New Apps in Time for the Holidays 2015
This is a good time of year for new releases, (do you have your BB-8), and that momentum extends to new apps in the Windows 10 ecosystem. The Universal Windows Platform provides developers with a comprehensive platform where it's possible to write an app once and run it on a variety of Windows devices. Many of our partners have seen the unique value behind this approach and have embraced the UWP as an efficient way to create top notch experiences for their audiences.
This week we saw new apps from Netflix, Pandora and World of Tanks Blitz, to name a few. Following, I’ll present a few more recently-released apps that can help make your Windows experience even richer.
Between spending time with family and friends and eating, the holidays are a great time to catch up on movies and TV series that you’ve missed. Netflix released a new Universal Windows App with a responsive layout for all the Windows devices you use. From small to large displays, the Netflix app will optimize your viewing experience. Since it is a Windows 10 app you can speak commands to it through Cortana integration or use Live Tiles to see what you are watching.
Kobo is an e-reader app with a lot of great extras. Kobo allows you to browse over 4 million free and affordable eBooks to read on your Windows device, wherever you are. It provides a bright interface where comics and children’s books really shine. Live Tiles allow a quick glance at your content, and the reading experience is further enhanced through Continuum – allowing you to use the app on a variety of devices. The things you expect of an e-reader are in there, drag and drop side loading of eBooks, highlighting and more. Decompressing with a good book is one of my favorite ways to get through the busy holiday season.
Taobao is the leading e-commerce provider in China with over 800 million registered users. They have very high customer engagement, with over 500 million daily average users. As the leading e-commerce app there was a lot of demand from their customers to bring the app to the Windows Store. The Windows ecosystem is particularly well-suited for e-commerce, and Taobao was able to create a rich experience by integrating Cortana for voice commands, and making recommendations about goods. The user stays connected to the marketplace because Live Tiles keep them informed with periodic updates, without the need to open the app.
This is the Droid™ you’re looking for. After a busy holiday it would be great to relax and have a droid do your work. We aren’t there yet, but you can play with your very own BB-8 from Sphero. The BB-8 app works on the PC and Windows Phone and includes everything you need to control the robot with full feature parity with its iOS and Android versions. With Cortana you can sit back and use your voice to put your BB-8 to work.
The end of one year and the start of another is the time when most people make resolutions about what they are going to do differently. Taking care of finances is a common resolution. This year you’ll have the support of The Wall Street Journal, a trusted source of market information for over 100 years. The new WSJ for Windows 10 users brings this information to your fingertips. It provides a streamlined layout that adopts to different display sizes to make reading more enjoyable on all devices.
Sometimes you just want to listen to interesting stories, the latest news or interviews with today's newsmakers. NPR One is the audio app that connects you to a stream of public radio news and stories, curated for you. Cortana enables voice commands, you can ask her to play the latest episode from your favorite NPR programs or podcasts. Also if you hear something you like ask Cortana to mark it “interesting” to influence future recommendations.
Part of spending time with family and friends during the holidays is going outside for activities and gatherings. Using Cortana on your Windows 10 device and the AccuWeather app you can get the latest weather information for your area. If it is raining, snowing or you are in a warm climate, you will be prepared for the day. If you are traveling the GPS integration will find where you are and present local weather. You won’t even need to open the app, Live Tile integration will let you glance and go.
This is just a holiday sprinkling of the apps available today for Windows devices. You can find more information on creating and launching apps for Windows at the Windows Dev Center. I’m excited to see what you bring to Windows in 2016, drop a comment below to share what you are working on for the new year.