Looking solely at device numbers, can somebody explain Microsoft's approach on universal apps?

RossJG

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Let's look at the incentive of Universal Apps for a developer who's looking at how things will be a year out from now. So we know that there are a lot of Intel x86 computing devices (traditional form factors plus most Windows tablets) out there running Windows that might be upgraded to W10 in the next few years that will run classic apps. Say MS gets an x86 installed base of 300 million in a year, which is probably in the ballpark... but you could cover those with a classic app.
The appeal of universal apps is supposed to be that a developer can create one app and also have it on other Windows devices. By my rough count, that would mean you're looking at Xbox Ones which might have an installed base of 20-25 million around that time. Small (Arm-based) Windows tablets are going to be only a few million tops. Hololens will probably be more Niche still. Knowing that the installed base of Windows Phones is around 50-60 million, it seems like this would represent the majority of the benefit of going the universal route. Yet, for some reason, they're going carrier exclusive and not advertising, glossing over the 95X line at presentations and making it seem like they're really not behind them, and apparently not coming out with a high end device they'll really get behind for another year, which makes me wonder if that 50-60 million doesn't look more like 30-40 million in a year. So a total of 70-85 million extra devices you can get your app on becomes 50-65 million devices. If Microsoft is not standing firmly behind its phone effort, do they seriously think developers are going to be interested in their universal app effort? Am I missing something?
 

RossJG

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Well, ttsoldier, maybe I didn't scour the board well enough and these answers are out there, but I'm just asking if I'm missing something. It seems like if you can leverage one non-x86 device category to get developers in, you can help all the others. I'm just wondering whether any one gives enough for critical mass if phone user base shrinks. I also know there are a lot of very smart people at MS, and they seem to still be behind universal apps, so it seems possible I'm missing something.
 

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