Microsoft, Xamarin extend mobile app development to multiple platforms

Developers focused on iOS and Android apps can create Microsoft Windows apps at the same time, thanks to Microsoft's new partnership with Xamarin.

Visual Studio and C# developers can now do mobile application development for Microsoft Windows devices alongside iOS and Android platforms.

Microsoft has partnered with Xamarian to provide tools that support mobile application development for the different platforms.

As such, Microsoft is increasing its reach into the mobile market by arming Visual Studio and C# developers with tools from Xamarin Inc. to support mobile app development for the different platforms.

The collaboration between Microsoft and Xamarin enables C# and Visual Studio developers to create mobile apps for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac OS applications more efficiently by using a single shared code base. About 75% of the code can be shared among the different platforms, with the remaining 25% requiring developers to modify an app for the platform's native user interface.

Microsoft's need to collaborate with Xamarin illustrates the company's difficulties with encouraging developers to spend time and resources to create applications for its mobile Windows platforms.

"Mobile developers are always looking for ways to leverage what they do across multiple mobile platforms," said Al Hilwa, IDC Corp.'s program director for software development research. "The situation is intense, and developers have their hands full with the top one and two platforms, so ... it is an issue for a third platform trying to muscle into their attention."

Indeed, developers focus their attention on Apple Inc.'s iOS and Google's Android platforms due to market demand. Support for Windows Phone falls lower on companies' priority lists.

The collaboration gives Xamarin greater visibility into the Visual Studio and Windows developer community, especially for those who create custom or third-party enterprise applications.

Microsoft Developer Network subscribers will receive specific trial and pricing options for the Xamarin subscription; subscriptions for Xamarin's tools range from a free individual starter to an $1,899 tool for an enterprise per year. A $3,995 training program for developers will launch in January to teach developers how to create apps for the iOS and Android platforms.

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