Latest IDC survey finds developer interest in Windows Phone holding steady

Some mixed news coming out today from a survey of 2, 173 developers taken in late January by IDC and app tools maker Appcelerator. Developer interest in making apps for Windows Phone is at 37% which is just a 1% less than the previous report back in November--in other words, statistically it's the same.

That's good and bad. The good news is that RIM is continuing to plunge from 20% to less than 16% leaving Windows Phone to be the clear "number three" in the mobile OS space (when factoring out tablets). The bad news is even with the Lumia 800, developers are still not jumping on the Windows Phone bandwagon as expected (or needed). Despite this, Appcelerator says "interest remains high" for the freshman OS even in the face of unimpressive device sales to date.

The survey was conducted just days after the AT&T Nokia Lumia 900 was announced, so developer interest in that device had barely had anytime to register for this survey (not to mention it has not gone on sale yet). Only 18% of those surveyed were interested in developing for the Lumia devices, meaning Nokia still has some word to do to sway devs that Windows Phone is worth it.

Interest in Android, however, did slip from previous quarters which lead the researchers to conclude that there's a “small but steady erosion” in developing for that platform, perhaps a result of fragmentation and issues with getting devices on par with ICS. Meanwhile, iOS is holding steady from previous quarters.

In the end, this latest survey reinforces what we already know: iOS is number one and steady, Android is a strong number two but slowly eroding and Windows Phone is in a steady-state with under 40% of developer interest. What is needed is a game-changer and at this stage, Windows Phone 7 may not be it. But to quote Yoda, "there is another"'s Windows Phone 8.

Source: Appcelerator; via: GigaOm, ZDNet, Reuters

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • I think there will be a big 'arh ha' moment when all the W8 devs (and there will be loads) go 'hang on I can publish for WP7 with little extra effort, betetr get me one of those phones...
  • More like "...I can publish for WP8..."
  • Is this a worldwide survey or US only?
    I Believe that when Nokias Operation Rolling Thunder gets out the US developers will raise interest for WP7.
  • "Thirty-eight percent of respondents live in Europe, compared to 34 percent from North America and 28 percent from the rest of the world."
  • I wonder how many people from Hawaii are on here? At least one ;)
  • Well I hope that Rolling Thunder rolls out soon. WP needs to pick up steam.
  • Why is the same chart on the WMPoweruser article showing an increase in the last quarter for WP7?
  • The Register has the wrong graphic up (not sure where they got that from, but it's not in the final version) and it was simply reposted without verifying. 
  • I've been "interested" in making a WP7 app since I bought one in Nov 2010. Still haven't made one yet though. Interest comes and goes. What does this really measure? If it's a proxy for market share then this says nothing we don't already know. iStuff selling well. WP7 stuff selling meh. Android is there because there's a truck load of the stuff.
    Actually I'm glad to see interest in HTML5. No matter your platform of favour it's a pain in the ass to develop multiple times. HTML is not the best technology by far, but it's a decent common ground. "Apps" have taken us a giant step backward from over a decade of progress in not having to care (much) about the OS.
  • "Apps have taken us a giant step backward from over a decade of progress in not having to care (much) about the OS."
    From what I've read, I have to agree.
  • Yeah, same... I've written a few apps for myself but nothing I deem worth paying the $99/year to dev unlock & put it on the marketplace. I waited too long for all the Chevron issues to die down and they sold out (not that anyone knew they had a limit). I would love to build something good (no crapps) but a solid idea eludes me. But I'm still "interested" :P
  • That second image is bugging me... Why were "Nokia Lumia" and "Windows Phone 7" presented as two separate options???
  • Exactly what I was thinking!! May be to distinguish Nokia WP7 from Symbian and other OEMs.. Just a guess :-)
  • Why would that bother you? They're obviously gauging interesting of Nokia's influence on the platform seeing as it's such a high profile device. Result: no one gives a damn about the Lumia 800. Think of it as a way to re-word a question to your audience. The survey didn't requireyou choose one or the other, you could choose as many as you wanted.
  • I would argue that anyone who answered yes to the Lumia 800 should automatically be considered as interested in the platform as a whole
  • Thought the same. Depends on how clued up the devs are on current play, some may still even assume the Lumia is on Symbian.
  • Wp7 will continue to struggle if ther arent more apps and support from developers.  Yes, do we need 1 million apps? no, but we do need the apps that are on both android and iphones in addition to the apps that are at the level of apps on other phones as well. 
    It is one thing to have apps that iphone and droid phones have, but to have the app that are not on par with the others, makes it difficult for anybody to migrate over to Wp7. 
    I dont think wp7 still has words with friends, they have similar games , but you acnt play with players on other platforms.  Now draw something is the craze and doesnt look like that will come over anytime soon. 
    Hopefully somebody can spark up interest so that when apps are released, they release a wp7 version along with iphone/droid versions. 
  • Now Words With Friends needs to be on WP but that really is the only app I miss from my iPad and iPod Touch. Windows Phone has everything I need when it comes to apps and most of them except the Fandango app are better than iOS version.
  • Words by post supports cross platform play as well as wordament
  • WP sales have pretty much held for the past couple of months. If we ever see the Lumia 900 we might see some movement in the U.S. Here are this week's sales rankings by carrier: AT&T (66 phones offered)
    25. Samsung Focus Flash (25. a week ago, 21. a month ago)
    33. HTC Titan (33. a week ago, 31. a month ago)
    50. Samsung Focus S (52. a week ago, 49. a month ago)
    58. HTC HD7S (60. a week ago, 57. a month ago)
    61. HTC Surround (62. a week ago, 59. a month ago) T-Mobile (32 phones offered)
    5. Nokia Lumia 710 Black (5. a week ago, 5. a month ago)
    6. Nokia Lumia 710 White (6. a week ago, 6. a month ago)
    9. HTC Radar (9. a week ago, 8. a month ago) Verizon (57 phones offered)
    34. HTC Trophy (53. a week ago, 51. a month ago) Sprint (46 phones offered)
    37. HTC Arrive (30. a week ago, 36. a month ago)
  • @lippidp...Thought I'd tell you that I like it that you post these stats :)
  • I'm surprised at how much interest there is in the Android tablet. I don't know how well they're doing, but I've only seen one and it wasn't working. Also, I pretty much never even hear about them.
    I can't see how interest in that tablet would be higher than the Windows 8 tablet that's coming out later this year. Hopefully when W8 comes out, interest in the Windows tablet and Windows phone will both spike.
  • It seems lately when I email companies when they will have a WP7 App the response is often they are interested but are going to wait for WP8.