Microsoft has started to accept submissions for "Universal Apps" in its Dev Center. Developers can now link apps made for the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store to create a single Windows app listing, allowing users to buy once on one platform and for it to be downloadable and usable on other Windows devices they also own.
The change will also apply to in-app purchases, reports The Next Web, with purchases using the same identifier in both stores also crossing between devices and platforms, with consolidated pricing across both stores. While Microsoft is pushing towards "Universal Apps" using the same basic code base for both Windows and Windows Phone versions, the app store lets app developers link apps that do not necessarily follow this rule, but provide the same experience, saving developers from doing more work than needed.
Developers can also register to create Windows apps without requiring a credit card for validation. In markets where PayPal is supported, Microsoft will now accept PayPal payments for registration and renewals. Developers will also be able to register Windows Phone app names for up to 12 months in advance of release, something already offered in the Windows Store. App certification policies have also been harmonized between the two stores.
The Windows Phone Dev Center has seen a few extra updates. Developers can now choose to use the Windows Runtime Platform for packaging apps instead of the existing Silverlight platform, which Microsoft claims will "maximize code re-use across their apps for phones, tablets, and PCs." Existing Windows Phone 7.1 and 8.0 apps in the Windows Phone Store will be made available to Windows Phone 8.1 devices automatically, though if apps are available for different versions of Windows Phone, the Windows Phone Store will prioritize offering the user the version most appropriate to their device. Certification times have also been reduced to "a few hours" instead of days, thanks to changes to the app certification workflow, and the Dev Center has been redesigned to provide easier access to documentation.