With Microsoft and Nokia making a pronounced push to expand Windows Phone’s reach, they need the support of their app developers to give the platform some staying power. Fortunately, it looks like Windows Phone is picking up steam on the app front — All About Windows Phone reports that 50,000 apps have been published in the Windows Phone Marketplace ahead of their initial predictions.
There is, as always, a bit of catch — the number only refers to the number of apps that have been published, so you won’t find all 50,000 apps available for download in your neck of the woods. All About Windows Phone figures that nearly 6,000 apps were published in the marketplace and were subsequently pulled either by Microsoft or the developers themselves. Even so, Windows Phone has hit the 50,000 app mark in just 14 months — it took Android 19 months to hit that milestone, while iOS only took 12.
Even if the exact number is a bit sketchy, there’s one thing that nearly all sources can agree on: the platform is growing. Back when the Windows Marketplace hit 40,000 apps, new submissions happened at a rate of about 165 per day, while today’s milestone sees daily submissions hovering around the 265 app mark. That Windows Phone is being embraced by more developers is heartening, but there’s still the question of quality to contend with.
The Windows Marketplace is no stranger to spammy submissions that often buried better apps, although Microsoft has taken steps to make it less of an issue for developers on the up-and-up. Even so, the practice of mass uploading near identical apps continues: take rkg4u, for example.
This developer has had 20 apps released into the Windows Marketplace yesterday, and all of them essentially aggregate content from different sections of CNN and the BBC’s websites. Are these apps useful? Arguably. Do they add anything new or novel to the Windows Phone experience? Absolutely not. And lest you think that I’ve cherry-picked that example, take a look at the marketplace’s new apps section — for every useful app you’ll find, there are likely to be 10 feed readers surrounding it. Now the issue of app quality isn’t one that’s unique to Windows Phone, but in a time when Microsoft is fighting for market and mind share, it certainly isn’t helping.
While Microsoft tries to make it easy for Windows Phone users to sift through all the junk, the state of their app store could be a ticking time-bomb for them and their users. While potential customers may be swayed by the right hardware and the right OS at the right time, a bad balance between compelling and crappy apps could ensure that those who gamble on Windows Phone may not stick around for the long haul.
What we need now are killer apps for Windows Phones, the ones that make Android and iOS users look on with unabashed envy. Consider this a rallying cry for all you Windows Phone devs out there — make something great, and let us all know about it.