Skip to main content

Unified Windows Store Coming Spring 2014

Sources have reportedly confirmed that Microsoft plans to release a unified Windows Store in the Spring 2014 update. Terry Myserson, head of Microsoft's Operating Systems division, supposedly confirmed the move on Friday during an internal company meeting attended by thousands of Microsoft workers. This is likely the same meeting that revealed Halo 4 streaming on a Windows Phone and Windows PC.

As previously reported, Microsoft will release Windows Phone 8.1 in Spring 2014 although the company may drop the numbering, similar to how the company dropped the "RT" from Surface. There's also talk that Windows 8.1 will receive an update during that same springtime window (GDR1), and that Microsoft will launch the Windows RT-based Surface Mini or Surface Xbox tablet.

A unified storefront for Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows Phone would certainly provide a more unified experience across form factors and architectures. This updated Windows Store would presumably act just like the Google Play app on Android: show only compatible apps for that specific device. Moreover, tablet apps of the same architecture may not work on phone form factors, but phone apps would be scaled up for tablets.

The unified storefront is just a small step in Myserson's plan. Earlier this week he revealed that the team is shooting for one silicon interface, one set of APIs, one core cloud service, and a tailored experience for each form factor. He also hinted that Windows RT and Windows Phone may eventually become one operating system, focusing on ARM-based hardware while Windows 8 Pro caters to the x86-based crowd.

"We have two very important chipset families in everything we're doing in all of our devices, and that's x86 and ARM," answered Microsoft's new head of the operating systems division, Terry Myerson. "The ARM devices in particular in phones have incredible share given their battery life and the connectivity options available with the system-on-a-chip ecosystem. Windows RT was our first ARM tablet. And as phones extend into tablets, expect us to see many more ARM tablets, Windows ARM tablets in the future."

Windows 8.1 is slated for an October 18 release, followed by the new Surface tablets on October 22, and the Xbox One on November 22. The Surface 2 with 4G LTE support isn't scheduled to arrive until the spring, the same timeframe as the "Blue" release of Windows Phone 8.1 (GDR3), the Modern UI "Gemeni" apps for Office 2013, and the supposed Surface Mini tablet. As previously stated, something big seems to be brewing for next spring, including a unified Windows Store.

  • house70
    Good move on MS's part. They still need to start stimulating developers to port popular apps to WP, given that the scarcity of professional apps for this platform is what's keeping me (and presumably others) from giving WP a serious chance.
    Reply
  • phatboe
    Hmmm I must be getting confused I thought Windows 8.1 was Windows "blue". Can someone tell me what will be new in Windows "blue"?
    Reply
  • _Bruce_
    Windows Blue is a code name for a project for continuous Windows development. Windows 8.1 is the first release from this project.
    Reply
  • JD88
    This is exactly what I've been saying they should do since the launch of the first Surface RT.

    Windows Phone OS (ARM) for Tablets under 9" and full x86 for everything bigger with an on/off switch for the Metro interface based on whether or not a touch screen is present.

    It's really not rocket science. It just took MS a year and $900 million to figure it out.

    Reply
  • hagjohn
    Should have done that from the start.
    Reply
  • Tangerine123
    "Microsoft will release Windows 8.1 in Spring 2014"

    " Windows 8.1 is slated for an October 18 release"

    You should reread your articles, guys.
    Reply
  • dimar
    Windows 8.2 should bring Windows Normal back, and make the apps the way gadgets used to be, with full screen ability, all of that on the desktop.
    Reply
  • alextheblue
    11624825 said:
    This is exactly what I've been saying they should do since the launch of the first Surface RT.

    No it isn't. THIS is what you've been saying.

    11624825 said:
    Windows Phone OS (ARM) for Tablets under 9" and full x86 for everything bigger

    Artificial device size restrictions have NOTHING to do with a unified store, a merged ARM OS, or unified APIs. What if I want an 8" ULP x86 device? What if in the future ARM devices run all the apps I want (realistically they're almost there now if you don't need legacy support)? You could get a 10"+ ARM-based tablet for cheaper and with better better life, for instance.

    With a unified store, and soon unified APIs, more and more apps will be available on both ARM and x86 through the new store. They're trying to UNITE the architectures, so everything runs on both. What you're suggesting they do is divide them, and put artificial limitations on which runs on what.
    Reply
  • JD88
    11625865 said:
    11624825 said:
    This is exactly what I've been saying they should do since the launch of the first Surface RT.

    No it isn't. THIS is what you've been saying.

    11624825 said:
    Windows Phone OS (ARM) for Tablets under 9" and full x86 for everything bigger

    Artificial device size restrictions have NOTHING to do with a unified store, a merged ARM OS, or unified APIs. What if I want an 8" ULP x86 device? What if in the future ARM devices run all the apps I want (realistically they're almost there now if you don't need legacy support)? You could get a 10"+ ARM-based tablet for cheaper and with better better life, for instance.

    With a unified store, and soon unified APIs, more and more apps will be available on both ARM and x86 through the new store. They're trying to UNITE the architectures, so everything runs on both. What you're suggesting they do is divide them, and put artificial limitations on which runs on what.

    I've seen no evidence that ARM chips are superior to the current crop of Intel and AMD chips in anything other than the smallest of form factors (smartphones). All of the benchmarks I've looked at are showing Bay Trail and Temash destroying anything with A15 cores (Tegra 4 for example) in performance and matching it for power consumption. Why would you want to be limited by an ARM chip if there is no tangible benefit? Cost? Maybe in the absolute low end, but Window's tablets haven't been playing there due to the RAM and disk space requirements.

    As for RT devices being "up there" I think the market has proven you and Microsoft wrong. Not a single other OEM is offering an RT device. Why? Because RT is garbage in its current incarnation.

    Use ARM where it's best for now (phones) using a more optimized OS like Windows Phone 8 instead of trying to cram full RT onto small tablets where the desktop can't even be utilized properly. That's my point in size restrictions. No desktop part on sub 9" tablets and phones, put the desktop on the 10" plus where it can still be used for productivity. Where the desktop is included, keep it to x86 for desktop apps.

    As much as Microsoft doesn't want to admit it, the desktop isn't going anywhere soon. People doing actual productivity want re-sizable windows and multitasking capability. Even Android manufacturers like Samsung are seeing this and are developing multi-windowed modes.
    Reply
  • back_by_demand
    46 of the top 50 apps already appear on Windows store, it isn't that bad
    Reply