How Much Do Aussie Developers Care About Windows Phone 7?

How Much Do Aussie Developers Care About Windows Phone 7?

Most of the attention at yesterday’s Windows Phone 7 launch was around the handsets and what they’ll cost. But just which Australian developers are releasing Windows Phone 7 apps?

After I posted yesterday about the apparent dearth of productivity apps in the Marketplace, several commenters sprang to Microsoft’s defence, pointing out that app approval had only just begun. We’ll certainly be checking in once the phones are actually released to see how much things have changed, but one way we can measure Windows Phone 7’s prospects in this area in the meantime is to look at the Australia-centric apps which are being aimed at the platform.

The table below shows the locally-developed applications which Microsoft was promoting in its press kits at the launch (excluding games). It also shows whether the same app is available on iOS, Android and BlackBerry devices. I’m looking at precise matches here; there are (for instance) plenty of pizza-ordering apps for iOS, but not one from Eagle Boys. (Click on the image for a larger version.)

If my post yesterday underestimated the potential range of Windows Phone 7 apps, this one if anything overstates its success, since it starts with a list of developers who are pro-Phone 7 and then rates their enthusiasm for other platforms. Nonetheless, it’s notable that the vast majority of apps Microsoft is talking about already exist in some form for iOS. That’s good news for Microsoft, since it means that it has managed to persuade developers to build across multiple platforms; and it’s good news for Apple, since it suggests there aren’t too many local exclusive deals with Microsoft right now. There’s rather less on offer for Android and (particularly) BlackBerry that directly competes, but that doesn’t mean they’re also-rans — just that they haven’t attracted this particular pool of developers.

While local apps to order cabs and pizza are welcome, many of the key tools we’ll need in Australia are no different to the rest of the world. I’d really like to see a WordPress app for Windows Phone 7, for instance. What productivity applications do you really want to make it onto Windows Phone 7? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.


  • A few I would like are Kindle, Evernote & Dropbox, something for Australian weather, an RSS reader with Google sync, a decent document reader and then most else will be a bonus.

  • I’m still waiting to see how development works. The tools provided are brilliant (VS2010 and XNA4 in particular leave iPhone’s meager SDK for dead) but if they’re as tight-arsed about publishing applications as Apple then I might as well just keep developing for iPhone. I’m simply not going to support another walled garden ecosystem where you don’t have the right to choose what software you do/don’t want on your own device unless it gets pre-approved and goes through a monolithic ‘app store’. This is my major beef with what I’ve seen of WP7 so far. I want a platform that addresses the shortfalls of the iPhone, not blindly imitates them with a blanket assumption that lockdown is the one true formula for commercial success.

  • With the explosive growth in Android (passing iOS apparently), and (at this time) effectively zero market share of WP7, it seems mind boggling that so many firms are bypassing Android, when (so the predictions say – calm down fanboys) it’s set to be one of, if not the biggest phone operating systems out there. It’s obvious why they go for iOS – the public mind share is huge, but why WP7?

    Is MS passing around the moneyhat again? Why is Android so poorly represented by Apps in corporate Australia? Might be a future topic for LH.

  • Windows Phone 7 is a bag of pain.

    Developers are forced to learn the C# (C sharp) language.

    Once they’ve done that, they’ll find that most of the necessary APIs are not complete.

    Then they’ll find there is no market to sell to. This is the same as with Windows Mobile, where the marketplace was like a ghost town (apart from the occasional sound of a cricket at night).

    • Greg, there are many more developers that use C# than Objective-c. C# is the standard for .net and winform apps in Australia. Objective-C is relatively new in its uptake.

    • Ok, let’s get the facts straight apple pretty much force you to use Objective C, in fact for a while their development agreement explicitly stated that.

      Windows phone is built off of silverlight, so currently you can write in c# AND VB but if you can’t already, ruby, python, F# or any other language with an implementation for .NET wouldn’t require a lot of work to get working – the beauty of virtual machines.

      As for your comment “most of the necessary APIs are not complete” what are you basing it off? .NET has beautifully designed API which business have been using for 10 years now.

      I’ve even heard a very well known expert who hates object orientation praise the .NET API.

      And for the record, c# vs objective c – there’s no competition. C# is a beautiful language and obj-c is ugly and verbose. There’s a reason why people have written Mono-Touch to allow c# with iPhone development while nobody has tried to port obj-c to .NET

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