With the release last week of Windows 8 and Windows RT, developers are excited to take advantage of these new platforms, creating rich and immersive applications. For many, the Windows Store (and/or the Windows Phone Store) is a great way to publish apps to the widest possible audience. For Line of Business (LOB) app developers within a company, however, the story isn’t quite so simple. For typical LOB apps there is simply no need or desire for the app to be made available to the public, since such apps are intended for use only within a single organization. Installation of Windows 8 apps through a mechanism other than via the Windows Store is called “sideloading”.
In the current release, Windows Intune provides a simple and efficient way for administrators to make apps available only to their end users via a personalized app catalog . Using the Windows Intune administrative console, various types of applications can be uploaded to the Windows Intune Service and made available to end users for them to install from a web-based portal.
While these features exist in the current release of Windows Intune, the next release extends these features in several important ways. First, we add support for deployment of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 apps from the administrative console. The console also supports management of sideloaded keys for Windows RT devices. End users will be able to download and install a fully immersive “Company Portal” Windows 8 app from the Windows Store, through which they can discover and install LOB apps made available by their company. And true to our plan to provide greater integration between Windows Intune and SCCM, deployment of apps is also possible from the SCCM administrative console, with these apps delivered through the Windows Intune service and installed via the Company Portal app.
Want to learn more? Mark Williams, a Senior Program Manager from the Windows Intune team, recently discussed these features in a new episode of Channel 9’s DevRadio series, including how to create Windows 8 packages, preparing devices for sideloading, uploading apps to the Windows Intune service and a demo of the new “Company Portal” Windows 8 app.