Windows 8 has been here about a half month now and is growing its user base at a steady rate. What else is growing? Its app selection. There are now over 13,000 apps for Windows 8/RT.
This is nothing short of impressive considering the little time the OS has been out.
That being said, many of these apps are small and independent efforts. Many “big name” apps are still absent such as Facebook and Twitter (though it is coming).
Other missing apps that we’d love to see included are Pinterest, Instagram, Dropbox and Flipboard.
Windows 8 represents a major change, and that is likely why many of these app developers are still waiting off. They want to see what kind of user base actually exists for Windows 8 before they jump in and invest in a new ecosystem.
Sure, we know Windows 8 is going to end up on TONS of computers, but there is no guarantee these users will actually use the Windows Store apps and the new Start Screen UI.
Some users might simply bypass the experience after log in and jump straight to the desktop. Something tells me that this might be true for power users, but many casual PC/tablet users will get used to the new UI and will likely find its simplified nature suites them.
In the meantime, what can Microsoft due to lure in developers? Make the platform as attractive to develop for as possible.
What Microsoft Can do to Win over Developers
Microsoft has already taken some big steps in the right direction here. At last week’s BUILD conference they gave developers free goodies like the Surface RT, 100GB of cloud storage, a free Lumia 920 and a discounted developer’s registration to Windows Store.
What else are they doing right? While iOS and Android pay 70 percent of the money from their apps back to the developers, Microsoft is matching that but offering even more to those that have apps that perform well.
If an app earns over $25,000 it will go up to 80 percent profit on store sells.
Windows 8 already has a ton of developers for its desktop side of operations, but that won’t do. The Microsoft Store needs to grow if Surface and other Windows 8 tablets are going to be successful.
Offering goodies and more money are attractive points for developers, but what about making a platform that is EASY to develop for? That certainly goes a long way. Luckily, Microsoft seems to be getting this one right as well.
Flexibility in language choice means that developers don’t have to learn anything new– they can use the program knowledge they already have. This is certainly a positive for smaller companies that can train or hire tons of new help just to conform to whatever language a mobile OS is enforcing.
Unity with Windows could be a major incentive
Another monumental change in Windows 8 is the unity we are seeing with Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. Both are based on the NT core and apps that are developed for one platform can be converted with relative ease.
This unification of code still requires a bit of optimizing when making an app for both platforms, but it is still an important and appealing part of Windows 8.
It is also more than likely that sometime in the future the Xbox will get an AppStore of its own– probably with the next Xbox. You can bet that this store will likely allow easy porting of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 apps as well.
Many app developers might not be jumping in right away with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, but the appeal is certainly there.
As the user base grows, we can expect to see many more app developers join in to the world of Windows 8 and RT.
Are you a developer? If so, are you considering Windows 8 as a development platform? If so, what about the new OS appeals to you the most?