Feather Notes
  • InstaNote
  • Mileage Book
  • My ContacTile
  • Notepad Next (UWP)
  • NotepadX
  • Office+
  • Office 365 Admin
  • OneCalendar
  • OneDo
  • PPT Sampler (UWP)
  • Reading List
  • Revent (UWP)
  • SharePoint (UWP)
  • Slack
  • Squid (Papyrus) handwriting
  • T3XT K1NG
  • Text Reader
  • Voicy
  • Wunderlist

Other categories

  • Travel and Movie Booking
  • Communications and IM
  • Camera replacements / aids
  • Music / Speech recording / tuning
  • News and Web
  • Imaging / Graphics
  • Music playback / streaming / downloading / FM
  • Reference
  • Shopping / Banking
  • Social
  • Navigation / Travel
  • Settings / Internals / Utilities
  • Sports / Exercise / Health
  • Media (Video)
  • Podcast related/Audio-book
  • Privacy / Secrecy / Security
  • Reading
  • Video editing / sharing
  • Weather-related
  • Calculators and (numeric) Converters

Issues With UWP

  1. ApplicationsFirst impressions may lead you to believe there are volumes of UWP apps to choose from but the reality is the number of actual choices are limited. I find it interesting even some of Microsoft’s premier products are missing from the UWP list. Why is this? One reason is this is yet another paradigm for Developers to adopt; one of many they have lived with starting with Metro Apps on “Windows 8” and WinRT on “Windows 8.1”. Even though Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella affirms UWP is the future, developers have been sluggish to jump on board.
  2. Win32Win32 is still king. Microsoft recognizes this and as a result built a set of technologies titled “Desktop Bridge” to convert Windows desktop applications or games to a UWP apps or games. After the conversion the Windows desktop application is packaged, serviced, and deployed in the form of a UWP app package (e.g. .appx / .appxbundle).
  3. Design / Architecture a great Win32 design doesn’t guarantee a great UWP design.

Is the Challenge Real or Perceived?

It is important to note Microsoft has been developing software for a very long time, has very deep pockets, and should never be dismissed. But on the other hand, it is very unlikely a browser centric version of Windows 10 will amount to much of a challenge to Chrome OS this year. For Microsoft, Win32 is a blessing and a curse. Microsoft realizes the transition away from Win32 to UWP must be smooth but I really believe we are talking apples and oranges. There is simply no way to escape the fact there will be a learning curve with UWP as folks adjust to the new experience. In addition, there may be an adjustment period in those circumstances where functionality is lost coming from Win32. I believe the great UWP apps will be the ones designed and architected from the ground up to live in a device agnostic environment. This circumstance becomes an opportunity for Google as this change opens the door for folks to consider other products like G Suite. Some of this may already be in play as Google proudly asserts over three million businesses are using G Suite.

To be completely open, it’s not all roses in the Chrome OS world. Google developers are also experiencing growing pains as they create and/or modify apps to accommodate large screen devices running Chrome OS.

Windows 10s

Wrap up

The last point is intent and critical mass. Obviously Google and Apple have a commanding lead as evidenced by the volume of titles in their stores. More important than the number and a particular concern to Microsoft is this graph shows the interest of the development community in creating apps for a particular store. 2017 will be an interesting year for Microsoft as in all likelihood this will be released along with Windows 10 ARM.

Source: Microsoft