There are a lot of mobile operating systems (OS) on the smartphone market today. You have the iOS on the iPhone, Android by Google, WebOS by Palm (now owned by HP), and of course the BlackBerry platform. Then there is Microsoft’s Windows 7. Along with the new OS, Microsoft has released a robust set of app development tools to anyone in the world who cares to download them.
Development Made Easy
This set of tools is, in my opinion, going to help Windows Phone 7 be a success. Apple has made it clear that it’s all about apps. Microsoft’s strategy: Acknowledge that sentiment through releasing the best app development tools available for any smartphone OS. A few months ago I heard many developers, who had developed for multiple platforms, admit that the best documented and easy to use tools were for Windows Phone 7 - hands down. I was curious, being a fairly average Joe, to see if I, having never developed anything beyond a website, could make my own app.
A few days later, I had this:
A running, working application. Now, I’m not going to go into what the app does, admittedly it’s a fairly simply idea, but I, having no previous app development experience, was able to make this in a few short days. It was as simple as drawing some graphics, and then telling these graphics how to react to input from the user. Lastly, I put a placeholder for where ads will go, which will allow me to make money without having to charge money for the app. All the fancy code for that is already written for me, all I have to do is drag and drop the code into place.
The Windows Phone 7 Difference
If I wanted to attempt to make something this simple on any other mobile phone platform I wouldn’t even know where to begin.The fact that somone who doesn’t know anything about programming can, in a few days, learn a new set of tools and make a working app for a smartphone is simply ground breaking. It has never been done before. I know the word “magical” is over used these days with people like Steve Jobs using it in every other sentence, but I must say, that making app development easy and accessible to the average person is truly magical.
Now, does easy to develop apps guarantee a mobile operating system will be a success? Probably not. Windows Phone 7 has a lot of missing features that are present in its competitors mobile operating systems, while also bringing some fresh ideas to the market. So it is a bit of a mixed bag, but certainly having powerful and easy to use app development tools will help Microsoft regain a foothold in a market they once dominated.