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Microsoft Windows Cellphones

Should Developers Support Windows Phone 8? 345

Posted by Soulskill
from the yes-no-maybe dept.
Un pobre guey writes "Should you develop apps for Windows 8? Well, the hype and flogging are apparently in full swing. From the article: 'To be clear, Windows Phone 8 is not a slam dunk. Some, such as IDC, believe Windows Phone will eclipse iOS by 2016. Others, though, believe the trajectories of Android and iOS can't be slowed in the next few years. Nonetheless, I think a bet on Windows Phone 8 is justifiable, even wise, since anyone who purchases a new Windows Phone 8 device likely will want to load it with the latest and greatest apps.'" Another reader points out that the full Windows Phone 8 SDK was leaked online recently, which led to some interesting discoveries: "For starters, it appears that the API is very much like the full WinRT API, but it has no JavaScript support. There is also no support for creating and working with Silverlight/XNA style. This is a bit surprising because I and most developers were under the impression that Microsoft would support the migration of Silverlight apps to HTML5 and JavaScript, but there isn't even support for JavaScript to access the phone's services. The best you can hope for is using the JavaScript support in IE10."
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Should Developers Support Windows Phone 8?

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  • by Locutus (9039) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @11:14PM (#40838227)
    will anyone hear it?

    Ok, so will there really be much of a market when most fanbois will be getting x86 Windows 8 devices and skipping on Metro? Without any support on the desktop/laptop side what does Windows Phone 8 have going for it to attract developers? Single digit market share for many years should be expected with WP8 while Android and iOS split the market and continue to grow.

    Just like WP6.5 and WP7, it won't matter how many hundreds of millions or even billions in marketing Microsoft spends, without the ability to eliminate Android from the market WP8 gets no love outside of Redmond WA. IMO

    LoB
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sir_Sri (199544)

      The key seems to be their integration strategy moving forward. You can't really avoid Metro in windows 8, there's a desktop there, but it's decidedly second fiddle to metro.

      By this time next year I expect they're planning to have a full range of integrated products. Windows 8 desktop, tablet, phone, windows 8 phone or tablet connecting your PC or Xbox as something, a mechanism to better manage programs on windows 8 etc.

      Ultimately supporting windows phone 8 is going to just be supporting windows 8. You ma

      • Have you ever had to maintain a cross-platform app?

        // end for troll fodder

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Sure you can friend, its called Classic Shell [sourceforge.net] and it kills Metro like Raid kills bugs, dead. I have a feeling that just like when Vista was released and any search for Vista automatically brought up "How to kill UAC" articles by the dozens we'll see "how to kill metro" articles when you type in win 8.

        As for programming for winPhone 8? personally I'd wait and see if its a giant flop or not, frankly many of us in the trenches are predicting a Vista style backlash on win 8. Its just not a good UI for non tou

  • Will it sell? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @11:26PM (#40838327)

    Will it sell? So far their phones haven't sold in any volume, even Samsungs Bada OS has sold double that.
    Will you gain a skill useful elsewhere? I doubt this platform will be used anywhere else, their platforms are very fragmented at this point.
    Will it succeed in a niche? Erm, well no, can't think of a niche for it.

    I noted the cost ($10k) MS was charging XBox games developers to certify every app and patch and I reckon if you ever make a successful app, they'll milk all the profits out in certification fees and fees to be included in the app store.

    I see FP is in love with Visual Studio, but you're probably better off getting up to speed with Eclipse at this point.

  • No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ajlitt (19055) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @11:33PM (#40838393)
  • No. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @11:42PM (#40838435)

    No.

    (Score:5, Informative)

  • by CuteSteveJobs (1343851) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @11:49PM (#40838485)
    Should Developers Support Windows Phone 8? I am reminded again of Betteridge's Law of Headlines which states "Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word 'no'".

    I am a Windows developer but if I'm going to develop smartphone apps it'll be for whoever offers me the biggest market: Android and the iPhone. Microsoft has a perfectly decent desktop OS, but instead of finding ways to reinvigorate the desktop using innovative technology (the way Jobs would have) they are chasing the smartphone market in a way that spooks desktop developers such as myself. I find myself not thinking "Windows for Smartphone" and now not even "Windows for desktop" but "Android for Tablet". Microsoft needs to stop copying other people's ideas, but just because it's immoral but because it's a lousy business strategy: It didn't work for Bing, Zune or anything else they've copied lately. If Microsoft don't do a reality test here they're heading for an even bigger disaster as they scuttle their flagship platform.

