When a hero app or game is released, like Angry Birds Space, it’s interesting to see which platforms get it first. iOS for sure, Android probably. Windows Phone: maybe.
This is the situation that Rovio has found itself in with the release of Angry Birds Space, which was released for iOS, Android, OS X and Windows yesterday. According to Peter Vesterbacka, Rovio’s CMO, “it’s a big undertaking to support it, and you have to completely rewrite the application.”
Rovio’s CEO, Mikael Hed, clarified that “We are working towards getting Angry Birds Space to WP7,” but there is no time frame for release. Windows Phone doesn’t yet have the previous entries in the series, Angry Birds Seasons or Angry Birds Rio, either. Even though the original Angry Birds is the most popular app in the Windows Phone Marketplace, it still seems like Rovio isn’t taking the platform all that seriously.
When you look at the proliferation of Windows Phone apps — it reached an unofficial tally of 70,000 recently — the trend is quite worrying. Where are the marquee apps, the ones that are going to drive adoption for new and existing smartphone users? In Canada, smartphone penetration is reaching 50%, so there is still huge opportunity for users to adopt, and become loyal to, disparate smartphone platforms. With the launch of the Nokia Lumia series, developer interest in the platform is on the rise, but it still hasn’t peaked above 40%. Compare that with 90% interest in developing for iOS and 80% for Android, and you can see why we still don’t have apps like Reeder, Instagram, Flipboard and more.
But if you look objectively at the situation, it’s far less grim. No one (hopefully) chooses his or her smartphone based on the availability of Angry Birds, and if they do, well… go with iPhone. But Windows Phone, especially Nokia devices, have a great selection of apps like Netflix, Facebook, Evernote and, from smaller developers like Rowi, 4th & Mayor and Wonder Reader.
The issue is more that developers don’t seem to be interested in simultaneously releasing apps for Windows Phone, focusing more on Android as a partner to iOS. But developers we’ve spoken to who have decided to release apps for Windows Phone are doing quite well, some even making enough money to live on. To drive user adoption, however, big name apps like Angry Birds Space will need to come to Windows Phone, as those are the apps that make it into the mainstream news.