(Spoiler alert: This post is basically just a rant.)
So there is this new app that has come out called Yo. A simple little app where you can only send a yo to people you have added. Sounds fun right? Fun little app that you and your circle of friends might use for a month or two depending on how big it gets. I should get it too and hop on this new app train. Oh wait…it isn’t supported on Windows Phone.
Almost every new app that comes out never hits Windows Phone at the same time as the other platforms. It took a really long time for Words with Friends to hit Windows Phone. It took a little over 19 months for Instagram to hit Windows Phone after it made it to Android. It took a little over 5 months for Vine to hit Windows Phone after it made it to Android. Angry Birds only made it to Windows Phone after Microsoft worked with Rovio to make it happen. Actually it seems like Instagram and Vine also only made it to Windows Phone after Microsoft helped them out. It has been reported that Microsoft has been paying companies to make Windows Phone versions of their apps. Snapchat still does not even have an official Windows Phone version. Yo is just the next new app that may not see the light of day on Windows Phone.
Developers have to make a decision of what platform they should push their app to. The major reason is user base. iPhone had the largest userbase for the longest time. When Android was still growing most apps only hit iPhone and hit Android much later. Now Android is seen as a serious contender and most apps hit iOS and Android at the same time. However Windows Phone always seems to come in third. The second reason is resources. If you can’t devote the resources to develop for three platforms it makes sense to support the ones with the largest user bases. Hopefully Windows Phone gets up there.
Windows Phone 7 was first released in November of 2010. A full three years after the first iPhone launched in June 2007 and two years after Android launched October 2008. This gave the other two platforms a lot of room to grow. Android was actually pretty shit up until Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) came out February 2011 but still it was out for 3 years and people could make apps for it. Windows Phone became much better when Windows Phone 8 came out October 2012 but Windows Phone marketshare is still pretty low in the US. According to Kantar Worldpanel, in the US, Android has a 59% marketshare, iOS 34%, and Windows Phone 4.7%. Windows Phone has less users so developers are less inclined to make apps for it. Windows Phone has less apps so users are less inclined to use the platform. The second sentence was a stretch but it kind of makes sense. Maybe the reason developers will not develop for Windows Phone is that the tools to make Windows Phone apps suck.
Developing for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 is a joy. Visual Studio is one of the best, if not best, IDEs to use. You also can use Microsoft Blend to design UI’s which makes UI design super easy. These tools are also free to try out (and free for university students). Note I have not developed for iOS because I do not have a Mac (I actually have never owned an Apple product and iTunes for Windows devilspawn) and I have not developed for Android because I never was interested in it and testing app on a device is way better than testing on the emulator.
I got into Windows Phone development because when Windows Phone was first announced they announced that you could program games for the platform using XNA and I had been making small games with XNA for a couple years before the announcement. I begged my parents to get me a Windows Phone when it came out (before I only had a feature phone) and when Windows Phone 7 came out I got an HTC Surround and I released two apps (two really shitty apps but still). Ever since then I’ve used Windows Phone and kept developing for the platform. I am now working on two apps for Windows 8.1.
Anyway back to Yo. Windows Phone development seems pretty painless and easy to do so besides the time commitment and lack of people using the platform Windows Phone should have more apps. Windows Phone may get Yo sometime in the future but by then Yo may just be a forgotten app that nobody uses anymore. So developers out there please consider making apps for Windows Phone. It would make me happy. Actually you could just hire me and I could make those apps for you and it would make me even happier.
PS: #YourDeviceSucksDicks was the hidden SSID for our room’s router if your laptop/device did not support 5 GHz Wi-Fi connections.