Microsoft Playable Ads is a new solution for Windows developers looking to draw more engaged users to their applications. The company recently launched Playable Ads, a type of in-app ad that allows potential users to experience a new app before installing it.
Currently in preview, Microsoft Playable Ads allow customers to stream and interact with a new app or game for up to three minutes, without leaving the app they’re currently using.
That’s in contrast to traditional in-app ads, which take users out of their current app to the Windows Store, where they have an opportunity to install the new app. This diagram illustrates the difference between the two types of ads:
Microsoft claims Playable Ads are more likely to attract engaged users than traditional ads: They’re less annoying, since they don’t take the potential customer out of the current app. And they give a more realistic sense of what an app is actually like, ideally increasing the number of people who actually use it after installation, rather than uninstalling it.
Developers subscribed to the preview can create Playable Ads by beginning a new ad campaign from the Windows Dev Center and selecting a call to action option called ‘Try Now.’ The option is available for ads targeting PCs and tablets running Windows 10.… Read more
Microsoft has created a new ‘Ready for Windows‘ directory cataloguing business-related software that’s compatible with the operating system. Aimed at business customers, the website lists apps both alphabetically and by category. Developers can submit their ‘solutions’ for consideration via a link on the site.
“The goal of the site is to provide visibility and awareness of all the solutions that work on Windows 10 today, regardless of app implementation method, to help IT pros and BDMs (business decision makers) to understand what solutions run on Windows 10, and have been endorsed by publishers,” a Microsoft spokesperson told ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley.
With software from big names like Blackberry and SalesForce as well as smaller companies, the site seems to function as both a service for Microsoft’s business customers as well as a way to evangelize for Windows 10 and recognize developers who’ve gotten on board.
Click here to submit your app. (A Microsoft account is required.)
It wouldn’t be a developer conference without some surprises, and Microsoft is already getting us in the mood for Build 2016 with a mysterious description in the event schedule of a session on ‘Something Awesome.’
We’ll have to wait until Build kicks off this Wednesday for details, but the rest of the schedule promises a conference packed with information on game development, the Internet of Things, cloud services and augmented reality.
Attendees can learn about app design approaches for HoloLens, or build a Universal Windows App for Raspberry Pi in a hands-on lab. There are a number of sessions on cross-platform development, including using Xamarin to build mobile apps, Project Centennial to bring desktop apps to the Universal Windows Platform, and Microsoft’s iOS-to-Windows Bridge.
There’ll also be plenty on using Azure to enhance apps, whether that means working with data or engaging players in a game. A session will focus on using Windows 10 to power smart homes. And there’ll be sessions on how Visual Studio is evolving and the integration of Windows 10 games with Xbox Live.
As for news, Microsoft will likely use its keynote to give details on the ‘Redstone’ update to Windows 10, expected later this year.… Read more
Think Windows Phone is dead? Not so fast. Though the customer base for the mobile OS remains paltry compared to competitors iPhone and Android, Microsoft still seems to see the phones as important to its overall plan for Universal Windows Apps.
And on Thursday, the company began rolling out over-the-air updates to Windows 10 for Windows 8.1 mobile customers. Though only about three percent of smartphone users had Windows Phones as of November 2015, they’re a loyal bunch, so there’s been plenty of chatter about this online.
Some newer phones, like the Lumia 950, are already running Windows 10. But customers who bought older phones had been anxiously awaiting the upgrade for months. Because carriers have to approve the update, only some phones are eligible. (Users can download Update Advisor from the app store to see if they qualify.)
Microsoft also updated the list of phones eligible for the Windows Insider program, with some older phones no longer being supported.
So what’s in store for Windows Phone? Well, Microsoft is increasingly indicating that rather than owning the device market, they’re more interested in occupying certain niches (“affordable” phones) as well as pioneering non-traditional uses for phones—e.g., as portable mini-computers that can be connected to larger displays via Continuum.… Read more
It’s official: Project Astoria, Microsoft’s effort to create a bridge for porting over Android apps to Windows 10, is no more.
Just one day after announcing its acquisition of multiplatform app development company Xamarin, Microsoft released an update to developers on the company’s bridge projects, which reads in part:
“We…decided that we would focus our efforts on the Windows Bridge for iOS and make it the single Bridge option for bringing mobile code to all Windows 10 devices, including Xbox and PCs. For those developers who spent time investigating the Android Bridge, we strongly encourage you to take a look at the iOS Bridge and Xamarin as great solutions.”
