Is Windows Phone 8 finally worth developing for? Paid app revenue has increased 140% since November

Daniel Bader

May 4, 2013 11:43am

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Microsoft may be biased, but it thinks you should develop app for Windows Phone 8. Crazy, I know, but there are statistics to back it up.

According to Todd Brix, general manager for the WP developer ecosystem, app downloads have increased 100% since the updated platform’s launch in November, and paid app revenue is up almost 140% in the same period. Brix tweeted back at the end of November that, at the time, paid app revenue to developers was up 100% over Windows Phone 7.5 performance, but it’s not clear whether these new number are based on new data, or previously-released information.

Either way, it shows that Windows Phone 8 is worth buying into; Evernote recently announced that it nets a higher percentage of premium sales from Windows Phone than Android users. While the user base for Android is almost exponentially larger, which leads to higher revenue in total, it underscores the willingness of Windows Phone users to pay for good software.

An increasing number of big brands are taking Windows Phone seriously, too. Tumblr and Vimeo launched apps recently, while Twitter and Facebook overhauled theirs with performance enhancements and designs that, while familiar, stay true to the Metro stylings that make Windows Phone so unique.

There’s also a treasure trove of great apps, both free and paid, from independent developers, designers and publishers, too. An increasing number of quality games are coming to Windows Phone, too, though they still lag behind their iOS and Android counterparts.

The proliferation of low-cost Windows Phone 8 smartphones like the Nokia Lumia 620 and HTC 8S are bringing these apps to users who may not be able to afford higher-end Android or iOS devices. Because of Windows Phone’s emphasis on real-time performance, both in apps and across the OS, these sub-$200 devices feel fast and capable, unlike many of their Android counterparts (though that too is improving).

While it seems unlikely that Windows Phone 8 will manage to catch up to iOS or Android in terms of market share, it is well on its way to becoming a viable third-place option for many users, and with an increasing number of high-quality apps available, both free and paid, it looks like Microsoft’s gamble is paying off.

Via: Windows Phone Blog

  • Andrew Brown

    I’d say so considering the 920 and 820 were only released on Nov and the 520 to 720 and 928 recently not to mention Windows 8 desktop in general I would say the market reflects the increase in profit to justify developers taking a serious look and investing time to create decent apps for the mobile platform

  • gwydionjhr

    Getting in on WP8 on the ground floor makes a whole lot more sense to me than trying to be noticed in the huge ocean that is the iPhone or Android app stores. Not to mention it’s (apparently, as I’m no developer) pretty easy to port the app over to Windows 8, and seeing as more copies of Windows 8 were sold in the first three months than all of the iPads ever sold put together, it’s a store I would want to get into early.

    • vistarox

      Great way to get noticed: Write a great app that actually does something unique and useful.

    • Jed Hubic

      Hah you must not be an iOS/Android developer. That’s the ignorant way to look at it I guess.

    • vistarox

      Yeah, lets go with that.

  • Ramon

    I’ve played with Win8 phones, and generally enjoyed them, but still haven’t made the transition. I will see what Win9 has to offer. If it blows my mind, then I will gladly make a Win9 my next phone.

    I like the minimalistic style, as well as complete fluidity of these phones. They’re fairly decent when it comes to battery life as well, since OS is very well optimized. The few downsides, among others, are minimal customization, lack of apps, and absence of central notification system.

    Impress me, Win9, and I shall switch!

    • Nadefrenzy

      You forgot the part where its missing Swype and Swiftkey.

    • EvanKrosney

      I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the WP8 keyboard, IMO it’s better than iOS’ and just as good as Swiftkey or the stock Android keyboard.

    • Nadefrenzy

      But it doesn’t have Swype or Swiftkey “flow”.

    • Marcus Brown

      What apps? Other than the craptacular Instagram.

  • EvanKrosney

    I jumped onto the WP8 bandwagon with a $150 8S from Virgin, the price was just too good to pass up. So far I’m impressed, while it does lack a few features that are easily accessible in Android, it’s fast fluid and quite intuitive. If you’re skeptical, give it a try. While it’s not necessarily for everyone, I think that most users here will appreciate its fluidity and stability regardless of price point.

    Regarding app sales, one unique feature that WP offers is the opportunity to try an app before you buy, which is something that I’ve used often and have purchased more apps because of.

    • Nadefrenzy

      Pretty sure Google does that too.

    • EvanKrosney

      True, but don’t you only get 15 minutes of usage time before it charges you?

    • Nadefrenzy

      Yes, but that’s really all you need to judge an app. If u’re not “feeling it” then just refund it.

    • Elvin

      What about games that require large download files that usually take more than 15 minutes? (e.g., GTA Vice City)

    • Nadefrenzy

      For those games, I watch youtube gameplay vids before hand. You’re right tho, the Windows Marketplace system is better, but it’s not like very really “missing out” with Google.

