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August 11, 2014

Universal Windows apps: cross-device compatibility

Back at Build 2014, Microsoft announced universal Windows apps. But, what are they? Let’s explain.

Back at Build 2014, Microsoft announced universal Windows apps. But, what are they? Let’s explain.

Universal Windows apps are those that are programmed to run across different Windows platforms using 90% of the same code. If the developer chooses, this app can be purchased once and downloaded across the other Windows platforms, which includes Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 8.1, and eventually Xbox One.

Not only that, but any in-app-purchases can be obtained on one device and, as if by magic, will appear on your other devices, creating a greater synergy between apps or games.

While the majority of the coding is the same, this isn’t a code-once-run-on-any-device moment. Almost.

We’ve taken a look at some universal Windows apps that run across your Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 devices. Plus, a couple that run on the Xbox One:



Cooking has never been so easy, or mobile, thanks to Epicurious.

Learn how to cook your favourite meal, or discover a new dish, and add the ingredients to your very own recipe box – accessible from any of your devices.

Download options
Epicurious on Windows Phone 8.1 / Epicurious on Windows 8.1


Xbox Video

With Xbox Video you can watch TV shows, and rent or buy movies, either old or new.

You can download a movie on your home PC before you set out to work, watch a bit of it on your Windows Phone during your train commute, and watch more while you’re on your lunch break on your tablet.

Download options
Xbox Video on Windows Phone 8.1 / Xbox Video on Windows 8.1 / Xbox Video on Xbox One


Xbox Music

Much like the Video offering, Music makes it easy to search for, download or stream your favourite tunes on any device. You can also create playlists.

If you want to go all in and play your music from all of your devices, there’s a premium version to activate this, and it also removes any in-app ads.

Download options
Xbox Music on Windows Phone 8.1 / Xbox Music on Windows 8.1 / Xbox Music on Xbox One

Paint 4 Kids

What better way to keep your kids occupied, then with some painting. Ditch the real (messy) stuff and opt for Paint 4 Kids.

Your children could be painting a picture on your Lumia 1520 in the car and unlock (purchase) a new drawing, ready to paint later.


When they pick up your Lumia 2520 on the couch, the new content will also be available there.

Download options
Paint 4 Kids on Windows Phone 8.1 / Paint 4 Kids on Windows 8.1

Halo: Spartan Assault


Fancy ‘fragging’ your way through a colony of alien invaders before you’ve even made it into the office?

If you answered yes, you’d probably like to continue that battle on your next break, or in-between meetings.

Halo: Spartan Assault will run on your smartphone, tablet or PC, where you can pick up where you left off on any device.

Download options
Halo: Spartan Assault on Windows Phone 8.1 / Halo: Spartan Assault on Windows 8.1

With more universal Windows apps being created, it should be easier and quicker for developers to launch their products over different platforms. But it’ll also benefit consumers who no longer need to pay twice for the same app.

Have you spotted any universal Windows apps? Which ones should we download? Tell us, below.