Developers warming to WP7

Dina Bass
13 Apr 2011

Microsoft has delivered 1.5 million downloads of a tool kit to make applications for Windows Phone 7, a sign the operating system may be winning over developers even as it gains traction slowly with consumers.

About 36,000 developers have registered with the company, Microsoft said in a blog posting Mar. 31. A total of 11,500 apps are available and customers on average download 12 a month.

Microsoft needs to marshal developers' efforts to have a shot at retaking market share lost to Apple's iPhone and handsets running Google's Android software. Microsoft shipped 2 million Windows Phone 7 units last quarter, a number that analysts deemed disappointing. Delays in a software update beset the company this month, and developers and customers said Microsoft failed to provide enough details about the holdup.

"It's a long-term process to get more phones out there and it's also a long-term process to get out updates in a timely fashion, but the developer side is one of the bright spots for this platform," said Al Hilwa, an analyst at market research firm IDC. "They are obviously not at the same scale as Android or Apple iOS, but factoring for the maturity of the Windows Phone platform, they're doing well."

Apple has more than 350,000 apps available and Android apps top 150,000. Microsoft's software could become the No. 2 mobile operating system behind Android in 2015, IDC predicted this week.

Developer enthusiasm

Microsoft is adding 1,200 new registrations for Windows Phone developers a week, said Brandon Watson, the division's senior director of developer experience.

Downloads of the tool kit also jumped last month after Microsoft announced an agreement that will put Windows Phone software in Nokia handsets, he said in an interview.

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