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back to article Devs can't be bothered with Nokia's Windows Phone – report

Interest in building applications for the current generation of Windows phones from Nokia has plummeted among developers. Just a quarter of developers are very interested in developing apps for Windows Phone 7 devices compared to 37 per cent in the second quarter of this year, according to the latest Mobile Developer Report from …

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FAIL

Really?!? I'm shocked!!

What with the functionality exposed by the developer APIs somewhat less than even the original iPhone, meaning that all you can really do with it is eye-candy. The devices themselves being so 'Meh' - the only differentiator appears to be the hot pink or cyan cases. And the real lack of confidence that Nokia/Microsoft can actually build a viable user base to make it worth targetting, I'm completely shocked by this news.

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Anonymous Coward

That and

Their apps won't be compatible with WP8, so as soon as those phones start shipping their revenue stream from the apps they've written starts to dry up pretty quick.

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Holmes

Their apps won't be compatible with WP8

WP7 apps run just fine on WP8, so their revenue stream won't dry up just because WP8 comes out.

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IT Angle

Re: That and

I thought the apps will be compatible with WP8, and it's the other way around that's the (potential) problem?

So you write an app now and it works on WP7.5 & WP8.

You write an app in future, and if you use some new features, such as native C/C++, it'll only work on WP8.

Or did I miss something / get the wrong end of the stick?

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FAIL

Re: Really?!? I'm shocked!!

There's a vicious rumour that Nokia are forcing people in their developer programme to switch from Symbian to WP or kicking them out. Not surprisingly they're deserting Nokia en-masse for iOS and Android.

Another winning strategy by Elop.

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Joke

Re: Really?!? I'm shocked!!

Yeah, award winning PR from them right there.

Elop: Steve, look, I've done my best, but Nokia are still shipping more Symbian than Windows....

Ballmer: !!!!

*a chair ricochets off an office wall*

Ballmer: Developers!

Elop: Developers?

Ballmer: Developers!! Make it known that anyone coding for Symbian instead of Windows is persona-non-grata. Burn them!!

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re: So you write an app now and it works on WP7.5 & WP8

I keep seeing things about recompiling WP7 apps to work with WP8.

Since WP8 is not yet released, and the previous assumptions that WP7 devices would be upgraded to WP8 have proven false, it is probably best to assume the worst.

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Re: That and

C++/C - yes, that will be WP8 only. However, while it is no longer being actively developed, XNA is still being pushed as the solution for writing games on the phone, and that will work for both.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Their apps won't be compatible with WP8

Yep, they run just fine when Microsoft takes them and trans-codes them to machine code so they CAN run on WP8. I would hardly say that WP7 apps run just fine on WP8. If the app is not on the marketplace, it won't be trans-coded and thus WON'T run on WP8.

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Re: re: So you write an app now and it works on WP7.5 & WP8

"Since WP8 is not yet released, and the previous assumptions that WP7 devices would be upgraded to WP8 have proven false, it is probably best to assume the worst."

What assumptions? Show me any statement anywhere where Microsoft suggested at all that you could install WP8 on older WP7 devices.

On the other hand, they have actually stated that forward compatability is going to be the case and as you can actually grab the developer tools for WP8 and get stuck in now, you can actually see that it will be compatible. Why do you feel the need to post baseless assumptions where they spread and become misinformation? Can you not take a little care in checking your facts if you're going to write on a public forum?

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For how long?

So W8 will run W7 apps. For how long? Likely W8.1 will drop that support.

That's the game MS have been playing for years. Give enough flexibility to attract the punters, then lock them in to the new changes. Once people start committing to customers on the W8 platform they will have to rewrite to new APIs to keep going.

They did this with NT years ago. To break into the server market, MS provided a POSIX layer to attract developers away from Unix land. The NT platform was attractive because it was lower cost than the SCO or whatever equivalent. The POSIX interface made it easy for vendors to move their code.

Once vendors had NT-based products, they nuked the POSIX support. Vendors had to rewrite parts of their code to use Windows APIs. The bridge was burned.

Likely the same will happen here.