    Or in 2 words: Betteridge's Law.
    • by bmo (77928) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @12:20AM (#40838649)

      Indeed.

      In order for a "me too" product to succeed in a marketplace full of similar products and establish itself as the new leader, it has to be twice as good as the current market leader.

      None of Microsoft's "me too" products over the last 10 years have done this. Not even the xbox which comes in a distant second to the Wii as of June 30. Should anyone dispute that, because I know there are a lot of fanboys here:

      Worldwide Sales Figures
      Wii -- 96.56 million as of 30 June 2012[8]
      Xbox 360 -- 67.2 million as of 31 March 2012[52]
      PlayStation 3 -- 63.9 million as of 31 March 2012[53]
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Console_wars [wikipedia.org]

      All the previous Microsoft phone OSes have been market disasters, taking single-digit slices of the market pie. Mostly because they sucked outright.

      Is WP 8 twice as good as Android or iOS or even Symbian? No. It's just another "me too" smartphone OS barely even with the others. Is the smartphone hardware from Nokia twice as good as the hardware from Apple or Samsung? The days of Nokia producing a superior product compared to its competitors are long gone.

      The only way for a fair-to-middling product to succeed in a market already dominated by others is to "choke off the oxygen" of one of the competitors. But while this strategy may have been successful in the past, Microsoft doesn't seem to be able to cut off anyone's oxygen these days except when they teamkill one of their partners in the head.

      So why does Ballmer and Microsoft think it deserves the top spot?

      And anyone who puts a question in the headline deserves a ripened pine cone up the ass.

      --
      BMO

      • It would be more interesting seeing statistics of sold games.
        I know plenty of people who've bought one or more consoles.

        The wii buyers seem to be the least likely to buy games since most are shallow crap.

        • by JDG1980 (2438906)

          The wii buyers seem to be the least likely to buy games since most are shallow crap.

          Right, because there's nothing "shallow" about the 32,768th first-person shooter that is basically a reskinning of the 32,767 that came before...

          The truth is that the Wii has the best game library of any console, and a large portion of this consists of first-party Nintendo products. If this weren't the case, the Wii wouldn't have sold, because it's technologically inferior to the other consoles in most respects. The sales [wikipedia.org]

    • by jbolden (176878) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @12:47AM (#40838795) Homepage

      The problem is... there aren't that many of you. .NET is a terrific compiler and a good technology stack. By any reasonable measures vastly richer than the stack for the web. Yet year after year after year more and more software migrates to the web and web based technologies. The rich exciting market for new native applications is happening in XCode for iOS. There market is scuttled. It may very well have happened in the move from COM to .NET but it has already happened.

      No one else offers ubiquitous computing with full functioning business productivity software available on every device a person owns. No one else is even trying. I don't know whether Microsoft will be successful in their Windows 8 strategy or not. But I wouldn't accuse them of copying. Their vision is bold.

      • No one else offers ubiquitous computing with full functioning business productivity software available on every device a person owns. No one else is even trying.

        Thats because the smart developers ensure their software uses open standards so that they don't need to make their software available on every device a person owns - other people will do it for them, and the various softwares from different vendors will interoperate. MS, on the other hand, try to lock up all their standards so no one can write interoperable software, which means that MS have to support all types of device (note: all _types_ of device, not all devices - I can't get Windows Phone for my Sams

  • not should, but will developers support WP8.

    The platform itself is very much comparable to iPhone or Android, and even had some nifty features that stood out from the competition when it first came out: Live Tiles and the People hub to name two. I don't know why developers never took to the platform -- there isn't a reason they shouldn't support it, and whether WP8 will change their minds remains to be seen.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by jbolden (176878)

      There is a very good reason they shouldn't support it. Windows mobile usage fell 40% in the last 3 years, that is during a time when the size of the market tripled. The reason developers never took to the platform is because customers won't buy it.

    • by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:29AM (#40839039) Journal

      I don't know why developers never took to the platform -- there isn't a reason they shouldn't support it, and whether WP8 will change their minds remains to be seen.

      I can think of two simple reasons:
      1) There aren't many users.
      2) Since WP7 didn't support C/C++ code, you can't just port your app and write a new GUI (like you can for iPhone and Android), you have to write the whole thing from scratch. Is that worth the effort? Probably not, because of 1.

      • by llZENll (545605) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @03:19AM (#40839671)

        Having few users isn't that big of an issue. For example my games on Mac far outsell my windows games because of two simple reasons: far less competition from competitors, and less piracy. Even though the Mac market is 1/10th the size. You can charge more and face less competition on wp8. The #1 dead in the water issue is not supporting c++ for me. There is no way in hell I'm porting my code base and games to some proprietary ms language that will be abandoned in a few years. Wp8 would have to hold over 50% of the market for me to make that leap.

