Developers can test Windows 8 apps on an iPad and Here’s How

6.7.2013 Roberto Arduous

There is still a few months to go for the Windows 8 commercial launch, but there’s a significant challenge that Microsoft will initially face when it comes to attracting developers of popular tablet apps to its platform: Attracting them and bringing them to the platform.

Apart from the feat of convincing the developers of iOS or Android tablet apps that it’s worth the investing their time in turning their apps into Metro apps for Windows 8 tablets, there is also a practical concern that hits right in the guts: Having the right hardware for the task.

A quite surprising and unlikely mediator is looking to help bridge this span. Last Thursday, remote desktop software producer Splashtop is launching its new iOS app, the rather not-so-attractively named Win8 Metro Testbed, which will give app developers the chance to test their apps before the official launch on the Windows 8 platform… on an iPad, sounds cool but why on an iPad? Splashtop’s president of its Asia/Pacific region and chief marketing officer Cliff Miller, said this of the potential Windows 8 developers the company is targeting:

If they want to test their apps with touch gestures there’s only one way to do that and that is to buy a Windows tablet, and that can cost $500 to $1,000 or more. … And when it comes to 99 percent of Win8 tablet developers — well, they have iPads.

Now, there are no Windows 8 tablets on the market  just yet and Microsoft has unveiled a public preview of the software, but the finished version of the desktop/tablet OS is supposed to roll out to the public sometime in October. Developers can test their apps on Windows 7 tablets in the meantime, but to Miller’s point, it’s a massive expense for small individual developers and small-time shops. (Though this might be less of a concern with larger companies).

Despite this, Microsoft needs to have a mobile store chockfull of mobile applications from popular, brand name developers of all styles, shapes and sizes to grab consumers attention and bring them to the platform keep consumer and business users alike. That’s why it’s critical that developers start to hop on the wagon (not the bandwagon as of yet) and test their apps soon. So why not meet these developers where they already are?

The iPad is the most popular tablet in terms of hardware sales, and it has the most tablet apps available right now, with 200,000 — Google does not break out the number of Android slate-optimized (native tablet) apps anymore, but it was around 1,300 last summer. The iOS platform also has the most general interest among mobile developers: A joint survey conducted by IDC and Appcelerator released in March, found that 89 percent of developers surveyed said they were interested in making iOS apps, followed by 78.6 percent interested in Android, and very low for Windows, with 37 percent for both Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8 tablets.

Splashtop’s Win8Metro Testbed isn’t cheap by App Store standards: The regular price is $49.99, though for a limited time it will be discounted at $24.99. But it’s certainly more affordable than a brand new device, with tablets going for high prices as mentioned above.

What’s interesting though is that Apple would allow or want an app like this on its own platform. After all, its very existence is encouraging iOS developers to sell their wares on a competitor’s (and potential big competitors) platform. But Apple also gains, in a way, from this arrangement because it signifies that iOS is still the main preference/priority for appmakers, and it is showing that it is loyal to the customers that are returning this loyalty.

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