Last month we filled you in on why you should jump on the Windows 8 app development bandwagon, and today we’re letting you know why now’s the time to develop apps for Windows Phone. It is an exciting time to be a developer for the Windows Phone platform, just as with Windows 8 – and here’s why.
Windows Phone is rapidly evolving and maturing as a platform. With the release of Windows Phone 8 in October of 2012 Microsoft finally achieved their initial goals they set out with when Windows Phone 7 was originally released in late 2010. Microsoft has made it clear that they are in the mobile game for the long haul, especially with knowledge of recent rumors and leaks about Windows Phone Blue.
Microsoft is also continuing to think about the future as they refine partnerships with ecosystem diversification. Earlier this week they announced exciting development partnerships (and free offers) including Box’s cloud storage APIs, Buddy mobile backend services and ExitGames Photon Cloud multiplayer gaming cloud services. They are also wisely continuing to rely heavily on Nokia for strengthening the marketplace.
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and Microsoft announced this week via Mobile World Conference that there are now more than 130,000 Windows Phone apps in the Windows Phone store. Besides the sheer number of apps, quality apps are also crucial to the success of the ecosystem, premier app partners are finally starting to join the Windows Phone bandwagon – like the GoPro app for Windows Phone 8.
Nokia is clearly leading the charge with Windows Phone devices. It is no secret that they are heavily invested in the overall success of the platform, and their recent slew of entry level and top of the line devices prove that fact. Not to mention that they continually support the Windows Phone app ecosystem by releasing fantastic apps for free to all including their recently rebranded HERE apps and the now out of private beta DVLUP developer rewards platform.
The Nokia Lumia 920 was recently voted the 2012 Best Smart Phone of the Year by Engadget readers which created a lot of buzz. This might not sound like a big deal but in the year of the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S3, the Nokia Lumia 920 stood king. For the first time since it’s inception, a Window Phone can stand on it’s own in design, functionality and ecosystem. News of the forthcoming Nokia Lumia 1000 which is rumored to feature a 41 megapixel PureView camera is adding fuel to the Windows Phone fire.
Microsoft and Nokia are also now clearly taking a shot across the bow at Google and their Android platform with Nokia’s entry and mid level devices in the Lumia 520, Lumia 620 and Lumia 720. Android is easily the most popular smart phone platform in the world not simply because of their high-end devices. Their low end devices are a cheap entry point for new smart phone customers which help drive massive sales. Microsoft and Nokia are now clearly trying to take a piece of that giant pie.
Rapid Market Share Growth
Riding on the overwhelming success of Nokia Lumia devices (especially the Lumia 920), Windows Phone is beginning to make waves around the world thanks to those strong and growing sales numbers. Windows Phone is seeing extremely strong growth in the United Kingdom in particular where many frustrated Android users are flocking to Windows Phone (a 240% increase). Windows Phone has also experienced exponential growth of over 300% in Russia as of late (and 16.3% market share in Poland). Overall around the world market share continues to climb, and with more low cost devices on the way growth should tick up to an even faster pace, which of course means more potential customers for Windows Phone developers.
We’ve covered this aspect of the ecosystem in depth over the past few months. No company on the planet offers their developers more free tools and assets to succeed than Microsoft. We’ve talked extensively as of late about the tools and resources Microsoft provides for learning how to program and develop for both Windows Phone and Windows Store apps.
A few of our favorite here of course are Nokia’s DVLUP which rewards developers for publishing Windows Phone apps. Channel 9 which provides countless training and overview videos. Generation App which provides free one-on-one guidance and opportunities for developers, and of course our pals over at the Windows Developer Show, a weekly podcast for Microsoft fans and Windows Phone and Windows Store app developers.
Windows 8 & the Microsoft Surface
I’ve been preaching this to friends and fanboys all along, but the Trojan horse in the mobile phone marketplace just may be Windows 8. Thanks to the unified design language shared between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, as the Windows 8 desktop operating system gains traction, developers and end users will become more comfortable with the Windows Phone operating system. This should help kick start sales as more users refresh their handsets.
The Microsoft Surface and even Windows Server furthers this unified vision of a ecosystem, which allows consumers and businesses to share a common interface in the mobile, PC and server spaces. Why wouldn’t you want your devices of all shapes and sizes to look and function similarly? Maybe even more importantly, why wouldn’t developers want to develop their apps across the PC and phone platforms now that it is easier to do so with a Shared Windows Core (NT kernel)?
The bottom line is many (especially “tech bloggers”), called the mobile race over long ago. However, Microsoft is clearly on an upswing with both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, and is gaining consumer confidence month after month and crazily enough Microsoft just may be cool again. If Microsoft can keep Nokia pushing out quality devices in broad price ranges while also reaching out to other handset makers like HTC and Samsung to embrace Windows Phone more, they just may continue this upward trend indefinitely.
It is an exciting time for the entire Windows ecosystem, but especially Windows Phone. Make sure you jump on the bandwagon now and get a head start before what we believe is the inevitable boom in Windows Phone device sales. Stephen Elop believes Windows Phone 8 can become the biggest mobile operating system thanks to the emerging markets, and we agree with them.
If you’d like to get started with developing for Windows Phone, be sure to check out our recent development articles including our wildly successful “Let Microsoft Teach You How to Code – For Free!” If you’re looking for a refined and easy ecosystem to be a part of, this is it.