| | 01-02-2013, 11:08 AM #1
The lack of key apps on Windows Phone has little to do with the developers and companies, seriously, these people have limited resources and you can't expect them to promptly support a platform with microbial marketshare.
That said, Windows Phone 8 has a number of fantastic features that would really sell, potentially even disturb the current market provided the platform has developers on-board. Take a look at the AMC app showcased on wpcentral's front page, not only is it amazing, but the way it integrates into WP makes WP amazing - and truly distinct. In fact, I think it's so distinct that it actually disturbs the consumer mindset, it definitely did so for me... Now I expect all apps of this nature to what AMC does on Windows Phone. In truth, this should be something that keeps me sticking to Windows Phone no matter what (user retention), and through clever marketing, draw new users in (adoption) in masses, long before the competition can offer a superior alternative.
But here's the problem, there's not nearly enough of this kind of app development in Windows Phone. Sure, we have notable exceptions such as Weather Flow, MetroTube, BBC Mobile and others (my personal shout to those amazing devs), generous support by CNN, AP, etc. But this is sadly a minority of key apps (not even talking about all apps here).
For example, of the banking apps that exist today I find it surprising that not enough of them have been updated to make use of WP8's key feature, Wallet, in some form. Sure, this can be because the banks in question don't have the necessary agreements yet with carriers (e.g. CIBC does with Rogers, they'll bring NFC payments soon to WP). Fair enough, but where the heck is Microsoft not actually pushing this to happen across the board?
In terms of an app catalogue I firmly believe Microsoft needs to ensure that the basics in every region are comprehensively covered:
1. Every WP user has access to an app for a major bank in their area (in Canada, there are none - though RBC promised)
2. Every WP user has access to proper transit information in the area. Granted Nokia Transit covers this quite well, but what about HTC/Samsung/XYZ users?
3. Every WP user has access to typical apps in their region, e.g. Ciniplex for Canadians, taxi apps, local news, etc.
It is stuff like this which make WP a lot more acceptable to people who truly consider such apps as essential before buying into a platform. In fact, some consider these apps so basic that they won't even look into whether WP has it or not, only to be disappointed later. With such a small userbase you cannot, under any condition, accept this as a reality!
However, this is the baseline, having such apps (including Instagram) will not necessarily prop Windows Phone up against the competition. The actual differentiation/disturbance comes from apps properly utilizing Windows Phone's key features. For example, Instagram should be integrated into the OS to the point where it shows up as a lenses option, that people are able comment natively, etc.
Who on earth would know this better than Microsoft? Who else is there at this time to really push the envelope on shaping app development on this scale other than Microsoft? Yes, it will cost money, a lot of money in fact... But look around you, smartphones are a highly prolific device and you are sitting on features that are in some ways disturbing - at least enough to pull in people, and retain your current lot.
Come on Microsoft, stop being the butt of jokes here, have some pride in this platform and go for the kill.