        • by 21mhz (443080)

          So then, WP8 removes the obstacle that WP7 had. You should be able to port your C++ logic, unless you have intertwined it too tightly with the UI code (and if you already have ports for Mac/iOS/Android, you have learned not to do that).

  • Dead OS walking (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @12:17AM (#40838623)

    Windows Phone 8 isn't even out yet and it's already irrelevant.

    No one wants it:

    End users don't want it because the launch phones are uninspiring and lag the competition in both specs and style. Besides, it's Windows. Who chooses Windows if they have an affordable alternative with all the apps they need?

    Developers don't want it because it lacks users and so far the platform looks less capable than either iOS or Android. It's also not a sure thing in the marketplace long-term, MS has already made developers for their mobile platform redevelop everything TWICE, so any development investment has a good chance of being wasted. Backwards compatibility used to be one of Microsoft's big things, but not on mobile.

    Corporates don't want it because it doesn't yet have the central management facilities that iOS, Android and especially BlackBerry have. Its basically a brand new OS for mobile and corporates take time to make decisions and switch. Meanwhile, Android and iOS are taking over and show no signs of stopping.

    Also, after Windows 8 comes out for desktops, Metro is going to be the least popular user interface style on the planet after it catastrophises everyone's Windows desktop experience. This does not make for a popular phone OS.

    In short: Windows Phone 8 is dead already, it's just Steve Ballmer is too desperate to keep his job to notice.

    • by jbolden (176878)

      Also, after Windows 8 comes out for desktops, Metro is going to be the least popular user interface style on the planet after it catastrophises everyone's Windows desktop experience.

      I agree with everything you wrote till this. I don't know that this is true. Its entirely possible that the mixture of mouse, keyboard, voice, touch, stylus with all the different forms of breaking off screens and keyboards is such an amazing computing experience that it becomes the future. Obviously disaster is more likely

      • Re:Dead OS walking (Score:5, Insightful)

        by marm (144733) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:37AM (#40839093)

        Its entirely possible that the mixture of mouse, keyboard, voice, touch, stylus with all the different forms of breaking off screens and keyboards is such an amazing computing experience that it becomes the future. Obviously disaster is more likely, but the vision here is rather bold and exciting.

        Sure the vision of Metro is good, but the implementation of it on Windows 8 desktop, with the constant jarring between the familiar desktop and the Metro launcher/start menu, is going to send desktop Windows users mad. For most people the desktop Windows 8 Metro start menu is going to be the first time they've seen the Metro style, and so far it doesn't look like it works well there, not with the keyboard and mouse that most will be using it with.

        My suspicion is that it will engender such a dislike for Metro that it will actually put people off Metro altogether - the exact opposite of what Microsoft are hoping will happen, and not good for WP8.

  • by elabs (2539572)
    I am hoping that they still announce something for XNA developers at the upcoming BUILD conference. As I've said before, no language owns 3D, not even C++. Every language should have the ability to access a hardware-accelerated 3D rendering pipeline, even HTML. I really hope they provide a way for C# developers to integrate 3D into apps (not just games).
  • If "mature" means at it's peak (and ready to decline) then I agree that WP8's marketplace of apps isn't quite mature yet. There is still some room for developers to get their apps in there. But at the current rate of growth that won't last long. I submitted a science-related app a year ago and it was the first of its kind. Now there are about 10 other apps just like mine in the marketplace and I don't get as many downloads as I used to.
  • by Loopy (41728) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @12:37AM (#40838741) Journal

    Is what phone/OS a developer supports supposed to be up to some groupthink decision based on some "prevailing wisdom?"

    I may be picking a few nits but this seems to be a thinly veiled form of Begging The Question considering the obvious bias in the submission.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @12:41AM (#40838763)

    I really thought Microsoft had a chance with WP7. I said repeatedly they could at least show a strong third place, possibly even take over Android's position.

    This was based on WP7 being really well designed, Nokia hardware being really good, and Microsoft pouring a ton of money into having a really competitive app market.

    But Microsoft has screwed this all up. WP7 developers have to re-work how they develop. Hardware that should have formed the base of a wave today, will not even support WP8 tomorrow!

    Microsoft is still pouring a ton on money into app development but as far as introducing platforms, it's like they are starting from scratch AGAIN and WP7 never happened. They were late before, now they are WAY too late.

