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Why Bother to Develop a Windows Phone 8 App

by Martin Monroe on Dec 17, 2012 |

To date Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 is still a distant fourth in the battle for the hearts and minds of Mobile OS users. Google App Director, Clay Bavor stated that they ‘have no plans to build out Windows apps.’ One Iain Simpson, a community member over at winbeta.org believes that there is more to that statement than meets the eye:

I think this is a sign that Google thinks MS has something here with the Windows 8 ecosystem. I think they are a bit worried that (their) customers would have a better experience using a non android or chrome device to view (their) products (and) thus lose customers to Microsoft.

At least one mobile industry pro, Kris Hyre, was unhappy about Google’s stance:

This is actually pretty disheartening. I'm a avid Android/Google fan, but now I have to move my main storage from Drive over to one of my others (I use Drive, Dropbox, Box, and SkyDrive.) I recently started using a Windows Phone 8 device as my career requires me to change devices every few months. Using brower based methods has always been clunky. I was looking forward to getting a Drive app on WP8, but since that is not happening I guess I'll be moving my main storage to SkyDrive since that is available on Android and WP8.

The Windows Phone 8 SDK (software developers kit), whose merits were expounded in a recent infoQ post, has a few interesting features like native gaming, a runtime for phones plus a fresh kernel. The kit requires 64 bit Windows 8 to run and is available in seven languages. Though it probably isn’t a substitute for

Visual Studio, developers with experience in Direct3D will be able to create their applications using C or C++. When you are ready to post your application in the Windows Phone Store you will need to invest $99 to cover one year’s dues to become an official Windows Phone Developer. Frylock, a commenter over at Techrepublic, wasn’t impressed with the fee:

I don't understand why these SDKs are anything over $0. Why provide *any* barrier to entry for a dev when it's in your own best interest to get them to expand your ecosystem? Obviously $99 isn't much to a larger developer, but it might stop someone who wants to experiment with an idea. You never know where the good apps are going to come from.

One influential blogger recently commented on the overall lower quality of Windows Phone apps compared to Coke and Pepsi, that is to say, iOS & Android. Could this be an opportunity to stand out from the maddening crowd?

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