Duolingo is Now a Universal App on Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile

Posted on September 1, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 0 Comments

Duolingo is Now a Universal App on Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile

The amazing Duolingo language learning app has been remade as a universal app that now works on Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile in addition to earlier Windows Phone versions.

As noted, I don’t normally cover app updates unless it’s a big deal. To do otherwise would be a waste of my time and your time. But this really is a big deal.

As I wrote previously in Better Language Learning Through Technology, I’ve been using Duolingo daily since last September or October to learn Spanish. Since writing that article, I “finished” the Spanish segment in the app, and have moved on to daily honing of skills, which is much needed: learning a language is hard, perhaps impossible, unless you’re really immersed in it regularly. And that would require living in a place in which that language was the norm. Duolingo, I’ve discovered, is the next best thing.

When I first investigated Duolingo and other language learning apps, it was only available on the web, and an Android and iOS. But it was later made available on Windows Phone, too, which is amazing. The strange thing about this app is that it’s a bit different on each platform, and I’m always interested to watch as it’s improved on each. To date, the iOS version is my favorite, though the Android version has some features that are unique to that platform. The Windows Phone version, no surprise, has been the least full-featured. It lacks the optional lessons on idioms and flirting, for example, in Spanish. (Each language has different lessons, of course, so I’m not sure how it might differ in French or elsewhere.)

(Since I know this is so fascinating, ahem, since writing about Duolingo in March, I’ve jumped from level 11 to level 18 and in the midst of a 118-day streak, meaning that I’ve completed at least two lessons—often more—each day for that duration. My actual streak is over 160 days, as I got ripped off by a time change when I traveled to San Francisco back in April But whatever. Point is, I really do use this app.)

Last night, Duolingo updated its app on Windows. It now supports Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile in addition to earlier Windows Phone versions. As you can see from this shot, it is indeed the Windows Phone version of the app, and it makes no concession to screen/app size or orientation.

duoling-main

As such, it remains much less full-featured than the Android- and iOS-based versions of the app. It uses the older “heart”-based system where you have to start a lesson over if you get three questions wrong, a system long ago abandoned on the other platforms. But it does less generally, and has none of the community integration features that set the Android version apart in particular.

duolingo-lesson

There are other oddities. You can’t access your profile or the Duolingo “store,” from which you can “purchase” in-game power-ups. (And don’t confuse this with in-game purchases. You never pay Duolingo for anything.) This is true on Windows Phone, too, of course.

That said, it’s still perfectly usable, and I love having a native app option on the computing platform I actually use every day. And it’s free, so complaints about functionality are a bit less problematic. That said, if you do have an Android or iOS device you use regularly, use Duolingo there instead: you’ll learn more, better, and potentially faster. But let’s at least celebrate the fact that this wonderful app is already available on Windows 10. I’m hoping to see this trend continue. And improve.

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