Sideloading is a term that might sound a little intimidating for some users. In reality, though, it is a simple enough concept that means installation of applications outside the official defined ecosystem.
For Windows 8.1, as an example, it is the release and installation of custom applications outside the Windows Store. This is rather handy for businesses and organizations that have developed special software for their employees and would rather deploy it in-house instead of via the Windows Store.
Good news for these organizations, then, as Microsoft has now made it easier for them to release Windows 8.1 apps and have them sideloading onto devices.
One of the more important BUILD 2014 announcements is the expansion of sideloading options for Windows 8.1. Redmond now allows customers in various Volume Licensing programs to obtain sideloading rights at no additional cost.
The company explained this new change in complete detail in a blog post.
Basically, customers that have Enterprise, Enterprise Subscription, Enrollment for Education Solutions, School Enrollment, Select and Select Plus agreements are now eligible for a free sideload app key.
And the upcoming Windows 8.1 Update will bring the ability to sideload applications for all Windows 8.1 Pro devices that are connected to an Active Directory domain.
And as ZDNet reports, other businesses that want sideloading rights can get them for $100 — this is good for an unlimited number of devices. Previously, Microsoft charged $30 for each device to allow sideloading, so this is a pretty neat offer.