Windows Phone users swear by their phones. Even Android and iOS fans who took a chance on Windows Phone say the platform is great. But the stark reality remains, that Windows Phone or Windows 10 Mobile has a severe app problem. Who needs a million apps they say, when that million consists of a large percentage of useless fart apps and me-too apps? The real problem lies in Windows Phone not supporting or is not supported by several popular apps. Unfortunately, Pokemon Go is one such app which is currently taking the world by storm.
With Pokemon GO, the Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile app problem can no longer be ignored. While it would be easy for Windows Phone users to just get a cheap Android phone to be able to use popular apps, phone users would really rather settle on just one and not everyone can afford two phones. While one can argue that Windows Phone users are mostly business types, there are several apps found on other platforms many use for business such as banking apps and airline apps. Without Pokemon GO, and the continued lack of popular apps, Microsoft could lose those merry youthful few fans of Windows Phone. Windows Phone users can always turn to Android, with its flexibility in replacing launch screens. There are several launchers that mimic Windows’ tiled interface.
Windows Phone’s less business-centric fans are hopeful that the phenomenal app would be available but because of Windows Phone’s minuscule 1.3% US market share, Nintendo has opted not to release Pokemon GO on the platform. That’s a lot of depressed and disappointed people. Nintendo’s reason is the same as all the other major app developers. They do not trust Windows Phone enough to reach critical mass.
Here are some popular apps that are not in the Windows Phone App Store, not updated and even pulled out:
- YouTube – there has yet to be an official YouTube app for the Windows Phone or Windows 10 Mobile. There are many apps that take advantage of YouTube’s API, but an official app is like a seal of approval.
- Instagram – still in beta as of 2014 despite Mark Zuckerberg‘s commitment to develop for Windows.
- Snapchat – there is no official app on Windows phone, nor there probably will be. CEO Evan Spiegel made it clear he doesn’t care for the platform.
- Gmail – like YouTube, Google has yet to create an official app for a real Gmail experience.
- Pinterest – pulled out from the Windows Mobile platform last year.
- Tinder – does not seem interested in spreading infidelity among Windows Phone users.
- Google Maps – still one of the best maps around. It’s a matter of preference and some Windows Phone users might prefer it too.
- Yahoo Mail – the official app pulled from the Windows Store last year.
- Candy Crush – it took developer King long enough to adopt the Windows platform. Currently on Windows 10.
- Banking and Flight Reservation and Restaurant reservation apps – the lack of popularity of the Windows platform has resulted in major businesses not bothering to interact with Windows Phone users. Why develop for one thousand Windows users when there are a couple of hundred thousand for iOS and Android?
- And lastly, Pokemon GO, ‘nuff said.
This lack of apps, even from the business sector, which Microsoft is struggling to be a niche of, is really debilitating. To the point that even if iOS and Android fans want to make the switch, they just can’t as many of those listed are apps that they use. Pokemon GO drives the nail down so hard for any hope of attracting young users in the near future.
But isn’t it a chicken and egg thing? How will the platform become popular and create revenue if no one makes killer apps for it? Developers blame the platform for lack of apps when they themselves never offered their support. Is developing for Windows Phone or Windows 10 Mobile that difficult? Microsoft did say that Visual Studio now makes it easy to port iOS and Android apps over to Windows. What’s the holdup?
Then there’s the fact that Microsoft sometimes makes better versions of their apps on these platforms. Isn’t Windows deserving of some turnabout? But the blame also goes to Microsoft. Unlike iOS and Android, its iterations of the Windows Phone OS aren’t compatible with each other. What works for Windows Phone 7 won’t necessarily work for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 10 Mobile. Apps compiled for Windows Phone 7 not being compatible with Windows Phone 8.1 must have been a terrible disappointment for Windows users and developers. If Microsoft has little faith in its OS, how can third party developers?
* Corrections: Temple Go, Spotify and Linkedin were taken off the list of Windows Phone apps.