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There have been similar questions in the past, but I find them mostly outdated. So let's reiterate - Do you think it's worth investing into and developing for Windows Phone 7?

I am personally quite smitten with the platform, and I would like to see it blossom. Or maybe it's lowercase Segoe fonts. I don't know.

  • Everyone loves Microsoft tooling, and from a windows developers point of view writing apps for Windows Phone 7 is at the very least easier than, say, writing apps with Objective-C/XCode on a Mac. So I wager that if it was up to devs, they'd write tons of software for the Marketplace. And what we see today are some sliding puzzles...

  • There are two factors at play that should serve to balance the force, namely number of users vs market saturation. The number of users bit is clear - there are few users, but we've seen apps work by now, so naturally whatever-remove-wrinkle mirror your wife fancies on the iPhone would make a buck on WP7. Curiously these filler apps are conspicuously missing from the Marketplace. It's been suggested that WP7 what with the office and whatnot, might become the enterprise phone of choice, but at the same time it's not even possible to create enterprise-only applications as it stands today. For some reason I'm not too bothered by this obvious oversight, maybe because the overall picture is bleak enough as it is.

  • The Nokia partnership. Suppose you have two ships and both of them are sinking. Is ramming them together ever a good idea? I thought so! Until I saw that uninspired brick they call sea-ray. Even if by some slight of fate I'm in the wrong, and that's the slickets handset known to man, just listen to that CEO guy (last video in the last link) - it surely sounds like they are screwed. Also, if you listen to the blogosphere, the first phones will come out sometime in October, and the bulk will miss the holidays anyway. On the other hand, some Nokia execs put it this way - If the WP7 (8?) initiative flops, Nokia will go down with the ship. It would sure sound better if most of recent Nokias initiatives didn't flop. Anyone remember the Ovi shop/center/thing? I don't.

  • Some have suggested that Windows Phone 7 is User-centric instead of App-centric - basically arguing that the kind of people that are likely to purchase a WP7 device are soccer moms with facebooks. I think this thinking neatly fits with Nokia partnership, Metro "see it all at once" inteface, etc.

  • So much turmoil around the future of WPF/Silverlight (The Register all but proclaimed WPF dead about a year ago, and now again with Windows 8 and HTML5) doesn't serve to reassure developers, but mobile application development is small-shop develop-and-forget deal, so it shouldn't matter in the short run anyway.

  • Hardware hell, or lack thereof due to stricter hardware policies than Android is a good thing for now, but the future road-map is far from clear. I think that Apple with the integrated hardware solution has both WP7 and Android beat in that regard. Some hell still exists what with extra buttons and all.

  • Other manufacturers may join HTC. I personally think that HP will eventually crawl back to Microsoft table, once they figure out that webOS has absolutely nothing going for it.

  • Some people have complained about Marketplace admission process. This gentleman had to wait for 15-odd days before he was allowed to hotfix his application. By that time the fix was cold, and users weary. Not that other app-stores do a better job, but it's a bad indicator that Microsoft doesn't want to give any extra incentive - apart from all the appalling apps that apparently get accepted. It'd stand to reason that they should at least offer a better commissions deal to lure in developers.

So, gents, what are your thoughts? Specifically let's start with why aren't you coding for WP7? Will you consider doing so if there are more users, and what is in that case the magic number? Do you think that Nokia will deliver good handsets? Have I left out anything major?

TL/DR Version: Microsoft has Visual Studio et al, WP7 has poor market adoption, will it ever get better? Abandon ship & buy a mac?

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With the turnover in phone OS versions, updates, etc., I find it amazing that anyone actually wants to develop for phones. WP7 may be different now and updates don't break all your apps (or maybe we just had a crappy app that always needed fixing with a new phone update). Anyway, this would definitely test your agility. –  IAbstract Aug 14 '11 at 14:29
Hi Gleno, we invite practical, answerable questions. Your question invites discussion about the WP7 platform and guesses at its future. Such discussion would be more suitable for a blog or a forum somewhere. –  Anna Lear Aug 14 '11 at 15:37
@Anna Man shakes fist at heavens. Dog bites man. –  Gleno Aug 14 '11 at 16:07
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closed as not constructive by Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen, thorsten müller, Anna Lear Aug 14 '11 at 15:35

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1 Answer

I've got a running theory that the Windows 8 operating system will run in a compact version on Windows Phone. When the Microsoft team released their first look of Windows 8, I was awestruck by the similarities of it and Windows Phone.

Granted, I'm a Microsoft proponent, regardless I think its going to become more ubiquitous than IPhone or Blackberry within the next 5 years.

WPF and Silverlight are Dead? I think not. HTML5 is leaps and bounds over HTML4 in terms of presentation, offline functionality, and other really neat things (file access). Silverlight and WPF do something that HTML5 CAN NOT do, access and use the .NET Framework. Without going into a long list of things that .NET Framework can do, I'll list off just one: Database Access.

HTML5's IndexedDB is excellent. I've even used it for a proof-of-concept in the "Offshore Dental Electronic Medical Record Sharing where constant ISP connection is flakey" industry :-). However, there are too many things server-side that HTML5 cannot do on its own.

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Interesting comment about chopped Windows 8 on Phones. I found this youtubes and I must admit you make an interesting point. But note how he's careful to say "Windows 8 apps" and how at one point he switches to Plain-Old-Windows. I'd like to believe though. –  Gleno Aug 14 '11 at 14:52
@Gleno That is actually the video I saw that started me thinking along the lines I talked about. –  Kristofer Hoch Aug 14 '11 at 14:59
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