Rating: Nokia’s support for WP7 could turn things around
Saying that Nokia left its app developers in limbo with the Microsoft announcement is putting it lightly. GoMo News found this official explanation here from the Nokia Forum‘s Bill Perry. Obviously reading from a script he says is that the situation is no different from when Microsoft told its Windows Mobile 6 developers to drop y their existing tools. The way forward is apparently Silverlight and XNA . Luckily GoMo News asked Tony Cripps, principal analyst for devices & platforms with Ovum to shed a little light on this subject.Silverlight is the basic development tool for WP7 [Windows Phone 7] and is designed to compete with Adobe’s offerings (especially Flash).
By contrast the other alternative is XNA which stems from Microsoft’s efforts to attract developers to its Xbox games platform.
As Tony Cripps explained, one (Silverlight) is aimed at those developing for the web and the other is aimed at those developing for the gaming market.
“They’re the two big [developer] constituencies out there, to be honest.”
One snag however, is that Silverlight hasn’t so far proved to be as successful as Microsoft hoped against the opposition (Adobe).
With Windows Phone 6, Microsoft was still trying to get smartphone developers to work with Win32 APIs and quite frankly it was the wrong environment for smartphone apps.
When asked what he thought existing Nokia apps developers might do, Cripps suggested that it’s no such much the platform that’s important but where developers perceive the money to be made.
Cripps reckons that other OEMs who have built Windows based smartphones have only half-heartedly encouraged apps developers because it is just one of the platforms which they support.
It’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation because the numbers of Windows 7 based smartphones shipped has been low and so the amount of development effort put into such apps has also been low.
That said, Cripps revealed that he thinks that the few apps that are actually in the Microsoft app store – Zune Market -are actually quite good. “There’s lots of very good apps in there.”
He feels that the situation could change radically because Nokia has committed whole heartedly to provide a range of smartphones based on Microsoft’s software.
“Nokia has decided to go big on it,” Cripps commented. So with both Microsoft and Nokia backing Windows Phone 7 the situation could change radically. The story for developers could therefore sell itself.
There’s been a great deal of talk about Microsoft and Nokia creating the third ecosystem. That’s a bit harsh towards RIM with the BlackBerry World app store.
But then RIM hasn’t proved too successful at luring loads of developers.
Cripps forsees Nokia ploughing on with its Ovi Store whilst Microsoft continues with Zune.
That could result in handsets pre-loaded with two separate apps stores but that’s no different from handsets which have both platform and operator stores preloaded on them.
So things aren’t quite so bad as most observers thought when the Nokia/Microsoft alliance was announced just before MWC 2011.