Microsoft unveiled a raft of updates at its Build 2015 event, including new tools to enable Android and iOS developers to take code to Windows 10, as it unveiled a target of 1 billion active Windows 10 users by 2018.
“No other platform version in any ecosystem is available on 1 billion devices. Current estimates for Google Play KitKat is at a little over 500 million devices. iOS 8 is lower than that,” Terry Myerson, EVP of operating systems, said.
The company is looking to address some of the app weakness that has affected its smartphone activities through a Universal Windows Platform, which will enable developers to use a single app to target a range of form-factors. It said that this also “enables developers to integrate Cortana and Xbox live into their applications, offer trusted e-commerce, embrace natural user input, create holograms and more”.
Myerson said that developers will be able to “reuse nearly all” of the Java and C++ code from an Android app to move to Windows 10. To achieve this, devices will include an “Android subsystem” to support the code alongside “the extensions you would write in the Windows platform to really delight the Windows user”.
And for iOS developers, the same Objective-C code can be compiled within Microsoft’s Visual Studio.
In addition to mobile developers, new SDKs are also available for those using web tools, .NET and Win32.
This will be accompanied by a unified app store experience, with Windows Store offering apps alongside other content. Microsoft trumpeted “the largest carrier billing footprint of any ecosystem, supporting 90 carriers, to help people around the world who don’t have credit cards, but do have phones”.
In addition to opening operator billing beyond the mobile space, new monetisation methods were also highlighted, including an updated advertising SDK with support for video ads and install tracking.