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Silver badge

Re: re: So you write an app now and it works on WP7.5 & WP8

I think there is a reasonable assumption that if you buy a $500 smartphone less than a year before a new version of the OS is out then the customer could reasonably expect an upgrade to be available.

If there aren't going to be any upgrades in the WinPhone world then people will wait for 8.1, or 8.2 or 8.5 or 9 .... or buy a competitor.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: re: So you write an app now and it works on WP7.5 & WP8

Hah hah, yeah, like you get on Android? Wonder how many ICS devices will get Jelly Bean. Probably about, ummm, none.

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Re: For how long?

"So W8 will run W7 apps. For how long? Likely W8.1 will drop that support."

What is Windows 8.1? Are you suggesting that a service pack would removed APIs? That's not going to happen. You're just spreading FUD.

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Bronze badge

Re: re: So you write an app now and it works on WP7.5 & WP8

"Show me any statement anywhere where Microsoft suggested at all that you could install WP8 on older WP7 devices."

Show me where my statement implied they had. The word assumption would not be applicable if they had.

It would be reasonable to expect that if an operating system is being replaced, that the supplied phones would either have minimal software compatibility problems or an upgrade would be available. neither appear to be the case, so the buyers have been tucked up.

"Why do you feel the need to post baseless assumptions where they spread and become misinformation? Can you not take a little care in checking your facts if you're going to write on a public forum?"

WP8 is not released yet - Fact.

Microsoft have a long history of flexible goalposts. - Fact.

Therefore exercising caution until actual release is sensible.

If WP8 runs WP7 software unmodified, we do not even know how well it will work in practice.

Windows 95 was compatible with win 3.x programs, but you ended up with a dreadfully unstable system if you tried it.

On the other hand MSDOS programs usually worked quite well on it.

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Re: re: So you write an app now and it works on WP7.5 & WP8

"Show me where my statement implied they had. The word assumption would not be applicable if they had."

Well if you're not claiming that MS in any way suggested that WP7 devices would be able to run WP8, then it seems unreasonable to blame them for people making such assumptions, yes? So either you think MS are to blame for anyone assuming this, in which case I continue my request for a citation, or you don't in which case I ask you why your criticising them for other people's assumptions that weren't based on anything MS said.

"It would be reasonable to expect that if an operating system is being replaced, that the supplied phones would either have minimal software compatibility problems or an upgrade would be available. neither appear to be the case, so the buyers have been tucked up."

Why is it reasonable to expect that hardware running a current OS will be capable of running a future OS? Who gave you this expectation? Is it normal to do that? As I understand it doing so on numerous Android devices is problematic. I was told that running a newer iOS on an earlier iPhone makes it run dreadfully. So where did you get this expectation? It's not an expectation I had.

As to the rest of your post, the gist of it is 'we don't know how it will be so let's assume the worst'. If you actually take a moment to read the developer blogs or take a look at the APIs, you'll find we actually do know quite a lot about this. People are writing software for Windows 8 right now, so plenty of people do know how compatible WP7 and WP8 are. So again, I ask you why when you obviously haven't looked into this in detail, you feel it is right to post your assumptions so confidently in contradiction of what we actually do know and can check for ourselves.

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Meh

Duh!

Given that WP7 is effectively reaching end-of-life as a development platform, and WP8 hasn't even launched yet, these figures are hardly surprising.

The interest in Windows 8 will translate across to WP8, because there's a 90% code re-use factor for Metro apps between the two. So I would expect that once both W8 and WP8 are out in the wild, developer interest for Metro as a whole will surge.

As this is a pro-MS post, Register readers are obliged to downvote it, so off you go. And don't forget the "happy to oblige" replies too, you can't help yourselves.

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Re: Duh!

That's wishful thinking at best, just because they can have code re-use doesn't mean anybody will bother to put in effort for a platform that is all but dead.

As to your last sentence, you'll get downvoted for whining about being downvoted.

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Meh

Re: Duh!

I don't think Windows is all but dead.

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Re: Duh!

Windows Phone, not Windows.

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Meh

Re: Duh!

