Roku for Windows offers new features.

Roku’s New App for the Universal Windows Platform Isn’t Fully “Universal”

Roku announces a new build of their app via universal Windows platform (UWP).

(However, it’s not really “universal” at all.)

As any Windows Phone user knows, the Windows mobile version of the Roku app is basically a bare-bones version, despite being universal on all Windows platforms. The Roku app is made for laptops and tablets exclusively- or rather, with a large focus on devices with larger screens rather than mobile computing. The mobile version is slimmed down and doesn’t include all the features the other versions for tablets, laptops, and desktops.

So much for a “universal” platform across all devices.

Roku mentioned that they’ll be making and designing the app optimized for larger screens that both laptops and tablets offer, but not so much for mobile devices. Roku mentioned that working with Microsoft closely is a key factor.

Roku for Windows- what’s new?

The new Roku for Windows offers new features- such as Cortana search.
The new Roku for Windows offers new features- such as Cortana search.

The new Roku app has a few new perks- mainly Cortana integration for improved search and a redesigned home feed that has a quick-access bar for your Channels list. This is a convenience for larger screens, which may be why Roku and Microsoft isn’t really focusing on mobile devices- at least not now.

The new app also includes the “Play on Roku” function for playing your music and viewing your photos right on your TV screen.

So, why isn’t there any mobile support for Roku?

Because whether or not you’re a Windows Phone user, you probably already know that there’s basically no support for Windows Phone apps. See that new app? It’s probably for Android and iOS users only. See that new game? Windows Phone gets the crappy version that’s a version behind. We all know that the mobile space for Microsoft is in last place. Thus, it’s not surprising to see that Roku and other companies are ignoring the mobile app outlet for Windows Phone users.

The whole idea behind UWP is that it’s supposed to be universal. You can download an app and it’ll be there for you- synced across your PC, tablet, Xbox, phone, laptop, and maybe even Hololens.

It’s not just Roku

But seeing many giant companies simply ignore the mobile option is too obvious to ignore. Facebook and Twitter both have yet to deliver a UWP channel, and both Vine and Roku seems to be fine with just letting Windows Phone 8 users download their apps from the Windows Store if they really wanted to have the apps on their phone, but that’s it.

The whole UWP seems to be ignored by developers, to be honest. Is it too much work? Is it not worth the budget? Is it a bad investment? Who knows. Microsoft has to make a lot of changes if it wants to have developers put in the requirements to play along with the UWP push across Windows 10, let alone have a functioning Windows Store for mobile apps.

We’ll have to see what happens. Roku is a leader in the on-demand streaming industry. We should expect more from this company as they improve over time. Sit tight.

About Andy Z.

Andy is a casual-hardcore Chrome OS fan and contributes to the site regularly. He likes computers, tech, sports cars, videogames, and of course, Chromebooks. Thinker. Introvert. Geek. You can find him on Twitter (@platytech), or send him an email (

What do you think?

Be the first to comment (and make history!)...