    Perhaps they can still pull back. Perhaps Surface will do really well and drag WP8 along behind it. But they have a massive uphill climb now, that they made worse by digging down a mile or so to start with.

    Good luck Microsoft, and I say that because Apple and the market in general need strong competition... but the odds look long and I hope you realize that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by StonyUK (173886)

      WP8 runs ALL WP7 applications, so how is that like WP7 never happened?

      • It's my understanding they have changed the development model (moving away from Silverlight), so that people who have learned how to program WP7 will have to do so differently for WP8....

        Just having the apps work is not enough, you have to build a base of developers that can keep cranking out applications - not throwing hurdles into how those apps are developed.

  • Infrastructure? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jandersen (462034)

    Smart phones may be cool and all, but the infrastructure is missing - the network coverage is simply not good enough and what there is, is not too reliable. It may be good enough for those that mostly use messaging, but when your business depends on you being accessible and on the move, it is no good. You can't have a conversation if you lose signal every few minutes.

    The thing is, once you get past the wow-factor of the iPhone et al, what you have is basically a clumsy mobile phone and a computer that is to

  • Short answer: no.

    Longer answer: Has any Windows phone really been THAT successful?

    I am being sincere too. I have worked for a wireless company that I will leave nameless for over 5yrs and NO Windows phone was ever worth it. Not in the slightest.
    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      I would not really consider developing for Windows Phone as it is now. Their earlier platforms were incomplete for developers and the backward compatibility for apps seems to be ignored so every new generation from Microsoft has so far required a rewrite of the app.

      Add to this the fact that Android and iOS are the big players right now. The existence of free apps may not by themselves generate much income but the amount of free apps are an indication of how large the developer community is - and their compe

  • by Stiletto (12066) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:12AM (#40838935)

    Suppose you've already got a game where most of the core code is written in C++ and uses OpenGL. Right there, you're hitting iOS and Android (assuming a minimal amount of Objective-C &Java simply for integrating into the platform).

    Now you've got a decision: work on some cool, valuable features for the next version of the Android/iOS game, or completely re-write it using the Microsoftie languages, technologies, and UI idioms they force you to use, and have to maintain two code bases. I know which one I'd choose

    Windows Phone is not going to get any real developer love until they give in and stop forcing their technology stack on us.

    Microsoft, while you're bootstrapping your platform and trying to attract developers, wouldn't it make sense to make porting easier?

  • by l3v1 (787564)
    "Some, such as IDC, believe Windows Phone will eclipse iOS by 2016"

    [quote]belief (noun): conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence[/quote] (m-w.com)

    I don't see much evidence or reality in believing WP8 will eclipse anything at all. I don't believe anyone should base development decisions on the beliefs of others who seemingly don't know any better.

    If anything, our collective experience should tell us that th
  • Do you want to have a secure job maintaining those legacy systems like maintaining IE6 only webapps? Then fine go for it. If you want to have something that should still be used easily in 10 years, by all means no.

    If you want something serious, use some cross-platform development system like Java or Lazarus and compile for whatever you want. Or you make a web application with a more abstract interface. For example by separating the user interface from the application logic.

    Metro simply is yet another vendor

  • by jsse (254124) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @02:24AM (#40839407) Homepage Journal
    One of my clients whose company is a Android/iPhone developer was approached by Microsoft, asking them to port their applications to Windows Phone 7. They got like 2 grands for each app ported, even fart apps. This company still own the apps ported, and get all the money they receive from selling these apps, if any. Microsoft aren't buy these app, they just purely reward them for porting.

    So if you asked me whether developers should support Windows Phone 8....Sure, with a fee.
  • Windows Phone 8 is't good enough to do anything about Apples and Googles dominance in the market. Microsoft teamed up with a phone vendor that nobody wants anymore. Windows 8 is too late for the tablet market and will destroy the user experience of desktop PCs. With the forced installation of Windows 8 on the new PCs they will annoy a lot of customers. Computer noobs around the world start to ask questions about alternatives when they hear about the prices of upgrading their computer to the latest Microsoft

  • Oh wait, that was for WP7 and WP7.5 and for every version before that with tons of different names and everyone of them was hailed as next coming of the Ballmer and all failed miserably. Usually the next coming doesn't even have the decency to wait until the previous prophet has bitten the dust. 7 wasn't even out when talk of 8 start and 7.5 wasn't even given a chance and current phones with it are pretty much sold with "yeah, it will be obsolete in a matter of months and you won't be able to upgrade". And

  • by Conspire (102879) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @05:27AM (#40840227) Homepage
    Microsoft has a history of failure in the phone market, period. Look at any forecast, and Microsoft is not expected to get a decent size of the global handset market. They continue to pump the money in thinking money solves everything. I don't think they can get back market share, there is just too much momentum for APPL and Android in the space. The entire Nokia deal is just plan silly. I don't even know anyone that uses a Nokia smartphone (although still know lots that have the 20$ backup cheap nokia symbian phone). Everyone I know has a smartphone, everyone. And not one Nokia. The only place I've ever seen them is on store shelves and at trade shows, I can't even remember seeing an actual end user with one in their hand in public. Windows mobile 8 will continue that path, while APPL and Android eat up the marketplace.

