With Windows Phone 7 only being around here in the US for a little over a month now, all of this talk about the new platform is a good sign. Another good bit of news for the platform is how fast its Marketplace is expanding. While 4,000 applications doesn't sound like much of a milestone in comparison to Apple's 300,000 strong App Store and 100,000 applications in the Android Market, it's a huge tell for what we can expect from the platform as far as development concerns go.
Back at the the platform's US launch, Windows Phone 7 sat at some 2,000 applications. Just 17 days later, the Marketplace was home to 3,000 applications. Here we are, 21 days after that and the Marketplace sits respectably at 4,000 apps. Even though iOS and Android laugh and brush this off as “just 4,000 apps,” Windows Phone 7's Marketplace is about on track with the two competing application stores at their start. I don't agree with the success of a mobile platform being based on its sheer number of applications available or the quality of said apps, but it has proven over the past few years that it definitely helps with recognition and can be a deal breaker for many buyers.
Take Palm and webOS as an example. In a nutshell, the platform failed. This could be blamed on several reasons, but imagine where it would be if it had only 20,000 high quality applications (not counting ten duplicates for every decent application). People would be more prone to buying a phone that can compete at a certain level – with applications. As we prepare for round two from HPalm, let's hope they learned where they went wrong. Application support and better hardware could spell success for them, because webOS is definitely capable software and a pleasure to use. They're over a year in and they only had a little over 5,000 applications in September. With WP7 on their heels, they better get their act together and come on strong, otherwise HP may be feeling some holes in their pockets.
Microsoft has taken a “by all means necessary” approach to entice developers to adopt their platform by giving them money and devices. Some people call that cheating, I call it showing that they're willing, believe their platform has a chance, and what they're capable of. If you don't believe your platform can run with the big dogs, it never will. Kudos to Microsoft for realizing what it takes and preparing for the storm they have ahead of them. Now, only 96,000 apps to go.
Image via PocketNow