Having teased this last week, we can now happily let you know that the AAWP Universal Windows Platform app is now formally available in the Windows Store, for mobile, tablet and laptop/desktop (of course). Featuring a choice of light and dark themes, in all sizes and aspect ratios, plus quick and smartly cached access to all our content, both static and interactive. And naturally you can run it on any Windows 10 phone, tablet or laptop.
AAWP is being current defined as(!) All About Windows for Phones - hey, we're moving with the times!
Although the AAWP web site is pretty 'responsive' in terms of adapting its layout to different screen sizes and aspect ratios (thanks, Rafe!), and although Microsoft Edge (and Internet Explorer) manage the essentials of caching images (etc.), there's no doubting that a well written application can provide an extra turn of speed and focus.
Plus, with full control over rendering, there's the chance of using a dark theme too, something which a vanilla web browser can't hope to match - this helps when reading at night and also helps with power consumption when using a device with an AMOLED screen, where every fully lit (i.e. white) pixel is burning power as fast as it can.
To give you an idea of how it looks in action, here's a walkthrough. Do note that there are still things to add to 'AAWP Universal', we may announce these in a Flow story in due course, though if you have it installed then it'll just update in the same way as any other Windows Store application:
Here showing off the dark theme, thanks to the AAWP Universal app following my set system theme on my Lumia 950 XL, the 'Latest' view shows all headlines in reverse chronological fashion; (right) the AAWP logo is actually the hamburger menu/control - expect to see these major sections added to in due course ('Podcasts', anyone? 'Search'?).
Tapping through to an article, all images are inline and suitably resized. Also, this being a UWP, the Windows virtual controls can be swept away to give more room for content, though for the purposes of context I've mostly left them in here; (right) using one of the hamburger menu navigation options lets you filter all content under the main headings, in this case 'Reviews'.
The bottom of screen controls in each article currently offer shortcuts to the original web page (though you don't need this in 99% of situations), plus the ability to add an article as a 'Favourite' for quick access later under the 'Favourites' hamburger menu view; (right) playing with the settings - note that you can set a background agent to scan for - and notify you of - new AAWP content. This will eventually make its way into a live tile that 'does stuff'(!)
The UWP code neatly handles elements that the web site struggles with on smaller screens - here I'm interacting with one of my camera phone image comparisons and (right) browsing through one of my device comparison tables. No problem at all for the AAWP Universal app!
Another aspect of being a UWP is that AAWP Universal works just as well in landscape mode as portrait, with hamburger navigation controls down the left hand side. There's also a special mode for image comparisons, tap the top right of any comparator and....
...you're into a comparison mode that can be zoomed in, up to 100% and beyond, yet still fully useable. So, even if your original phone screen resolution didn't seem up to it, you can still look at image quality at the pixel level. The 'Lock Comparer' tool, in case you're wondering, is how you stop the comparison divider from moving around while you're trying to multi-touch zoom and pan around. Clever, eh?
Comments can be found by swiping across on any story, albeit handled behind the scenes by a web wrapper (hence some adverts) - they work brilliantly with the dark theme though - and really make reading a battery-stress-free experience with AMOLED screens, as here.
A huge thanks to Joe Blumenow, the developer of this UWP, for his hard work and dedication over the last few weeks. I'm sure he'd welcome messages of support and, in the fullness of time, some virtual beers. More details to follow on this, perhaps!