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June 16, 2014

Windows Phone 8.1 breaks fitness app duopoly

Microsoft’s mobiles will get Fitbit, the smartband app.

By Ben Sullivan

Wearable fitness smartband firm Fitbit has announced that it is developing an app for Windows Phone 8.1.

The news means that Windows Phone 8.1 will be joining Google and Apple in the mobile fitness race, showing the growing usage of the Windows phone platform which lies trailing behind iOS and Android usage.

The company said in a post: "Fitbit is developing an application for Windows Phone 8.1."

Fitbit currently has an app available for Windows 8.1, so the company is likely using Windows Phone 8.1’s Universal apps feature, which lets developers share a majority of the code between Windows 8.1 and its mobile counterpart, Windows Phone 8.1.

Figures released by analyst firm Canalys showed that the Fitbit fitness band accounted for nearly 50% of the world’s 2.5 million shipments in the first quarter of 2014.

No date was revealed as to when the app may be released.

The adoption of Windows Phone 8.1 by developers has been much slower than it has been for iOS and Android. Many of the more well-known apps have shunned Windows Phones in the past, citing the lack of interest by consumers in the platform as a reason for not wanting to develop apps for Windows. Other developers have also said that there a technical limitations on Windows Phone that prevent developers from making any headway in app development.

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But the new Universal development feature is one that Microsoft hopes will attract more developers to the platform.

Chris Weber, VP of mobile device sales at Microsoft, said last week at the Business Transformed event: "The ability to write an app and have it run across multiple form factors, whether that’s your phone, tablet, your PC, we’re really focused on allowing developers to do that."

He added that there are now 255,000 apps in the Windows 8 app store.

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