Windows Phone is the third most popular mobile platform in the world, and depending on how you look at it, being third out of fourth isn't that bad. On the positive side, at least you're not fourth. You might even take comfort in knowing that actor Will Smith has your back. "Three is the new one," he said during a recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel. But in reality, even being third most popular isn't much when you only represent 4.6 percent of market share. This doesn't even hold a candle compared to either Android or iOS, and when trying to figure out a reason why, many people will blame put the blame on the lack of applications.
For a long time now, Nokia seems to be carrying Windows Phone on its back. For the most part, when I hear "Windows Phone" my mind automatically associates that with "Nokia". Forget the fact that HTC and Samsung also make Windows Phone devices - their main focus obviously lies in the production of Android devices with Windows Phone being a side job. But Nokia, with their hardware and emphasis on quality cameras in a smartphone, obviously takes Windows Phone a lot more seriously.
But even recently we've heard that Nokia realizes that just hardware isn't going to bring in new Windows Phone users. They need more support from Microsoft in the form of applications. Although there hasn't been much response from Microsoft regarding the application issue brought up by Nokia, they have released a tool that will supposedly help shape up the Windows Phone developer community. This tool is called the Windows Phone App Studio.
Windows Phone App Studio is essentially Windows Phone application development for dummies (which isn't to say you are a dummy for using it - or that you aren't - but simply a reference to the popular series of instructional books on various subjects). It's application development on easy mode. The App Studio claims to allow you to take any application ideas from "idea to app in 4 easy steps." I feel like a couple of things are bound to happen at this point: There are probably going to be an influx of useless apps in the Windows Phone Store, but this is also an opportunity for those who are interested in developing to get a solid start.
Although I'm not a developer on mobile platforms, I imagine the results from the App Studio are going to be similar to my own experience learning coding on the Internet. Spending a decent amount on the computer every week while growing up has allowed me to teach myself a lot about HTML and CSS coding - mostly because I wanted to have the prettiest Xanga page, and I was sick of having the same premade blog layouts as everyone else. I took matters into my own hands. My first few layouts were horrendous; bad colors, bad coding, and really ugly photoshopped images. But over time I got better. I got better because I kept trying. I felt sorry to those who had to see my first several atrocities that decorated my blog, but eventually they became rather good-looking and I've been able to apply these skills in different situations still today. I will say that it looks like developing for a mobile platform can seem a bit more intimidating than changing layouts on personal websites. Why? Because you have to face ratings. If you have to start application development from scratch, you're at a really high risk of completely embarrassing yourself. At least here Microsoft gives you templates to work off of, and although the application pretty much does everything for you without ever showing you code, you can request the code later in order to build on that and perhaps develop something more unique and less limiting than what the App Studio allows you to create.
I think this is a pretty cool tool from Microsoft.
As I've said before, I'm not a developer for mobile platforms. But if I was ever interested in being one, Windows Phone would seem like the most attractive option for somebody who is just starting out. The platform is minimalistic, so there's not a lot of pressure to make an application graphically intense if you don't want to. Being simple and clean is the main idea behind the Windows Phone interface, so starting off with more simple applications seems like a normal thing to do. Once you get good at learning how to build simple applications with a template, you can move on to the next level and keep building. Wash, rinse, repeat.
I'm excited to see how this turns out for Windows Phone. I can certainly see a lot of aspiring developers becoming Windows Phone users to try and build on this platform, but whether this will pan out to benefit Microsoft and Windows Phone users in general in the end is something that only time can tell.
Readers, what do you think about the Windows Phone App Studio? Do you think it will benefit Microsoft? Are you considering becoming a Windows Phone app developer? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Image via CNet