Microsoft is making yet another attempt to court mobile developers, this time for when Windows 10 hits Windows Phone devices as well as traditional computers and touch devices. Is it time for you to consider building mobile apps for Windows Phone?
Windows 10 may well be a breakthrough operating system for Microsoft after the disaster that was Windows 8. It unifies an operating system that on Windows 8 felt like two separate ones, one for touch devices, and one for traditional computers.
With Windows 10, Microsoft is also bringing the code for Windows Phone closer to Windows on computers and tablets. The idea is that you will be able to more easily write an app that can run on both mobile and desktop platforms.
Microsoft is thinking big with Windows 10 --- its goal is to have one billion devices of all kinds running it.
Is It Time to Get Onboard?
Does all this mean its time to get onboard the Windows 10 mobile app train? Maybe not yet. That one billion number sounds tempting, but keep in mind that the vast majority of those one billion devices are going to be traditional computers, not Windows Phones. IDC's most recent estimate is that Windows Phone had only 3 percent of smartphone sales last year. That's not a particularly tempting market. Especially when you consider the costs required to target multiple platforms when building mobile apps.
Microsoft has announced toolkits that it says will make it easier to port apps from iOS and Android to Windows Phone. But because of Windows Phone's small market share, developers aren't particularly interested in building custom mobile apps for Windows 10.
Reuters reports that makers of Android and iOS apps generally aren't interested in also moving to Windows Phone. The news service interviewed 12 developers without Windows Phone apps, and only a single one planned to add Windows Phone to its mix.
Still, there are some special use cases where you might decide to build a Windows Phone app, notably if the rest of your company's infrastructure is Windows-based. Apart from that, though, it's likely not the time yet to make the jump.