When I installed Microsoft’s Visual Web Developer Express Edition last year, I was surprised to find that the available downloads included a package for writing Windows Phone 7 apps. Surprised, because I was not aware that any Windows Phone 7 devices were actually on the market.
Now it’s 2012, I own a Windows Phone, and Microsoft continues to support developers and would-be developers for Windows Phone 7.
Besides the Express Edition capabilities, Microsoft has made Programming Windows Phone 7 available for download free. The book is authored by Charles Petzold, well-known Microsoft Windows expert programmer and programming book author. This 1000-page ebook contains the same content that you can buy in printed version on Amazon, but it’s available free for the downloading from Microsoft.
When I first began considering a Windows Phone as a possible replacement for my aging Android phone, I wondered if Microsoft was committed enough to the success of the Windows Phone to hang on and try to get significant market share. Recently, I’ve become convinced that Microsoft is in smartphones to stay, and will take a chunk out of the smartphone market in much the same way they carved out a portion of the gaming console market – by sheer force and serious investment.
Nokia has committed itself to Windows Phone 7, and a Nokia representative tried to bolster industry perception of that decision by claiming that young people are abandoning Apple iOS devices en masse. Personally, I think that’s ridiculous. For every Apple user who switches to Android or Windows phone devices, there are probably 10 new iPhone or iPad customers.
However, I do think Windows Phones will take a huge bite out of Blackberry’s dwindling market share. In fact, I think Microsoft will have Blackberry for lunch, and start nibbling on Android’s market for dessert.
To do that, however, Microsoft will have to build up the Windows Phone Marketplace. They’re definitely trying, with this free ebook, Windows Phone 7 integration in the Express Editions, and other programs. Currently, the Marketplace stands at over 37 thousand apps. This is a small fraction of the Android Market (which just hit 400,000 apps) and the iPhone App Store (over 450,000 apps). However, the Windows Phone Marketplace is coming up fast – in fact, the Windows Phone Marketplace grew by over 400% over the past year.