Bundled Mobile Apps are a Bright Spot for Windows 10 : While one could argue that the Universal Windows Platform is off to a slow start, the quality of the apps that Microsoft bundles with Windows 10, and the speed at which they are improved, are good signs for the future. These apps also offer a healthy counter to my worries that Microsoft’s Windows as a service (e.g. “rapid release”) strategy isn’t working.
Yes, I feel that there are important and serious reliability issues to work out with the underlying Windows 10 platform. But so far, the process of constantly updating the apps that ship with Windows 10 has worked out wonderfully, just as it does on mobile platforms like Android and iOS.
Which means that Windows 10 users can enjoy the best of both worlds: A productive and mature desktop computing platform that also happens to have a mobile apps platform built into. It’s a unique advantage that both Linux and macOS basically lack, though both have their own store (or store-like) experiences. And while macOS has long offered packaged apps that are easily installed and removed, the experience is inconsistent: Some third-party apps use this system and some do not.
Further, the Windows Store has far more apps than are available in Apple’s Mac App Store, and more apps than are available, period, on Linux. When you compare this availability with the tens of millions of available Win32/desktop applications, you can see Windows’s real advantage. We at least have an amazing library of legacy applications to fall back on while we wait for developers to more fully embrace UWP.
What’s most interesting to me about this is that the mobile app story on Windows 10 works for exactly the same reason that Windows as a service isn’t working. That is, UWP was designed specifically for this world, and app updates can happen in the background, and then provide users with new features on a regular basis.
But the underlying operating system is old, complex, and full of intertwining parts, and it can only be updated using old fashioned methods, often while the OS is “offline” and the PC is rebooting. Mobile apps updates, for the most part, are not disruptive. OS updates, for the most part, are quite disruptive.