One of the biggest gripes many users have with the Windows Phone platform is the lack of applications available on the Windows Phone Marketplace. While no operating system should be judged based on the number of applications alone, customers care that their smartphones have access to applications they want and need in order to better their mobile experience (or, slingshot angry birds towards pigs in space).
Windows Phone’s main competitors, Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS platforms both have amassed a whopping 450,000+ applications on their respective app stores. Microsoft’s store has been growing at a fairly decent rate, however, and has now reached the 80,000 mark. This puts it about 10,000 applications ahead of RIM (Blackberry) and Symbian (Nokia). Microsoft’s struggling Windows Phone platform is on pace to hit the psychologically important 100,000 application barrier sometime in May.
One of the main reasons developers have shied away from developing for Windows Phone is the lack of customers adopting the platform. Developers are instead choosing to develop for Android and iOS first, considering that these platforms make up about 80+% of the smartphone marketplace today.
Nokia, HTC, and Microsoft are hoping to quickly become a major player with the introduction of the Nokia Lumia 900 and HTC Titan II Windows Phone devices in the United States, the first of the Windows Phone devices released to date that don’t remind us of older, entry-level Android phones. The Lumia 900 and Titan II are the first drool-worthy Windows Phone devices to be released, with our own Marin Perez calling the Lumia 900 the best Windows Phone yet.
If sales of the Lumia 900 and Titan II meet Microsoft’s expectations, developers might start to take Windows Phone seriously as a platform, and the number of applications available on the platform will grow exponentially. But with Android and iOS showing continued growth at the expense of all other platforms, that could be a big if for Microsoft.