Windows Phone 8 – Still No SDK widely available?

Are you excited about Windows Phone 8? With awesome offerings like the Nokia Lumia 920 and the switch to the NT core, Windows Phone 8 is looking pretty interesting. One area where it might not be so hot is with the apps, though.

Windows Phone 8 offers a dramatic change to the way apps work, and that means that native WP8 apps will not work with the older Windows Phone 7. Luckily, 7.x apps will work with Windows Phone 8 in a special compatibility mode, but they will be missing a few special features and won’t be able to take full advantage of the changes in Windows Phone 8.

Luckily there are tons of Windows Phone 8 apps in the works, right? We wish.

Unfortunately, Microsoft made the decision to open up its preview for the Windows Phone 8 SDK to only a few select developers. This leaves many developers out in the cold. The biggest negative to this strategy is that most developers dropped work on their current Windows Phone 7 apps in anticipation of the new OS.

Waiting months to get their hands on the SDK though as probably driven some of these developers away to other platforms. At the very least, it is slowing down the conversion process for existing Windows Phone 7 apps.

It also means that only small amount of WP8-optimized apps will launch from day one. I’m not 100% sure why Microsoft is doing this. It seems to only anger smaller developers and will give them less apps on launch day that are made to take full advantage of the new OS.

When will developers finally get a hold of the SDK? Not until sometime after the upcoming Windows Phone 8 launch party. Considering Microsoft has a much smaller amount of app developers compared to iOS and Android, you wouldn’t think they would want to anger those who are dedicated to the platform.

Why Take the Risk of Angering Developers?

Microsoft’s official reason is that they don’t want to spoil some of the surprises in Windows Phone 8. Keeping the SDK out of most developers hands means they can control what we get to see prior to the launch. I suppose it makes some sense, but at the risk of angering developers and not providing enough Windows Phone 8 apps out of the gate?

The only other thing I can think of is if there is some secret feature to WP8 that will optimize Windows 8 store apps right out the gate and make them work flawlessly. Considering screen size issues and other problems, I doubt that. Still, if they already have 4000+ Windows 8 apps that will work with WP8, that could be one reason why they aren’t so worried.

The other possibility is that Microsoft is running into problems with the software development kit, and is trying to keep its problems under wraps. This is possible, but doubtful.

What do you think? Why wait so long to give developers the SDK? Are you excited about Windows Phone 8 or does the potential app situation bother you at all?

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