Apps are where it’s at in today’s economy. If you can make a great app, you are guaranteed a steady income and the benefit of working for yourself. Having an easy-to-use development ecosystem makes all the difference in attracting people to your device, hence why Apple is able to get so many exclusive apps on iOS. Microsoft is hoping to emulate that success with Windows Phone 8.
Microsoft is obviously proud of the work they’ve done with Windows Phone 8 and they want to let developers know that they have not left them out. In a recent blog post, the Windows Phone 8 team details all the features that they feel should make developers want to make apps for Windows Phone.
The biggest and best part about Windows Phone 8 is the shared core. That means that the OS running on Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 is nearly identical. It makes it super easy to develop an app for one platform and then port it to the others. Granted, Windows Phone 8 apps are meant to be ported to tablets and vice versa. I don’t know if there’s much of a market for mobile apps on desktops unless it’s gaming related.
Going hand in hand with the shared core is the native code support. To enable the ease of development across platforms, Microsoft has made it so that developers can code their apps in C++ and C. Another benefit of this is that developers can mix and match code to match their needs. The team uses the example of a game for Windows Phone 8 that was built in DirectX but uses XAML for the main menu.
On another note, Microsoft made their fortune and name in Enterprise. It’s what the company is best at and it seems kind of insane that they haven’t adopted more Enterprise support into Windows Phone yet. That’s all going to change with Windows Phone 8, however, as the company will be adding two new features for enterprise developers: Company Hub and LOB app deployment.
The Company Hub is a custom app framework that can be built as “one-stop shop for enterprise-specific apps and information.” LOB app deployment will help companies control how their business-related apps get deployed to devices, either through installing from a Web site, SharePoint or email.
As for the other features that developers can look forward to in Windows Phone 8, here’s the breakdown:
Improved multitasking – In Windows Phone 7.5, we introduced multitasking. In Windows Phone 8, we’re expanding it to cover two critical new scenarios – VoIP and background location services. Now you can continue tracking your progress on a run while keeping up on the latest sports scores or quickly check a text message while taking a VoIP call.
Talk to your apps – Speech has always been an integral part of Windows Phone experience. In Windows Phone 8, we’re taking it to the next level by delivering a comprehensive speech platform for developers. You can now enable your apps to be launched with commands to perform (“Start Netflix, play Princess Bride”), or allow users to issue speech commands that work within the app itself.
In-app purchase – We’re committed to help provide new ways for our developer community to make money on the Windows Phone platform. In Windows Phone 8, we’ll deliver an in-app purchase service that lets developers sell additional content and experiences within the app itself or via the Windows Phone Marketplace and the new built-in Wallet feature.
Marketplace expansion – With Windows Phone 8, apps will be available for download from Marketplace in more than 180 countries and regions—roughly three times what we serve today. Developers in these markets can also submit apps via AppHub, up from 38 markets today.
It’s obvious that Microsoft is definitely catering to developers, but will it be enough to sway people away from the already entrenched iOS and Android? Those who have already been developing for Windows Phone 7 will obviously make the jump, but I just can’t shake the feeling that it may be too little, too late for Microsoft at this point. I really hope not, however, as Windows Phone 8 is looking great.