WP Central

UK newspaper The Guardian has taken five Windows Phone to the side to query them as to how they view the development process on Windows Phone and why they view the platform worthy of both time and effort. The results were extremely positive.

The five developers included 7digital (music service), Addison Lee (private taxi hire firm), IndieSkies (Kaleidobooth), Escapist Games (Star Chart), and Distinction (Weather Flow). The short conclusion drawn from the results was praise for the OS itself and how apps can be quickly prototyped and subsequently released. The only downside was the developers' restraint over download and sales figures.

We've previously looked at how the developer interest in Windows Phone has continues to remain at a high level, while the likes of RIM falls rapidly. So this shouldn't be too much of a surprise that established developers are singing praise for Microsoft. Head on past the break for more juicy details.

The Windows 8 Star Destroyer

As well as the speed and ease-of-use for developers, Microsoft also has another weapon up its sleeve - Windows 8. The upcoming major desktop upgrade will enable developers from Windows Phone and beyond to create beautiful apps for both the mobile / tablet and desktop platforms. Distinction's Balint Orosz had the following to comment about the upcoming rollout from the software giant:

We believe that the platform will be relevant in the mobile industry in the next few years - especially with Windows 8 coming out."

It's certainly plausible that the potential success of Windows 8 will rub on Windows Phone, with customers desiring a more complete Metro experience - something competitors can't offer. Microsoft is further integrating its products, increasing the need to use other products from the company to enjoy the most user rich experience. It's a positive sign that developers for Windows Phone are looking to Apollo and Windows 8 for motivation and inspiration to develop for Microsoft's mobile OS.

Orosz moves onto explain how Distinction releases Windows Phone apps before looking at other platforms, and talks about how they can only implement certain features with Microsoft's OS:

"From a functionality perspective, the Live Tiles are unique to the platform – although the Android version of the app has a widget with similar functionality. We were also able to build in some additional effects, such as flipping between themes, on the Windows Phone version which we couldn't do on other platforms because of performance issues."

It's common knowledge that while it's Windows CE (soon-to-be Windows NT in Apollo) deep down at the core, the operating system is optimised which provides the consumer with a butter smooth and immersive experience. This is a great feature developers can take advantage of. From live tiles to further integration with system hubs and useful APIs, developers have the tools at hand to create impressive projects and differentiate themselves from other app providers.

Speed kings on the road

The five developers were probed about how quick and easy it was to get to the final versions of the app, or at least a working prototype. Ling Khor, product manager for mobile at 7digital, stated it took just four months to go from concept to availability on the Marketplace. Addison Lee's partner developer, Haulmont Technology, took four weeks to finish its Windows Phone app, while IndieSkies took just two weeks to make a working prototype of Kaleidobooth with most of its final features, followed by two months to polish it for Marketplace submission.

Escapist Games' Chris Whalley explains that it took the company three months to get the initial version of Star Chart published, with a further three months spent pushing out three separate updates. Although Distinction was working on other projects at the time, it took the company three months to develop Weather Flow, Orosz compares Windows Phone to both iOS and Android:

"With WP7 – like iOS – you just have to build it once, then test it once and you have an app that is suitable for all devices," he says. "On Android we have to do a lot of testing on different devices, which makes the process less cost-effective."

Money, money, money

Unfortunately, only one developer provided actual sales / download numbers, while the remaining four merely stated they were pleased with the reception their apps received. It's interesting to note that one commented the platform is comparing very well to competitors at similar stages of the release cycle - in other words: Windows Phone is performing as well as iOS and Android did when they were just short of the second birthday party.

"Weather Flow has been very successful in the two months since launch. We've had more than 25,000 downloads, and a high percentage of them are paid downloads."

Orosz provided the above when discussing download data for Weather Flow, which isn't too bad. It definitely shows the platform has potential for success, even at this early stage, for those unique apps that stand out to consumers. All five developers interviewed by The Guardian stated that they are each continuing to support Windows Phone further, with future updates and / or with new projects.

Be sure to head on over to The Guardian to read up the full article.

Source: The Guardian