But they'd be developing for Windows, then with a small tweak and a re-compile, their apps are available on Windows Phone as well. Why would a Windows developer not go the extra step to cover both bases for next to no extra cost? That makes absolutely zero sense.

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Re: Duh!

Because you're assuming two things, the first is that windows devs will flock to making metro apps. The second is that anyone will care to even bother to port those apps to a phone environment when nobody owns a WP device.

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Bronze badge

Re: Duh!

But they can do the same with Java right? Oh wait.

If it's not worth their time there, I don't think it would be worth their time here. If the dip happens before Windows Phone 8 comes out, it will be detrimental. There will be no momentum to carry over, right? Why else would Apple try to make each new IPhone have some backwards/forwards compatibility? If not to keep the momentum and support of apps going?

Just look at the windows development cycle. They need to keep some program legacy there, and drop it carefully. :P

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Duh!

Havn't MS been making these claims for years?

Windows Phone is dead in the water, without devs making apps, they won't have users, and without users there aren't apps.

Users don't want WIndows Phone because it's a rubbish OS, and rubbish hardware specs, and they are tired of Microsoft's ever changing mobile strategy that means they get screwed over every time they buy into the current failed strategy.

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Meh

Re: Duh!

Bearing in mind the promising figures for dev interest in Windows 8, and the piss-easy recompile from that to WP8, I'd say that your own apparent assumption that it WON'T happen is the weaker position.

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Re: Duh!

There was shed loads of dev interest in .NET etc. We kept hearing people say native apps written in C++ etc would be obsolete and so on. Now, look at these days how many programs are written for windows that are native versus those written using .NET.

It's found a place with server side scripting on IIS, but actual windows programs.. not so much. (for example, my work pc the majority of apps are x86/x64 C++ written apps, there are a few java apps and I think one .NET app)

Again, you're making wild assumptions that all the devs will suddenly drop what they're doing, stop native development and switch to metro. It's wildly optimistic. Metro is geared towards touch devices and at last look metro is horrible to use with a mouse and keyboard.

Devs will go where the money is. If windows continues to only be a success on desktop and server pc's then nobody will write metro apps, they'll continue writing win32 programs.

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Stop

Re: Duh!

Absolute cack.

I've got news for you Mark, Windows 8 is going to be released, and when it is, it wil be installed on 95% of all new x86 Desktops, Laptops, Ultrabooks out there - so if Devs can't be bothered with the "platform" (and remember, the platform for Windows 8 works across ALL devices) then they're going to lose out big time.

If they want a slice of the action, they're going to HAVE to code for it - and that means Desktops, Phones, Tablets, Laptop you name it. What Jim is trying to say is that re-coding for a different device is a piece of proverbial piss - it's been done and there are tons of demo codes samples out there and even more documentation on how to do it.

So like it or not, there are going to be millions of Windows 8 installs out there - why on earth would Devs not want to be part of that?

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Stop

Re: Duh!

Exactly Phoenix50. Hit the nail on the head. Wishful thinking of Mark C Casey - like it or not Win32 is depreciated at the end of the day, so no developer is going to continue to write for a dead system unless he or she like to be so stubborn that they like to develop themselves out of existence. Writing for the WinRT system will ensure that the apps will work on ALL Windows 8 devices (and probably including Windows Phone).

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Re: Duh!

Again, the exact same thing was said about .NET. It's the future, everyone will create .NET programs, C++ written programs are doomed yada yada.

Windows 8 is more than just metro. Where is the inertia on the desktop? Is it using a touch screen or is it using a mouse and keyboard?

The reality of it is that devs can still write win32 apps and run them on Windows 8, using metro apps with a keyboard and mouse is an exercise in frustration. You can't bolt a touchscreen UI onto a desktop OS and expect users and developers to like it or use it.

Just like .NET Metro may find a niche, but developers will continue writing programs where the money is. Which on Windows is a UI for keyboards and mice. In otherwords, win32.