The move comes as little surprise, since Microsoft has been pretty mum on Project Astoria over the last few months, while at the same time announcing it was open-sourcing its iOS-to-Windows Bridge and encouraging developers to test it out. Both bridge projects were launched at last year’s Build conference to improve the pipeline for Universal Windows apps.
Microsoft’s acquisition of Xamarin, however, changes the game, since developers using Xamarin can take their existing C# code to create fully native mobile apps for Windows, iOS or Android. Microsoft also says developers had found it confusing that there were two bridge options.… Read more
As Microsoft tries to encourage developers to build universal Windows apps, it’s suffered from what some observers have correctly called a chicken-or-the-egg problem: Developers don’t want to build until they know there’s user demand, but users may be shunning the platform until better apps are available.
Now, a new website aims to open up communication between Windows 10 users and developers, crowdsourcing information about which apps users would most like to see. WishAppList is simple: You create an account, then click to vote for apps you’d like to see on Windows 10. Users can select from both a list of popular apps and new apps in development. When apps reach a certain number of votes, WishAppList staff will pass that news on to publishers.
Vote counts appear publicly on the website, which also could make it a good place for developers to research which types of apps appeal most to Windows users.
On that tip, Microsoft itself offered some intel this past week in a report on Windows Store. Visitors to the Store are downloading Games more than any other app category, followed by Utilities & Tools, Photo & Video apps, Music and Social apps. The report also identified app categories and subcategories with the most opportunity for developers, based on a high ratio of downloads to available apps.… Read more
Businesses are moving to Windows 10 at a steady clip, reports Spiceworks—about twice as fast as they adopted Windows 8.
In a new report, the online network of IT professionals revisits its prediction (based on user polling) that 40 percent of companies would be using the operating system a year after its launch.
Six months in, Spiceworks now puts the Windows 10 penetration rate in the business world at 18 percent. That’s nearly double the 9.8 percent penetration rate that Windows 8 saw six months after it debuted, according to Spiceworks.
Medium- and large-sized companies are more likely than smaller businesses to have at least one machine on their network running Windows 10, the report says. North America, not surprisingly, shows the highest adoption rate, followed by the combined users from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The availability of free upgrades for existing Windows customers, and this week’s shift by Microsoft to make Windows 10 a ‘recommended upgrade’ could continue to drive migration to the new OS—creating a widening customer base for universal Windows apps.
What kinds of apps might those be? Spiceworks cites the highly-regulated manufacturing, energy and construction industries as among the biggest adopters of Windows 10, making those markets interesting targets for software developers.… Read more
Flipkart, the Amazon of India, recently released its new universal Windows app, and Microsoft is eager to draw attention to the success. On Friday Jan. 29, the two companies will co-host a Twitter chat for developers and others interested in learning about the process of creating the app.
Founded in 2007 by two former Amazon employees, Flipkart has become India’s largest e-commerce retailer. It both sells its own products and provides a marketplace for other sellers, with a reported 70 percent of sales taking place via mobile phones.
Microsoft, for its part, has been working to demystify the process of building universal Windows apps and lure more developers to experiment with them. Dropbox, Uber and Netflix have all recently released universal Windows apps, among other companies.
Last week, the designers involved in the new app talked about the experience with Microsoft-News.com:
… Read more
When the process started, WUP was a new concept and there were hardly any apps to understand the functionality. In addition to that Flipkart is a very complex app with a huge user base. The stakes were too high to make mistakes. Users were not aware about such apps and so usability test was not very helpful. They were able to use the app but had never seen something like this before so there were no benchmark to compare it with.
Windows Store has long been plagued with complaints about the low quality of apps, prevalence of spam, and the fact that popular apps are unavailable or missing key features. It’s a problem for Microsoft, which urgently wants to inspire more developers to build universal Windows apps.
In its quest to improve the quality of apps in the Store, Microsoft released some tips for developers last week on how to name and format their apps for maximum visibility.
Some of them are obvious: “Make sure you own the name, brand, icon and content.” “Build apps that offer more or different value than those already in the store.”
Others, however, specifically target common spam tactics and provide some insight as to how the Store’s search engine ranks apps. For example, rather than submitting multiple, related apps to the Store, Microsoft recommends consolidating as much content as possible into a single app:
Building a richer app will also help it have more opportunities to be considered to be featured in the Store, since a single app that has more content will have wider appeal compared to one app with less content.
Microsoft also advises limiting the number of keywords in app metadata and ensuring they are truly relevant to your app, rather than a jumble of popular search terms.… Read more