With the arrival of Windows 10, Microsoft is making a big push forward towards cross-device compatibility, and paramount to that goal is the platform’s focus on “universal apps.” Such software will run on a phone or a touchscreen tablet as easily as a device employing traditional non-touch inputs. And while that sounds great for users, how will we find ourselves referring to such software? At the WinHEC conference last week, Microsoft shared its intentions for how to talk about universal apps in comparison to existing desktop-only software.
Software that takes advantage of this universal app framework and will run on any number of device types will be known as “Windows apps.”
In contrast to that, software intended only for use in a traditional PC environment will be referred to as “Windows desktop applications.” So if you’re a dev who’s created a software package that’s PC-only, and you’ve got no interest in making it universal and bringing it to these other hardware classes, Microsoft doesn’t want you calling it a “Windows app.”
Considering the extent to which “app” has implied mobile-centric software, that’s a sensible enough position to take, though we can understand how it may seem counter-intuitive when viewed from the right perspective.