Harry - 10:29 pm on Sep 6, 2010 (gmt 0)
Microsoft is starting at the starting line like any other new platform. Sure they have money to spend, but the platform is a big risk for developers.
Having multiple distribution and sales models for apps doesn't change the fact that anything done on WP7 must be compatible with what's already available in terms of distribution on iOS and Android. Just because I can make an app with limited trial, doesn't mean I'll really be able to do so, when said app also has to be distributed in a similar fashion on other mobile platforms. Not sure if you guys see where I'm going, but both Microsoft and Apple have a history of starting new standards that run counter to what the rest of the industry is doing and making it more difficult to develop for.
I have seriously looked at WP7 but I'm still not convinced that a port to this platform is a safe bet. While the interface is unique - kudos to Microsoft to have innovated and brought a fresh idea to market, the way Palm did, the UI is much too complicated for the average person. Grouping similar activities into sections instead of a specific task oriented method, the way iOS does now is not intuitive at all. The UI, while beautiful is way to onerous and complex for a business user or a mobile user on the go that has little time to figure out things. One should not have to think too much when using a smartphone which is intended to be used in quick sessions.
Microsoft has not done sufficient diligent work to attract developers, like me. The registration process and fees are counterproductive and shows that the company still doesn't understand the industry it's playing in. When you're the last guy, you can't ask people to pay dearly for something unproven. By doing this Microsoft targets only the usual Microsoft crowd of developers and not the scruffy small shops that have popped out all over and created all those apps that have made iOS and Android sexy. These irregular outfits are the one that make app ecosystems possible. Not the usual Microsoft certified bunch that's used to playing in its "elitist" and protected playground.
Microsoft thinks it doesn't have to attract the small scruffy app publishers that turn out a project in a few months with barebone resources. They're approach is too bureaucratic - more so than Apple which has allowed independents devs to thrive. Too many procedures, too much tech to adhere to.
The things missing from WP7 from the launch are inexcusable. Again, Microsoft thinks it's got time on its side and is in 2008 not 2010. While Microsoft has done one better than Blackberry with WP7 versus BB6, it's still not there in terms of real usability and features innovation as Android, iOS and Palm webOS. It's product is not mature enough in an industry dominated by far more advanced mobile OSes.
Microsoft is banking everything on gaming, by linking the Xbox ecosystem to WP7. Unfortunately, it's not doing so in its first release and will again play catch up on something it should never have lost ground in the first place. iOS has shown that gaming can be big directly on the mobile ecosystem and that linking it to another structure or treating mobile as a junior or lite playground is a big mistake.
Microsoft is not humble in their current endeavour. They poured similar amount of money and resources for the Kin and pulled the plug less than a month after. As an app dev, can I trust Microsoft to stay the course and continue to promote this platform, while it has, less than six months ago killed several major projects which were expected to define the company in the future? Where is the Courier? What about the Kin? Will Microsoft get cold feet and fire all of the WP7 team when they get less than stellar results after a few months? Will the manufacturers and launch partners who most of them are still working on Android keep their enthusiasm when they see their Android device making so much more revenue?
As an app dev, I do not trust Microsoft on this one and they have done little to woo me. Information has been sketchy and I'm not even sure if WP7 is a GSM toy only or if it will also available for CDMA devices. I don't know much about the devices being offered by various manufacturers. I didn't even get my free phone in the mail to encourage me to develop for WP7.
Windows Phone 7 is a big risk and I'm not sure I want to be a part of it.