  • jellmoo

    The big problem with Microsoft is the submission process. Their guidelines aren’t amazingly clear and remain pretty restrictive.

    • Jed Hubic

      What about submitting an app didn’t you like? The WP8 submission process to me, is miles ahead of iOS.

  • yadeed

    This is what a friend of mine wrote in (opensauces (dot) wordpress (dot) com )
    After dabbling with Ubuntu in the past on my old laptop, I was attracted to
    Ubuntu Touch which is their mobile OS that functions basically identical to the free Ubuntu computer OS software they offer. I installed recently Ubuntu 12.10 on my Windows 8 laptop and let me tell you it was one hell of a difference. To open Windows 8 programs and apps, it would take minutes sometimes and sometimes wouldn’t even open but stay there and I would just close them. I personally also found development learning as a beginner to be a burdensome task although I was given many resources by Microsoft and Nokia for free. I felt the loads of tutorials, webinars, app labs etc, were not for beginners because they were missing step by step
    instructions instead of just running through a few demos to do a basic program for something.

    when he decided to switch to Ubuntu once he learned of how EASY it is to develop for Ubuntu and open source Apps in general, such as Android as well. He stop developing for Windows Phone 7/8 because : Development: Not enough beginner documentation/tutorials, making it very difficult for beginners and those who’s time is limited.
    Limitations also regarding hardware, software and $$
    PRO: Lots of programs for those that already know development to some extent, though don’t look to HTC for any Windows Phone development assistance or programs; they just don’t care.
    App Problem:
    This of coarse is up to developers but also in regards to companies putting their apps into the Marketplace and Windows Phone store.
    I understand completely when someone doesn’t want a Windows Phone due to their lack of apps that other platforms have. And if there is an alternative to such app for Windows Phone, 90% barely funtion at all.
    Books, that’s a major missing feature for Windows Phone that I love. Google has that covered with Google books, HANDS DOWN.
    Customization:
    Tiles get boring. Very fast. Sure, you can NOW change the size to 3 choice sizes and their colors but nothing else. Windows Phone is not a computer in your smartphone, no matter what anyone says. It’s only a Windows 8-esqe start screen OS for smartphones.
    Live tiles is a smart concept, it really is. But it’s lacking. The live counts are set up by the user (if they work correctly) and do not come natural. I personally rather have a notification bar above like Android has where I can adjust any settings or view my notifications without leaving what I’m doing behind to go digging for things in the settings like in Windows Phone for example. The list goes on and on.
    OPEN SOURCE:
    The biggest flaw of Windows Phone OS. This is the main source of issues with the OS, in my opinion. That’s enough to say about that.
    I have to mention though that Nokia is the ONLY thing keeping Windows Phone alive. They know what they’re doing with their exclusive apps, services and device hardware. The Lumia 920 is by far the strongest, most durable smartphone I’ve ever had the pleasure of owning. And it’s camera is one of the best if not The Best. Aside from the camera specifics though, I don’t find it entirely necessary in a smartphone. You can always get a nice camera that’s gonna be better than even the Nokia Lumia 920. And although, Nokia is the “saving grace” of Windows Phone, Windows Phone is still declining in sales even with Nokia’s success. I’d LOVE to see Nokia put their hardware and software in a boiling pot along with an open source OS like Android or Ubuntu etc, and see what happens. I believe it can only be VERYGOOD.

    So farewell to Windows Phone and hello again there Android/Ubuntu/Open Source sweetness.

    • yadeed

      TL;DR version: If I were to choose between a woman and a cellphone, a cellphone would win every time… forever alone… :(

  • bedrockq

    140% of nothing is still nothing

    • sensi

      Windows Phone is actually improving steadily its market share, now far from “nothing”.

      “In the US, Windows boosted its share to 5.6 per cent from 3.7 per cent a year ago, Kantar said. Windows grabbed 10.9 per cent of smartphone sales in Italy, 7.2 per cent in France and 7 per cent in Britain.” (source: Sydney Morning Herald)

    • bedrockq

      At a cost of about $5000 per user as part of a massive $100million + marketing (propaganda) campaign. That burn rate is not sustainable.

      Ask any salesperson about Win8 phone and they will give you a thousand yard stare. They know nobody coming into their store is looking for that and a lot of places don’t even have them on display.

  • Andrew Brown

    People b***h about the market selection but let’s be honest The Apple App store was buried in s**t apps for yrs and still is they just weeded out and added in more restrictions for said crap apps piling up …Google Play is chalk full of garbage …in essence I you really think about it Microsoft was having eternal widgets/Gadgets wtf ever they were called on the desktop and available for free and purchase long before IPhone apps and Google’s Android ……I dig what Nokia is doing with Win 8 mobile

  • Mr_Sweet

    The figure 140% is irrelevant when it could be that 100% is worth like 5 bucks. Give us the real numbers Microsoft and try to really impress us

  • kroms

    WP8 ? LOL

    your kidding right.