Devices support for Universal Windows 10 Platform apps

Devices support for Universal Windows 10 Platform apps


Short introduction

I suppose you know that Universal Windows Platform is available on every device that run Windows 10 but have you ever asked what exact device it is and what parameters are important? This is very important especially when you planning your app design and you should prepare your app to look great on every Windows 10 device.

Let’s see devices types and their specification.

Devices categories

There are five categories of devices that supports Universal Windows 10 Platform:

1) Phones and phablets


Phones and phablets devices are most widely-used. Nowadays phones are strong enough for UWP applications. Larger phones are called phablets and offer more space on the screen.


  1. a) Phones: 4″ – 6″ screens
  2. b) Phablets: 6″+ – 7 screens


Mostly used in portrait orientation what is connected with ease of holding the phone with one hand. Great experience for landscape orientation is viewing photos and videos or texting. Its also mostly used by only one person – device owner who is often multitasking when using it. Phones and phablets are also used in short periods of time.

UI Considerations

Because phone’s screen has small size only one frame at time can be displayed – of course in portrait and landscape orientations. User can navigate between different pages with “drill” model (divide displayed data between different pages in application). When you design application for phones and phablets please ensure that there is enough space for app bar when the on-screen keyboard is up.

Important inputs

a) Touch

b) Voice

Capabilities typical for phones and phablets

a) Microphone

b) Camera

c) Movement sensors

d) Location sensors


2) Tablets


Tablets are the next group of devices that supports Universal Windows Platform.


a) 7″ – 13.3″ screens


Interesting information is that about 80% of tablet devices are used by their owner and 20% are shared with others in use. Tablets are also used as a companion while watching TV. Genertally speaking their are used for longer periods than phones and phablets.

UI Considerations

Tablets allow two frames at time in landspace and portrait orientation. System back button is located on the navigation bar.

Important inputs

a) Touch

b) Stylus

c) External keyboard

d) Mouse and voice (occasionally)

Capabilities typical for tablets

a) Camera

b) Microphone

c) Movement and location sensors


3) PC and laptops


There are a lot of PCs and laptops that support Windows and Universal Windows 10 Apps. For sure PCs and laptops are able to display more than phones or tablets.


  1. a) 13″ and greater


Apps on desktop and laptop see shared use, but by only one user at a time and usually for longer periods.

UI Considerations

On the larger screens app can have more than three frames and they can be displayed in windowed view (size determined by the user). Please note that users running UWP apps on PCs and tablets should have possibility to use commands like “save as” or “recent files” if needed. Back navigation is optional and developer chooses whether show it or not.

Important inputs

a) Mouse

b) Keyboard

c) Touch (laptops and all-in-one desktops)

d) Gamepads

Capabilities typical for PCs and laptops

a) Camera

b) Microphone


4) Surface Hub


Surface Hub is larg-screen device created by Microsoft which allows simultaneous usage by multiple users.


a) 55″ and 84″ screens


Surface Hub is device that is rather stationary and rarely moved. It is used during the meetings.

UI Considerations

Universal Windows 10 Apps can appear in four states on the Surface Hub:

a) Fill – fixed view that occupies the available place

b) Full – standard full-screen view

c) Snapped – left or right side of the creen

d) Background – hidded from view but still running and visible in the task watcher

In the “Snapped” or “Fill” mode system displays Skype sidebar and shrinks the application horizontally.

Please note that users running UWP apps on Surface Hub should have possibility to use commands like “save as” or “recent files” if needed. Back navigation is optional and developer chooses whether show it or not.

Important inputs

a) Touch

b) Pen

c) Voice

d) Keybopard

e) Touchpad

Capabilities typical for Surface Hub

a) Camera

b) Microphone


5) Windows IoT devices


Windows IoT devices are an emerging class of devices centered around embedding small electronics, sensors, and connectivity within physical objects.

Devices can have screen: they are called “headed” or they can be without screen: “headless”.


a) 3″ or smaller

b) Some devices have no screen


Windows IoT devices can only run one application at a time unlike phones or other larger devices. App doesn’t have a dedicated back affordance, that is the developers responsibility (like reaction for screen touch).

UI Considerations

Display for “headed” devices (so with the screen) is minimal, only showing what is necessary due to limited screen real estate and functionality.

“Headless” devices have no screen.

Orientation is most times locked, so your app only needs to consider one display direction.

Important inputs

There are many different inputs – it depends on which component will be used by the IoT device engineer.

Capabilities typical for Windows IoT devices

There are many different capabilities – it depends on which component will be used by the IoT device engineer.

Sum up

In this post I wanted to show you differents devices types that supports Universal Windows 10 platforms and what are they tipical capabilities. Now you can start designing your beautiful UWP apps for every Windows 10 device!

Please also see official guideline for creating UWP apps: UWP Design Guideline