This has gotten somewhat off topic, so i'll reiterate a previous point. Even if magically all windows devs decide to stop writing win32 and go metro, then port their apps to WP. It still doesn't stop the fact that WP is for all intents and purposes, dead. It's a zombie platform being kept shambling about by MS money, people are not buying WP devices. Android and IOS have won.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Duh! @Jim Coleman

Come on Jim, lets see you put your money where your mouth is, with some public bet on what WP8's minimum market share will be by Q2 2014.

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-easy recompile from that to WP8

But it would need to be a Metro App for that to apply?

So being able to get WP8 apps will depend on Surface being a success?

Presumably it also depends on devs trusting that WP8 won't be another burnt platform. (Like Symbian, Meego, WP6, WP7...)

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Re: Duh!

Because while you probably can run an app designed for a 24" screen with keyboard and mouse on a 3" touchscreen phone, it isn't really a good idea. You need to completely redesign the interface for a smaller screen and different input methods.

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Re: Duh!

Ah the fallacy of the easy re-compile! This is exactly the problem that Java has always had. Compiling and re-compiling an application for multiple platforms is the easy part (Java has no problem there, most Linux distros can compile on multiple architectures too).

The hard part in building an application that works on multiple form factors (desktop, tablet, phone, etc) is the UI and the interaction: you do not design an application for a desktop with a large screen and a mouse in the same way than you do for a tablet or mobile phone with a small touch screen.

So the risk is that you get a lot of devs building apps for W8 targetting the desktop; then they recompile for WP8 and realise that their app works but is a nightmare to use on a mobile phone or a tablet. At that point, they have to do the maths: is the WP8 platform big enough that it justifies spending time and money adapting the UI for those form factors? Or are they better off keeping the money and concentrating on other W8 desktop apps? The answer will differ depending on the application's target market.

If multi-form-factor support was as easy as a recompile, Java would have won the day a long time ago. the fact that it hasn't is a hint that recopiling is not the only (or even the most important) issue.

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FAIL

Re: Duh!

You really think that even in 3 years from now their will be more machines running windows 8 and wp8 than all other windows versions? WinRT apps are not backwards compatible where as win32 is forward compatible. Even on the desktop Win8 is going to be Vista 2 or Windows ME 3. There will be no corporate refresh cycle on win8 so there goes the enterprise right there. WinRT is Silverlight all over again.

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FAIL

Re: Duh!

And as for win32 not running on phones or tablets that would only matter if anyone actually owned a phone or tablet running WP8 or win8 (funny how that works when you are years late to a market). As you can see they are trying to leverage their desktop to force developers to develop for WinRT but in the end all they are going to do is Vistaize (not sure of verb form here) another desktop release.

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Re: Duh!

"If multi-form-factor support was as easy as a recompile, Java would have won the day a long time ago. the fact that it hasn't is a hint that recopiling is not the only (or even the most important) issue."

Oddly enough, your post is a lot of what MS published on their developer blog. Particularly this one (though also others): Scaling to Different Screens

That you can deploy the same code to multiple devices (Windows Phone 8, tablets, desktops) is important, but there are actually new APIs in Windows 8 to do things like auto-rearrange menu systems for different screen sizes, alter images based on different screen resolutions. You'd probably find the link above very interesting.

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Re: Duh! @Jim Coleman

Windows8 will be installed on 95% of all new desktops sold in Walmart.

It isn't going to be on any corporate seats.

Or are are going to make a living from home desktop users (if there are any left) buying widgets ?

That must be were all those screen-saver billionaires came from.

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Thumb Up

Re: Duh!

While I think MS really stuck it to Nokia by announcing that WP8 won't run on phones bought today - I agree that the future looks quite a bit brighter. Late this year, people will go in stores and see the cool-looking Metro interface running identically on PCs, laptops and phones, and that I think will be pretty compelling.

Let the downvotes begin!

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Re: Duh!

> Late this year, people will go in stores and see the cool-looking Metro interface running identically on PCs, laptops and phones, and that I think will be pretty compelling.

I think it will be compelling, too.

They have seen Metro on WP7 and, for the most part, been compelled to go elsewhere and buy iPhone and Android. They have seen it on preview and have, mostly, been compelled to complain about it.

