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Microsoft plans to boost Windows Phone with cross-format apps

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Microsoft plans to boost Windows Phone with cross-format apps

Microsoft will apparently address Windows Phone's crippling shortcoming - a deficient application ecosystem - by enabling the development of Windows 10 apps that work across all form factors.

As anyone who's used a Windows Phone 8 smartphone will know, it's a very capable OS with a distinctive interface. What it lacks (in a big way) is app support.

According to a new report in The Information, Microsoft is addressing that shortfall in Windows 10.

When Microsoft announced Windows 10 back in October it did so under the philosophy of "One product family, one platform, one store," and it seems to be seeing that through to its logical conclusion.

Apparently, when Microsoft previews the OS on January 21 (that's tomorrow), it will show off a single code base that will permit apps to run on PC, tablet, and smartphone form factors without the need for specific optimisation for each screen size.

In other words, Windows apps - of which there has been no shortage to date - will run easily on Windows phones.

As part of this 'one format' approach, Microsoft will launch a single app store that caters to all Windows 10 devices, rather than the two-pronged offering it has for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.

It's even predicted that this new unified store could be where Microsoft introduces its hotly anticipated update to Office 365 for phones.

Read More: Microsoft plans 'Inconspicuous Mode' for phones

Of course, for Microsoft to demonstrate a Windows smartphone running the same app as a Windows laptop, it'll be needing some meaty new hardware. Sure enough, the report confirms that Microsoft will have new hardware on show at its big unveiling.

One curious-sounding device that's said to be in the works for a later date is a "phone-laptop hybrid," which will apparently appeal to business users.

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