We at Gadgetell talk a lot about third party applications for mobile phone operating systems and how they might make or break a platform. The news comes today that Microsoft Product Manager for France let slip that Windows Mobile Marketplace will launch with 600 applications. Microsoft is expected to launch this Marketplace this fall. Is 600 enough to launch with?
600 sounds like a lot of applications, but at the same time also sounds lacking compared the runaway train Apple built now. One site, suggests the App Store has over 52,000 applications. With over 240 applications submitted per day, is the App Store catch-able? Is Microsoft even interested in catching Apple?
Microsoft wants your application, developers
A recent promo video to get developers to submit applications to their Marketplace. Microsoft is aiming to entice developers to reach the millions of Windows Mobile users around the globe. The main developer page says:
Go global! We’ll make it easy. Windows Marketplace for Mobile makes it easy to manage and distribute your applications, and will directly connect you with millions of Windows Mobile users worldwide. Marketplace will be pre-installed in every single Windows Mobile 6.5 device allowing you to reach a broad audience.
Microsoft to developers: just kidding
Apparently, the humor doesn’t stop at making funny YouTube videos. If the promo video and website promising fame and fortune was enough to get you excited to start coding for Windows Mobile, the response from Microsoft is, according to one report:
“Thank you for joining the Windows Marketplace for Mobile developer program. We are not ready to accept your Marketplace submissions. We will notify you as soon as the portal is ready to accept your applications.”
What could be worse, the Marketplace won’t be available to all those Windows Mobile 6.1 and older customers. The Marketplace will only work with 6.5. Now the potential good news for some phone owners with 6.1 is there may be an update path for you, but that is up to the manufacturer and I wouldn’t hold your breath for it. If my experience with the Samsung Blackjack that took forever to update to the 6.0 is similar, manufacturers have little interest in helping a phone they’ve already sold you.
Palm received (and continues to receive) a lot of guff over a mostly unavailable SDK and few apps in their webOS app store. Clearly, Palm Pre fans are interested in applications with over a million downloaded already from choice of just 30 applications. Applications have become de rigeur for a successful smartphone thanks to Apple’s involvement. Palm relied on third party developers back in the day but it took Apple to take the stage to make the apps seemingly essential for daily life. Need to breathe? There’s an app for that.
So who are the chosen 600? Microsoft Partners? Will they be essentials? We’ll see in just a few short months.