Today Instagram and Waze came to the Windows Phone platform, bringing two applications to Microsoft’s smartphone venture that it has long lacked.
Microsoft also released a set of numbers that outline the platform’s growth, and yet modest size. Windows Phone has seen 3 billion applications downloads, a fine number for the platform, but something that pales in comparison to iOS’s more than 60 billion aggregate downloads.
The platform tallies 10 million app transactions each day, or 300 million per month. That’s up from 9 million per day in September, and 6.66 million per day in June. According to the company, 500 new Windows Phone applications are uploaded daily.
The release of Windows Phone 8 remains the crux moment for the platform, with “monthly paid app revenue” up 181% since its launch. Also in roughly the past year, app downloads have increased 290%. Windows Phone is small, but growing at healthy rates.
The above figures indicate that there is likely enough user activity for developers to warrant the platform enough attention to build for it. However, Windows Phone remains especially small in its home market, the United States, a key application revenue source for iOS and Android developers. Its lack of popularity in that country likely tempers developer enthusiasm.
Sales numbers for Windows Phone handsets are growing, often at triple digit paces on a year-over-year basis, but the platform was small enough a year ago that those figures don’t indicate rampaging growth that could rival iOS or Android on a unit volume basis anytime soon.
The company still has most of its work in front of it: Unit volume must rise in the United States, and other issues such as developer lassitude persist.
The above all sums to the simple fact that Microsoft, through expense and struggle, has managed to build a mobile platform that has achieved something close to exit velocity. It wasn’t long ago that that wasn’t true, and that Windows Phone was more the butt of jokes than something for developers to begin to get to know.
The Windows Phone story remains mixed, but I think it’s trending positive.