    The reasons are simple, just ask yourself "do I want Microsoft on my phone?". Yes, there is the answer. No. Nobody does. Microsoft became "uncool" long long ago. Nobody wants an uncool phone.

    Microsoft missed the one boat that could have maybe just maybe gave them a fast start in the marketplace, they could have purchased RIM. They could of done away with the old timer brand "windows" for a smartphone, and used "Blackberry". Fact is, when people think about Windows they think about an antiquated PC, not some latest and greatest gotta have it smartphone. Add to the fact that Windows has very little, if any, brand loyalty. People don't feel connected to Windows as something that is a good brand. They think of it as the commodity PC, exactly the monopoly that Microsoft built, and profited from since inception.

    The veeps at MS need someone cool to step through the door and get through their thick skulls that "Microsoft, Windows, Windows Mobile, Office" will never be "cool" brands. The brand will always be kind of like "Hormel" in the food space. Even if they did everything right and created the best smartphone OS out there, the masses don't want to be carrying a "Hormel Phone"

    • by hey! (33014)

      Let me play devil's advocate here and say that the question is probably too vague to be meaningful. Developers should support the devices that the bulk of their target market wants. You might think *nobody* wants to use Windows Phone 8, but there are market segments which in the *grand* scheme of things might amount to nothing, but which could provide a good living for a small developer. Sometimes, a *single* client can carry your business for several years; other times an early adopter is your foot in th

  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @06:32AM (#40840531)
    My key problem (that caused me to first drop .Net and then all MS products) is that Windows programming has long been dominated by Microsoft's desire that you make your apps integrate with their Enterprise stuff. But if I am building the next Angry birds then any MS specific enterprise libraries are just bloat. You might argue that a programmer can ignore the enterprise stuff. But a good example would be that .net started out as a small library to take on Java. version 1.1 filled in some gaps but by version two office had taken over and it started getting really big. By version 2.5 it was huge and the bloat was all enterprisey.

    Also everything was becoming way more complicated than it needed to be. Instead of some simple object you would instantiate and then call member functions it was all wonky with .com style object factories.

    So if Windows wants any chance for me to even look at programming for their devices I will only look if they break up their SDK into a basic SDK that will allow me access to those phone types bits such as the screen, audio, accelerometer, messaging, networking, etc. Then if I want to screw with outlook or other MS products then I will install a separate addon SDK.

    Also with the SDK I don't want to follow some new fad that MS happens to be following. Just give me basic system calls with more advanced calls hidden away for more advanced features. So for sound give me a sound class with member functions such as PlaySound(soundfile). Don't initially make me use a DirectX complicated sound system that is so complicated that I end up just copying and pasting sample code blindly into my software and then hiding it behind my own PlaySound(soundfile) function. For those people who are hardcore give them a backdoor where things are necessarily weird.

    So here is a bit of code that I want to be able to write (sans error handling and async stuff):

    Net *net=new Network();
    MSData *data=net->getFile('http://mysite.com/sound.mp3');
    SoundSystem *sound_system=new SoundSystem();
    sound_system->setVolume(100);
    sound_system->playSound(data);

    Don't make each of the above steps 10 lines long with all kinds of complicated templates and parameters. When you do that you might impress your CS professor but you have missed the point of encapsulation and the KISS principle. I love an SDK where you can start to guess the class names and the names of their member functions. So if you have a class called SoundInitSys3BuildFactory that requires that you pass it (MS_HRDWR_SYS_SPKR_EAR_HEAR2) you have failed. I would be willing to bet that MS has failed.

    MS might make all kinds of arguments about good CS practices but at this point I have already bent over backwards to learn Objective-C for the iPhone. I did this because it was where the money was. But iPhone had the advantage of the being the first smartphone where the effort might pay off. At this point MS needs to study the concept of friction. For every small obstacle they put in people's way they can plan on loosing a fair chunk of their potential audience.

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