Note: Thanks to Tom Warren from The Verge for pointing out that the symbol I thought meant an app was universal actually means the two apps are simply linked between the two app stores. Apps which are developed and share a significant amount of their code are considered universal but in the end do not impact the end user on either platform. Many thanks to WP developer Ginny Caughey for that clarity.

The linking of the apps can allow a single purchase of those apps across all platforms it is available on, synched in app purchases and tying together the backend support of the apps and an easier means for developers to manage their apps in one place.

Windows Phone Central’s Daniel Rubino has a good write up on further understanding Universal Apps.

I have gone ahead and replaced the word universal with linked throughout the post just to make things clearer for posterity.


During Build 2014 details were shared with developers on how they would soon be able to create link apps that would work on both between the Windows Phone and Windows platforms.

Those apps, were referred to as Universal Linked Apps and if you are trying out the Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview then you will be starting to see Microsoft, and other developers, beginning to release  their own Universal Linked Apps.

Amongst some of the first universal linked offerings from Microsoft are two apps that we have had on Windows 8.1 for sometime – Movie Moments and Reading List.

Movie Moments (Windows 8.1 & Windows Phone 8.1)

Turn any video into a memorable moment you’ll love to share. With this app, you can trim your video to your favorite parts, highlight key moments with captions and effects, and set the mood with music.

  • Pick your favorite 60 seconds. You can trim from the beginning, middle, or end.
  • Highlight your favorite moments with fun, colorful captions in a range of styles.
  • Add music that matches the moment. We’ve included a few songs for different moods, or you can use songs from your collection.
  • When your movie is exactly how you want it, share it with family and friends right from the app.

Here are some screenshots from when I tested out the app earlier:

wp_ss_20140430_0009 wp_ss_20140430_0013

I even created a test video in just a few seconds to see how simple the process is:

The app is already very popular on Windows Phone as it has garnered almost 100 reviews for an overall average of 4.5 Stars.

Reading List (Windows 8.1 & Windows Phone 8.1)

Whatever you like to read or watch, the app makes it easy to save, find and get back to things you like, listing content you’ve saved in chronological order.

  • Add bookmarks from any app or Internet Explorer to keep track of things you want to get back to later.
  • See your list in the Windows Reading List app that is available on all Windows 8.1 devices whether you’re on your phone or PC
  • Easily remove items once you’re done with them
  • Search through the items in your reading list to find specific things
  • Each item is shown in a rich display, showing the title, images, and what app it came from
  • Categorize items. You can group together ideas about the next place you want to vacation, articles about finance, or things you want to read for work
  • Filter items easily by category
  • Share a set of items from your list with others
  • Removed an item by mistake? Use the recently deleted section to find it

Here are some screenshots of the app as it appears on Windows Phone:

wp_ss_20140430_0010 wp_ss_20140430_0011 wp_ss_20140430_0012

The app is also gaining popularity in the Windows Phone store and has attained an overall rating of 4.5 Stars after 78 reviews.

So as more of these Universal Linked Apps hit the Windows and Windows Phone app stores how do you tell which are which?

It is actually very easy and the spot to look depends on which app store you are accessing the app listing in.

In the Windows Phone Store look just below the publishers name:


Over in the Windows Store look just below the Install button:

windowsreadinglistuniversal1 moviemomentsuniversal1

Here is what I think would be a fantastic idea with Universal Linked Apps in the future.

Since we can already sync things between our Windows 8 devices, including app install and uninstalls, why not enable that same functionality between those Windows 8 devices and our Windows Phone handsets as well?

Would you vote for a feature like that?