Will the iPhone stimulate other mobile markets

There have been lots of announcements recently about various manufacturers setting up their own ‘app store’ equivalents. This is not unexpected I guess, when you see a good model why not copy it?

But I am interested in what this will do for the quality and variety of applications in for different operating systems? Microsoft have promised an app store for Windows Mobile, but will it generate more audio and music apps? Will Microsoft make their development tools available for free? Somehow I can’t see that happening.

We know that Palm has in effect abandoned the mobile music community when they decided to go for their new OS and cut out all legacy apps (unless Styletap step in), and Rim has never really targeted the multimedia market.

Yesterday I posted a link to the Intermorphic blog. That post ends by pointing out that without the 3rd party developers no platform can be a success. Which makes me wonder if the manufacturers who are starting these new app stores know how to properly stimulate the developer community in the same way as Apple have? Because, if they don’t get it right, no number of app stores will make any difference.

I’d like to see more developers come into the Windows Mobile space. I think there have been some really good apps here, but they have been few and far between. Of late Intermorphic have brought their excellent Mixtikl app out. 4Pockets have delivered MeTeoR, and of course there’s the superb Griff.

But these apps have come out over a long period of time and it makes me wonder what will create the same explosion of interest and applications as we’ve seen with the iPhone and the app store? I had hoped that the iPhone ‘halo’ would rejuvenate interest in Windows Mobile music apps and bring it new developers, but it hasn’t happened.

So, is there anything that will make a difference? Or will the iPhone’s success with apps be a one off that other OS’s can’t replicate?

I hope not.

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1 comment

  1. Such a complicated issue! It is clearly a disappointment that more WM music apps haven't happened which could be down to a huge number of reasons including:* Lack of a centralised download location (you really have to go searching in many places)* Complicated to install some apps (requiring a PC in many cases)* Severely inconsistent app pricing that seem to defy market forces* Highly fragmented user base (hardware and OS revision)So clearly the iPhone and App Store address and mostly defeat all of the above in one fell swoop. So surely a Microsoft app store would be a no brainer right?I'm not convinced it would wholly succeed, although I would definitely welcome it. I *suspect* that some of the following are true:* WM devices tend, IN THE MAIN (so don't get offended), to be used by people less interested in fun and creativity and more interested in corporate connectivity and Office apps. * Many WM device owners probably don't even realise you can add apps to them, and don't really care.* The performance of many WM devices is very poor – slow screen updates, unresponsive touch screens, timing issues (metronomes on my Glofiish X500 are a joke) and slow processing speed (presumably the OS is a resource hog as the CPUs are generally quite nippy).I guess what that all points to is what I perceive as a lack of a substantial market for WM apps AT THE MOMENT. I would hate to see WM devices disappear, but I suspect that if Microsoft tries too hard to copy the iPhone interface, it will lose heavily unless there are major advances over the iPhone (e.g. ability to use both stylus and finger as well as multi-touch, HUGE CPU and GFX capability). There is no point simply catching up with the iPhone because obviously Apple's R&D bods haven't been resting on their laurels for the last two years.Seriously, if (when) the iPhone had proper GPS (e.g. Tomtom), all my fave WM apps (Meteor, Stompbox, Griff) and expandable memory (e.g. MicroSD) I'd probably migrate fully.

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