Windows Phone - 02 April 2011
Author: Gil Bouhnick

Windows-Phone-Back-From-The-Dead

Ever since Windows Phone 7 was announced (about a year ago) I have changed my mind a few times about it, switch from iPhone back to BlackBerry, then to Android, back to iPhone, and finally landed – my currently favorite phone is Samsung Omnia 7 and after a rough start I really love it.

All my other smartphones were officially downgraded:

  • The Droid is now a doorstopper (we call it the Droidstopper)
  • The iPhone became my kid’s iPod (specializing in "Talking Tom")
  • The BlackBerry is serving as a blinking red nightlight for the baby…
  • The old HTC Touch Pro 2… well, it’s useless, so put it in the drawer…

Windows Phone 7 is (currently) my mobile platform of choice and Microsoft has recently publish some official MarketPlace numbers: apps, developers, downloads, etc. (Exactly like Apple did, few months ago). I added some of my personal thoughts regarding some of them:


Microsoft: 1.5 Million downloads of Windows Phone 7 developer tools (equates to the size of the entire population of Philadelphia).
Bouhnick: Nice number, isn’t that almost the number of units sold so far? Can it be that most of the WinPho7 users are developers? 

Microsoft: 36,000 developers are registered at the AppHub community. People who have voted with their wallets and become members of the Windows Phone developer community.
Bouhnick: I see a huge gap between the 1.5 million downloads and this number. One of the reasons is that it’s very hard to register to the AppHub if you do not live in one of the "certified" countries. I wish Microsoft will expand the list faster. I’m sure many of the 1.5 Millions developers who downloaded the tools will then be able to submit their app easier.

Microsoft: “The number:” 11,500 – What is an app? It’s a question that really begs some scrutinizing. For us, from the beginning, we have always been focused on quality over quantity. We recognize the importance of getting great apps on our platform and not artificially inflating the number of actual apps available to customer by listing “wallpapers” as a category, or perhaps allowing competitor’s apps to run on the platform to increase “tonnage.” We also don’t believe in the practice of counting “lite” apps as unique quality content. In reality they only exist because developers can’t have a Trial API and must therefore do extra work. Finally, we don’t double and triple count apps which are submitted in multiple languages.
We respect that determining what is or is not a quality app is subjective, for example eBooks as titles will probably find their way onto the platform en masse. Still, we believe we have the standards and processes in place to continue ensuring that customers have the ability to quickly and easily locate and acquire quality apps and games that extend the value of their phone.
Bouhnick: I tend to agree with most of the above: the tools are great, the ease of development in windows Phone 7 is impressive and Silverlight developers can build fancy stuff in minutes. There are many ready-to-use controls and C# is always my favorite development language.
There is one thing about the quality of the apps: there are many bad ones, even with the certification process, and of course, last comment here would be that the total number of apps is still very low comparing to iOS and Android, and that is, to me, the bottom line…

Microsoft: 7,500 paid apps.
Bouhnick: Well, as a user I would like to see more free apps even in the cost of ads.
Much of the apps I’m downloading are tools which I rarely use but still needed for the completeness of my phone as a powerful mobile work station: convertors, dictionaries, translators, remote desktops, music downloads, documents readers, etc. For those apps, I really don’t care if they come with ads, as long as they serve me when I need them. Paying for each of them is annoying, and at the moment there are too little free apps in WP7 MarketPlace to my opinion. Android, as an opposite, has many free apps and you can turn your Android smartphone into a superphone with the functionality of a desktop for free in 20 minutes of market search.

Mobile-OS-Fight-Club

Microsoft: 1,200 new registered developers every week.
Microsoft: 12 apps are downloaded (in average, per month) by every Windows Phone user.

Microsoft: 1.8 days – this is the average time it takes to certify a new app.
Bouhnick: this is, indeed, impressive. I recently submitted The Mobile Spoon App for Windows Phone 7 (through an external vendor called YallaApps which I recommend for all the developers who cannot submit their apps on their own) and it really took no time to see it in the MarketPlace. Then, when I wanted to modify it a bit – it took additional 2-3 days to get updated.

Microsoft: 62% of all apps pass certification on their first attempt.

Microsoft: 44% – Of all the paid apps in the Marketplace include a Trial version through the Trial API.
Bouhnick: This is a good point, trials are great, I just wish there was a more structured way to see what exists and what is missing from the trial versions. Lucky we have sites like www.mobilitydigest.com and www.wmpoweruser.com to bring the highlights of the great ones and the details about the trial versions.


So numbers are looking good, at least according to Microsoft. 
We are all waiting to see new models and more creativity around the UI (I love it but I want more!) coming in faster OS updates, but besides the missing ability to find hidden WiFi’s and create custom ringtones – I’m definitely not complaining.









About Author

Gil Bouhnick is a director of mobility at ClickSoftware and the author of The Mobile Spoon and ClickSoftware's MobileFever blog.

(3) Readers Comments

  1. Pingback: Mobility Digest

  2. I’m surprised WP7 won you over:) It’s a bit of a shift going from tinkering all the time with other devices but I think the experience is great. And yeah, we need some updates for the little things asap…

  3. It was a mixture of reasons:
    - I got bored with my iPhone
    - I couldn’t find the “magic” in Android
    - I am a user interface guy – I didn’t want another iPhone like OS, and WP7 is definitely different.

    BTW, I wish there were more of those Panoramic, Pivot etc. controls and concepts…