Undoubtedly, today there’s a need of good selection of apps for any mobile platform to be successful. It’s worthless to follow the approach that “platform comes first and apps later”. Now-a-day, there is exigency of a strong mobile ecosystem prior to create a mobile platform. At present, platform needs a well-turned developers base in order to imagine and build apps.
In June of this year, Microsoft reported to have more than 100,000 apps on its Windows Phone Marketplace. Microsoft’s app catalog is growing with galloping pace, while sales of Windows Phone devices are still not impressive compare to Android and iOS. Till the end of Q2 2012, Microsoft’s Windows Phone and Mobile combined accounted for just 3.5% of total smartphone market share, however, the platforms showed off 115.3% year-over-year growth in terms of shipments. It’s pretty clear that the demand of Microsoft Windows Phone powered smartphones are uniformly increasing; that’s why Nokia sold 4 million Lumia models in Q2 of this year.
According to a recent report, Windows Phone would surpass iPhone in China next year. It’s expected that Windows Phone would grab 7.5% of China’s smartphone market share by the end of this year, leading by Android with 70% and iOS with 12%. But the scenario will be changed in next year, while Windows Phone will succeed to hold 15% market share, followed by Apple’s iOS with 13%. It’s pretty clear that the opportunity for Windows Phone is going to surge in upcoming years.
One side, where Microsoft has boastingly reported to achieve 100,000 apps figure, while other side, Apple’s App store has over 700,000 apps and Google Play Store has more than 600,000 apps, with over 20 billion downloads. Suppose for some instances, I consider that apps are primary thing for the platform, then anyone would tell me where the most apps are available for Windows Phone device? In terms of Windows Phone apps availability, the U.S. leads the way with 77,450 out of 100,000 apps, while there are 33,063 apps are available to Windows Phone in China.
I firmly believe in apps number and ‘Apple App Store’ and ‘Google Play Store’ are far ahead of Microsoft’s Windows Phone Marketplace in this aspect. In 2008, Apple launched its iTunes App Store, soon it was followed by Android Market (now Google Play). However, Microsoft is nascent in this space, but stats are revealing something else. Microsoft took just 20 months to touch 100,000 apps figure, while Google’s Android Market took 24 months to achieve such milestone goal. Apparently, I accept the fact that the shipments of smartphones have mounted up in last couple of years compare to 2008 and this is the reason why Microsoft achieved the target little earlier than Google. Astoundingly, Microsoft is offering 67% of its Windows Phone apps free of cost to users.
How Windows Phone 8 Platform Could Entice App Developers?
It has been confirmed that Microsoft is going to launch its Windows Phone 8 (WP8) OS next month. Besides, Nokia is on the way to launch its two WP8 handsets—Lumia 920 and 820. At present, both Microsoft and Nokia are quite aggressive to expend their mobile ecosystem and make the platform an alternative of Android and iOS. It’s also true that developers and consumers are still struggling to find out their favorite apps and games on Windows Phone Marketplace.
Just a month before, I explained that 53.2% apps developer preferred to work on iOS platform for enterprise app development against 37.3% on Android, while just 6% of developers were willing to work on Windows platform. That’s why Microsoft and Nokia took the application ecosystem into their own hand—creating their own versions of popular apps for Windows Phone platform. Both (Microsoft and Nokia) are trying to provide incentives with monetary benefits to developers to build apps for the platform. However, it’s also true that majority of developers are still focusing on Android and iOS platforms–which provides a much bigger and monetize user base globally.
Despite of these, I think, developers will prefer to have Windows Phone 8 platform for app development. I consider, WP8 is the first complete version of Windows Phone for mobile. The reason is: WP7 is based on Windows CE desktop kernel, which works and looks almost like Windows OS, but it’s not compatible on all form factors (Tablet and desktop) that are associated with Windows ecosystem. On the other hand, WP8 resembles to Windows 8 OS, which runs on desktops, Tablets and other Windows ecosystem supported devices. Not exactly, but WP8 is just a version that has been optimized to run on mobile devices and Tablet. Indeed, it would be a good news for app developers that WP7 apps will be compatible with WP8 as well.
Here, developers will have an opportunity to leverage upon Windows unified development platform (across desktop, Tablets and mobile). It’s expected that developers need not be worried about the segmentation of platforms such as desktop, mobile and Tablet. WP8-based applications will run potentially on both form factors such as desktop as well as mobile.
WP8 platform will provide ‘rights of access’ to native app developers for all low level and high level APIs–that will work on both desktops and mobile. Moreover, WP8 platform will endow better hardware optimization and more functionality to developers in order to create more seamless native apps.
It would be great hearsay for developers those have been developing apps for Windows desktop platform since 1990s that they can now build apps for WP8 as well; however, they will have to do little modification for smaller screen. Of course, with single move, Microsoft has turned a biggest set of developers market towards Windows platform without offering bribes.
It’s really very tough for Microsoft to surpass Android and iOS platform in terms of app quantity, that’s why the company is targeting on the qualitative approach. Obviously, more than 100,000 apps on Windows Phone Marketplace sounds good, which is creating a strong impression into the users’ mind. The company is also endeavoring to localize the apps in order to entice more number of premium users. I think, Windows Phone 8 could prove itself as a potent alternative for iOS and Android platform.