What's a Store app?

Applies to Windows and Windows Phone

There are lots of different types of apps that run on various platforms. So, what do we mean when we say "Store apps"? We mean non-desktop apps that run on Windows devices and Windows Phone, like these.

Windows Store apps running on Windows devices

Windows Store apps

Windows Store app

Windows Store apps run on Windows devices (like PCs, tablets, or laptops) and can be sold in the Windows Store.

Windows Phone Store apps

Windows Phone Store apps

Windows Phone Store app

Windows Phone Store apps run on Windows Phones and can be sold in the Windows Phone Store.

Universal apps

Universal Windows apps

Universal app

Universal Windows apps are apps that are available in both the Windows Store and the Windows Phone Store. With Microsoft Visual Studio, you can easily create apps for Windows devices and Windows Phone from a single project.


Now that you know what Store apps are, let's talk about what makes them special.

Use a language you already know

You can create Store apps using the programming languages you're most familiar with, like JavaScript, C#, Visual Basic, or C++. You can even write components in one language and use them in an app that's written in another language.

Store apps can use the Windows Runtime, a native API built into the operating system. This API is implemented in C++ and supported in JavaScript, C#, Visual Basic, and C++ in a way that feels natural for each language.

Store apps come to life on Windows

On Windows, your app can deliver relevant, real-time info to your users and keep them coming back for more. In the modern app economy, your app has to be engaging to stay at the front of your users’ lives. Windows provides you with lots of resources to help keep your users returning to your app:

  • Live tiles and the lock screen show contextually relevant and timely info at a glance.
  • Push notifications bring real-time, breaking alerts to your user’s attention when they're needed.

  • On Windows Phone, the new Action Center is a place where you can organize and display notifications and content that users need to take action on.

  • Background execution and triggers bring your app to life just when the user needs it.

  • Your app can use voice and Bluetooth LE devices to help users interact with the world around them.

Finally, you can now use roaming data and the Windows Credential Locker to enable a consistent roaming experience across all of the Windows screens where users run your app. Roaming data gives you an easy way to store a user’s preferences and settings in the cloud, without having to build your own sync infrastructure. And you can store user credentials in the Credential Locker, where security and reliability are the top priority.

Monetize your app your way

On Windows, you can choose how you'll monetize your app—across phones, tablets, and PCs. We give you a number of ways to make money with your app and the services it delivers. All you need to do is choose the one that works best for you:

  • A paid download is the simplest option. Just name your price.
  • Trials give you a unique way to let users try your app before buying it, providing easier discoverability and conversion than the more traditional "freemium" options.
  • In-app purchase offers you the most flexibility for monetizing your app.

Let's get started

Now that you know what a Store app is, check out Get set up to download the tools you need to start creating apps.

Other types of apps

The guides and tutorials in this section cover Store apps that use the Windows Runtime, but there are other types of apps you might also be interested in.

Windows desktop appAn executable or browser plug-in that runs in the Windows desktop environment. These apps are typically written in Win32 and COM, .NET, WPF, or Direct3D APIs. For more info, see the Desktop dev center.

Windows Phone Silverlight app

Windows Phone Silverlight 8 app

Windows Phone Silverlight 8.1 app

A Windows Phone app that uses the Windows Phone Silverlight UI Framework instead of the Windows Runtime and can be sold in the Windows Phone Store. For more info, see Windows Phone Silverlight development.


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