Gambling on Nokia Mobile APP Development
For awhile it looked like Mobile App designers were going to have a lot of options when deciding which niche to target. Obviously the Apple OS is a very popular spot to produce apps, although a bit crowded. The Android has been very strong. Then Windows based phones seemed to be another big competitor with strong features and great reviews. Rounding out the race was Blackberry which has been a perennial powerhouse for quite some time.
But so far, that race has turned into a sprint between only two main sources: the iPhone and Android phones.
A Two Horse Race
It is all iPhones and Androids and nothing else these days. The Windows-based phones actually look pretty darn good. They went all out with development of it and made a solid base, marketed it well, and generally have everyone in agreement that it is a good product. But, it has less than 5% of the market. Blackberry is basically on life support right now and unless the new phone (the BlackBerry 10 which looks like all the other smart phones now) knocks it out of the park they will probably fold like a card house.
While Samsung is facing some lawsuits and a slight bump to the bottom line after Apple won the initial go-round in the, “No, you copied us!” suits, that shouldn’t do much to diminish the Android phones stranglehold on their market-share. There should be plenty of appeals in the works and only a few older phones are actually a concern for being pulled from the market and that really won’t affect app development.
Time to Roll the Dice!
So if you are looking to develop mobile apps should you just focus on either the Android or iPhone? If you are adverse to risk (of course app development does have quite a bit of risk already) then yes. But Nokia is gambling big on the Windows 8 release to turn the tide. They are hopeful that the Windows Phone 8 software will be exactly what they need to give them a huge edge in the market and help Windows push past iOS in the next two to three years.
Nokia will be putting substantial effort forth in the form of marketing to try and make this happen because otherwise each company will suffer some serious setbacks. In reality, if the Windows 8 Phone isn’t a success then the whole company could go under. Of course Microsoft will push their own product with their own level of marketing which should help generate buzz for phone sales.
What’s Best for Development?
What does that mean for a developer? If you get in while the getting is good then you could easily be producing an application for the 2nd largest OS in the world. Typically speaking, a smaller number of apps available and a large customer base can mean big sales numbers because users love applications for their smart phones.
Really the question should be what is the long term goal you have for your own development? Right now Nokia and Microsoft are planning to be big by 2016. That means a steady increase of numbers over the next three to four years for phones sold as they slowly expect to capture the market share. If you need a hit now then Android has half the market share in their pocket already.
The goal of Windows 8 is to allow developers to write apps that run on both platforms. Ideally this means your market can include computer, phone, and tablet customers using Windows 8 with a single app. This is basically where Microsoft tells Apple to shove it by trying to trump their all-purpose Apple Store. In theory it seems like the Windows Phone 8 might even be the friendliest OS for development because of the shared core and native code support.
Of course this will all be a moot point if Nokia can’t wow customers with their phone designs. No matter how cool the OS is, nobody will give a damn if the phone doesn’t match up to a comparable Android or Apple option. Aside from form and function, many consumers buy a phone to show off how much cooler it is than anyone else’s. If first year and second year sales aren’t on track where they need to be then who knows what will happen with the company.
So do you feel lucky?