WP7 Today and Tomorrow

10 06 2011

Developer Economics recently published their bi-annual report on the smartphone world. There were some interesting tidbits that I wanted to look closer at. Especially those related to Windows Phone 7. For the full report, go HERE 

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Today

As many of you know, Windows Phone 7 has had a rocky start in 2010 and 2011. According to Gartner, less than three million devices have been sold worldwide. According to the DE-report, a wide user base is the primary driver behind developers writing applications for a platform.

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As Android now surpasses Apple in terms of marketshare, Windows Phone 7 is lagging behind, and the industry becomes more hesitant. The current mindset when developing for multiple platforms among developers is this:

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In the U.S., BlackBerry is still a large part of corporate America. In Europe however, BlackBerry developers are almost non-existent. Microsoft has had a window here to swoop in and charm the corporate world with Windows Phone 7, but many EU-countries still find themselves without proper region support. In Sweden, you can buy a WP7-device, but the platform is not officially launched. There is no Marketplace, no Xbox-Live and no language support. This makes it even more difficult for companies to sell Windows Phone 7 projects. This often leads to either the Mobile Web (see upcoming blog post), or Least Common Denominator Programming (LCDP).

What Windows Phone 7 has going for it is the strength of its toolset. Windows Phone 7 is the only platform which many developers felt achieved all three goals set by the DE-study. It’s quick to code and prototype, there is good documentation and tech support and of course a great emulator and debugger. Of course again, what WP7 lacks the most is the crucial factor of market penetration. With Nokia being the largest manufacturer of mobile handsets, 2012 is going to be a very interesting year for Windows Phone 7.

“Windows Phone development tools
are first class – for example both
designers and developers can work
collaboratively on the same project.
This level of sophistication isn’t
available on either iOS or Android.”
Andreas Tsouchlaris
R&D Manager
Binary Logic

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Tomorrow

The industry we work in is ever changing. Developers change with it and select new platforms to work with. A very nice result from the DE-study was that 32% of developers were planning on starting to develop for Windows Phone 7. This is much because there are many developers who are able to leverage their existing knowledge of Xbox and PC development and reuse both code and knowledge on the new platform. There is surely also a large influx of Symbian developers who are planning to migrate with Nokia to WP7. As said earlier, with the first Wp7 handsets from Nokia hitting stores in late 2011/ early 2012, next year will be the year which decides the future for Windows Phone I think.

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This makes a lot of sense when you consider that Symbian is the top platform being abandoned in the coming year.

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