Even better: In talking with developers here at the event, it sounds like businesses are investigating how to make the jump to the new platform. One developer, Anthony Handley of Magenic, noted, "We have a lot of enterprise clients that are interested in taking their internal line-of-business applications to Windows 8."
Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 have a lot in common, as this slide from Tuesday's Build conference keynote suggests.
Windows app development tools are robust, but not perfect
Before this event, I heard praise for Microsoft's development environment. By comparison to what mobile tablet and phone developers are used to with Google's Android, in particular, I've heard some waxing poetic in casual conversation about working with Microsoft's tools. I've also heard grousing that Microsoft didn't do enough to unify development for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, but on the whole, the vibe has been more positive than what I hear about Android.
Magenic's Handley is a cross-platform developer for iOS, Android, and Windows. "Obviously there's a good story around iOS," he said. "But as a designer working with Microsoft tools, they've come a long way in the past couple of years. Designers can work in Blend, and developers can work in Visual Studio, and the two can be melded in the end. Underneath the covers, we're working on the same code. So there's a lot of things to be excited about."
We saw a glimpse of why the tools matter in action during the Windows Phone 8 portion of the keynote. Tony Garcia of Unity showed off the first demo of the Unity platform on Windows Phone 8. He emphasized during his demo how the Shadowgun sample being shown off was really easy to develop and debug on the PC. And the visuals looked great.
Build conference attendees saw the first demo of the Unity platform on Windows Phone 8 Tuesday.
Also during the Windows Phone 8 keynote, we got a picture of Microsoft as a company that was being responsive to its developers' needs to create compelling app experiences. Microsoft said it has delivered 90% of the top developer requests. That doesn't say how many requests the company received, mind you, but it does show Microsoft is listening and responding.
Among the additions highlighted here: NFC support, SD card access, voice commands and navigation, in-app purchasing, peer-to peer networking, advanced networking, Bluetooth data transfers,text-to-speech, better multitasking, support for VOIP and video chat, and new proximity requests. Microsoft has also added deeper integration with native phone experiences; for example,it opened up access to its camera.
Microsoft is backing its developers