Why developers are one of the key factors to future Windows Phone 7 success?
IDC and Gartner are both predicting a very bright future for Windows Phone 7 by 2015. The position of Windows Phone 7 will be #2 behind the Android platform with iOS at #3.
When Windows Phone 7 was announced I remember many analysts including a specific Gartner one suggesting that Windows Phone 7 would be a minor player. Based on my experience of the Microsoft ecosystem there was one factor even back then that I thought would contribute to the success of the platform and that was developers. Whilst this may seem obvious I have experienced some of the challenges developing for other platforms and their app stores.
The Microsoft development community are :
A highly prized commodity in terms of their availability and the salaries paid
Backed by feature rich tooling e.g. Visual Studio and good support (from Microsoft and the wider developer community)
The value of these developers was apparent when the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace became the fastest App Store to 10000 applications http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2381860,00.asp UPDATE: It has now become the fastest to 15000 applications.
Other less obvious factors which will contribute to the momentum are:
Availability of starter versions of Visual Studio for hobbyists
DreamSpark (https://www.dreamspark.com/) which gives students Microsoft development tools FREE
Changes made to the Marketplace including 70% of application revenues go to the developer
The ability for end users to trial an application before buying
Good developers can develop Windows Phone 7 applications faster compared to other platforms (generally)
Whilst on the topic of students, this lot have created a BAFTA nominated game for the Windows Phone 7 called Mush http://www.angrymangogames.com/ I played a pre-release version and it is a beautifully crafted game. I am looking forward to its release.
A recent survey http://bit.ly/hyWLfF suggests that Microsoft need to do more get developers “interested” in their platform which means it has some work to do here.
Recent developments such as the tie-up with Nokia and the upcoming ‘Mango’ release will help to grow market share for Windows Phone 7 but will the platform push past iOS and attempt to dent Android’s dominance as predicted?