Launched back in September, the BB-8 toy from Sphero could be controlled only with Android and iOS apps. The little Star Wars robot that promises to be more than a toy, just got a brand new app delivered to the Windows Store, as a universal Windows 10 app. Owners of Windows 10 tablets and smartphones get a chance to play with BB-8 through the release of this app. Does this mean that all Windows users get the app and can play with their BB-8? Read on to find out.
BB-8 and the universe of Windows universal app s
T he BB-8 toy from Sphero is one of the most complex toys released as part of the Star Wars franchise. Beneath the shiny surface, BB-8 packs impressive features that promises to make it more than a toy: a companion. Have a look at more details in this related article.
For a while now, Microsoft has been touting its strategy to bring together PC, smartphone and tablet users through a unified development platform that creates apps that can work on all Windows devices. Windows Store becomes a powerful retail space that can reach all Windows devices in the world. The Microsoft empire does plan to strike back 🙂 and attempts to regain control of the app world or at least a bigger slice of the pie.
The BB-8 app follows this plan and and now we have a universal app in the Windows Store that you can use to play with your favorite toy ( follow this link to get the app ).
The universal trait becomes clear when you install the app on a PC and a mobile device. The app looks exactly the same on both types of devices and while beneath the surface the app adapts to the size of your screen, the look and feel are identical because it is actually the same application.
What Windows users have to say about the BB-8 app?
Windows users are ecstatic: "BB-8 actually seems way more responsive with this app than with the iOS one. Good job orbotix", "Finally, Sphero has released the BB-8 app for Windows. App works perfect. Thanks Sphero for getting this done!".
There is a small gripe with the app and this is on the design of the tile for the Start screen of the mobile devices. One comment sums up the issue perfectly : "The app icon is very bad in all sizes but the small size. The image is pixilated and very unpleasant". This one should be fixed easily with an update of the app.
On a side note, do not be confused when you see the app listed as belonging to Orbotix . Orbotix is the old name of the manufacturer of the toy. The name of the company was changed to Sphero in 2014.
Included or left out?
The strategy from Microsoft to push their Universal Windows Platform (UWP) is the right one. Grouping together Windows users on both mobile devices and PCs, in one all powerful retail space, gives them the chance to catch up with Apple and Google and their stores. At the moment, the Windows Store lags behind its competitors with many apps missing or having lower quality versions. UWP creates a more interesting space for developers who can expect more return on their app investments.
The short term problem for Microsoft is that universal apps work only on Windows 10 devices.The PC version of Windows 10 was released in July and the mobile version showed up on Lumia 950 and 950 XL in November ( check the Lumia 950 review here ). This leaves out Windows Phone and Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 users.
For all of them there is hope of redemption once they upgrade to Windows 10 (the PC or the mobile version). The upgrade will not come to all devices though (at least not to all smartphones) and users of some of the older devices will be left out of this bright new plan from Microsoft.