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@Jim Coleman

Re-compilling and cross compiling is not the problem. The fact that it compiles doesn't mean it is in any way ready for market.

Hint: Our test team is 50% bigger than our development team.

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Meh

Who would buy ?

With Windows Phone 8 just round the corner, who in their right mind would be buying a Windows Phone 7 at the moment.

I am not exactly sure why the "market" or Nokia or Microsoft would be expecting good sales of the current Windows Phone devices, because anyone with common sense can see they won't be selling any. Particularly as all the indicators are, that Windows Phone 7 devices are not going to be upgradeable to Windows Phone 8.

Once Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 tablets and Windows 8 for PC's hits the market, there will be a more compelling reason for people to buy Windows Phone devices, for those that want a consistent look and feel across their devices, and I fully expect Windows Phone to push RIM out of the market completely in the next few years and become the third player in the battle with Android and Apple.

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FAIL

Re: Who would buy ?

I don't think things will pan out that way.

Windows Phone 7 is dead to me. I don't really know if it's a good OS, or a bad OS. All I know, is that I can't get any apps for it. In fact, the El Reg app is a rare beast - one that's offered over iOS, Android and WP7(.5).

With such a dearth of apps out there - and no sign'ts of it improving, I can't see WP8 appealing to anyone. The only market segment *might* be corporates. But I can't see senior staff being impressed when they realise they'd have to carry 2 phones, to keep the apps they like from their iPhones.

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Facepalm

Re: Who would buy ?

Isn't needing 2 of the same devices the new way forward for Microsoft? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1zxDa3t0fg

Always cracks me up that - the way he proudly explains he can run internet explorer, with a confident wave of the arm to the audience. Which when he does, immediately bricking it. Fantastic. And certainly worth pointing out again and again. And again.

If only they'd invested more of the $5 million per day they extort from Android manufacturers into this, eh? Or did it all go on the $450 needed to get a phone box of gullibles to buy their $50 comedy handset?

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WTF?

Re: Who would buy ?

All I know, is that I can't get any apps for it

Why can't you get any of the excess of 100,000 apps available for it?

I suppose some people might be missing Instagram but the corporate business requirement for shit sepia-toned photos is not exactly proven.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Who would buy ?

The fact that a WP7 cannot natively browse a windows network told me all I needed to know. There's one app - ShareFolder. But why should I have to pay for an app to do what even Windows for Workgroups could do ?

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I bought. It's nice. I prefer it to iOS, which I also have.

I can't find Words for Friends, which is a shame, but not a show-stopper.

Other than that, I have Evernote and Dropbox and Outlook and Office and several astronomy apps and lot of games and various Compass / Altitude things, and a jogging pedometer, and full (free) spoken GPS navigation and a very funky mapping programme that has bike maps and 1920s OS maps which is entertaining. And Kindle reader, a "free" ebook reader, PDF reader, a bunch of shopping apps. And Spotify and internet radio with my favourite french radio stations. I don't know if Instagram or FourSquare are available, I've never looked.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I bought. It's nice. I prefer it to iOS, which I also have.

It's all down to individuals ...

No app to access my bank account (one for iOS and Android)

No BBC news app

No Chiltern Railway app

No NCP app

No National Rail app

all things I would use in my work life. So, no matter how fantabulous WP8 is, I can't get into WP7

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Re: I bought. It's nice. I prefer it to iOS, which I also have.

I appear to have a BBC and thetrainline apps, they might be new though?

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Re: I bought. It's nice. I prefer it to iOS, which I also have.

Mike, a BBC App has been there since almost immediately after WP7 was released. Though when I installed it, it appears to be a scraper from a 3rd party developer group and not BBC at all, either that or the devname was poorly chosen by the BBC people.

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FAIL

Re: I bought. It's nice. I prefer it to iOS, which I also have.

I have *a* BBC app - it's buggy and not supported by the BBC - it's a 3rd party jobbie. Admittedly free.

The fact the BBC haven't bothered with a WP7 speaks volumes. Is there an iPlayer for WP7 ?

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