Online retailer Amazon is set to retire their old app for Windows Phone users today. The news first broke back in June right as the fiscal year was ending and since then multiple reminders have been sent to users notifying them of the impending change.
Amazon has not kept up with the times with infrequent updates and missing the wave of Windows 10 apps starting in 2015. Nonetheless, the app was still quite functional and did let users have easy access to their accounts as well as online shopping on the go.
Its removal from the Store and subsequent loss of support is a big blow to Microsoft's mobile ambitions. While consumers can still access their Amazon account through the web browser, the experience is less than ideal compared to an app not to mention the loss of notifications, Live Tile, and other integrated features.
Amazon Windows 10 app - Truth or fiction?
In July, WinBeta caught wind that a new app was in the works for Windows 10 presumably for mobile and PC. The information came via Amazon's internal apps team through customer support channels, which sounds more legitimate than regular customer support. Moreover, they had two different groups convey the same information. Then again, any consumer-facing support can be unreliable especially if the information is not current.
Almost to prove the point above a few days later German site WindowsUnited.de ran a story contradicting WinBeta. The press office of Amazon Germany told Windows United that the WinBeta story is "misinformation" and they were asking for a correction.
I did some digging on this story and the truth, as always, is somewhere in between. Amazon is starting work on an app for Windows 10 but at this time it is only planned for PC and not mobile. Nonetheless, being a Universal Windows App does lend itself to being adapted for mobile with modest changes at any point. Plans could certainly change during development.
That's the good news. The bad-ish news is as of now I am hearing from people at Amazon that the app could be using Project Westminster making it a Hosted Web App.
Westminster apps are quite remarkable when compared to the old 'web wrappers' on Windows Phone 8.1. Windows 10 projects based on Westminster are true UWP apps and can leverage Live Tiles, Notifications, Calendar, Contacts, Cortana voice commands and authentication making them nearly indistinguishable from "native" UWP apps. They can also dynamically update server side negating the need for updates through the Store.
Of course, it should go without saying that a lot could change over the coming weeks and months during development so take the above with a grain of salt. Amazon could decide to make a native app, cancel the project, or let their Hosted Web App on to other platforms like Phone, HoloLens, and even Xbox. The takeaway, for now, is that not all is doom and gloom when it comes to Amazon and Microsoft's Windows 10 ambitions.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.