Windows Phone developer updates & offers from Mobile World Congress

Hello from Barcelona! Today I had the honor of joining Nokia at its App Developer Conference to help kick-off Mobile World Congress. Nokia shared some great phone and app news that you can read about here. For Microsoft, today is about showing you, our Windows Phone developers, the progress you have made. I’d also like to announce a few more tools and programs to make it even easier for you to develop for Windows Phone.

How are we doing?

By now, you are familiar with our strategy of fostering an ecosystem around Windows Phone: an ecosystem characterized by quality, scale and developer opportunity. This strategy is taking root at an accelerated pace with partners and developers reporting real and sustained growth following the launch of Windows Phone 8.

Every day there are more signs of people’s belief that Windows Phone has evolved from being a solid contender to a compelling alternative. Just last week, the Nokia Lumia 920 won Engadget’s Reader’s Choice award for best smartphone of 2012 – by a wide margin. Also earlier this month, the Lumia 920 took on all comers to be named Gizmodo’s “Best Smartphone Camera” of five that were tested. The Lumia 920 is also being honored this week as a GSMA Best Smartphone nominee. Most importantly, people love their Windows Phones and its apps. A January report from ChangeWave Research found that Windows Phone customers are more likely to be “very satisfied” with their phones than Android users (53% for Windows Phone users vs. 48% for Android). 

Moreover though, this qualitative praise is translating into quantitative opportunity for Windows Phone developers. We started by getting phones in front of the right people, making it easy for users to buy apps (e.g. PayPal, Alipay and carrier billing) and expanding to new geographies to grow our total addressable market by 90% in 2012. You’ve probably read reports of a 4x increase in Windows Phone sales over last year’s holiday season. In fact, we’ve achieved more than 10% marketshare in a number of countries (source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, Feb 2013).

The Windows Phone Store has also experienced a significant increase in activity – the highest in our history – with a 75% increase in app downloads, a 91% increase in paid app revenue and eclipsing 1 billion transactions. We’re also seeing higher levels of engagement with the catalog (thanks to your great apps), with a steady increase to an average of 55 downloads per user.

Windows Phone Developer Opportunity

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The Windows Phone developer community itself is growing rapidly as well. Developer registrations are up by over 40,000 in the first 90 days since the launch of Windows Phone 8, and we’ve already seen 15,000 new apps that specifically leverage the new platform functionality Windows Phone 8 provides.  All told, you’ve created a catalog of more than 130,000 apps and games – designed specifically for a differentiated Windows Phone UI and ecosystem. And we expect this growth to continue as the number of Windows Phone 8 SDK downloads just passed 500,000 in less than 4 months from its release on October 30, 2012.

New Dev Center app (preview)

We know the Windows Phone Dev Center is your dashboard for everything related to your apps. We also know many of you use Dev Center from your phone to keep a constant pulse on your apps. So we made a Dev Center app just for you and we’re releasing the first preview today. While we still have work to do, we wanted to give you the opportunity to start using the app and providing us with feedback.

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Visit the store and download a copy today.

Here are a few highlights of the Dev Center app (preview):

  • Check app download data and crash trends, payments and key metrics.

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  • Drill down by app, including reviews translated in the language of your choice.

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  • What Windows Phone app would be complete without a Live Tile? This one shows you downloads and crash counts so you always have the latest data at hand.
  • And my personal favorite, the app includes the option to share a link for your app without having to go into the store, copy/paste into an email, etc.

Special offers to help you build apps faster

We work with dozens of leading companies who can provide you with tools and libraries, web APIs, UI controls and native gaming environments. On this page we’ve collected a few we think are outstanding at accelerating the development process to help you save time and money.

Today we’re also announcing offers from three great companies, for registered Windows Phone developers.

image The Box platform offers an API that gives developers access to all of Box’s content management features, which can be integrated into third-party apps. Offer details:
  • Free account with 25GB of free space for life (instead of 5GB)
  • Includes one (1) Enterprise Seat (including: administrative controls, full text search and version history, through both the web application and the API)
  • Learn more: http://aka.ms/wpdevofferbox

 

image Buddy is a mobile backend as a service for developers building cloud-connected apps and games. With Buddy, developers can add features like messaging or chat, user account systems, geo-location support, photo albums, Live Tile support (and much more) with no server-side development required. Offer details:
  • Free Buddy account, with an allowance of up to one million (1MM) API calls per month
  • Offer is valid for six months. After six months have elapsed, developers revert to Buddy’s standard (published) pricing
  • Learn more: http://aka.ms/wpdevofferbuddy

 

image ExitGames Photon Cloud allows game developers to build and run real-time multiplayer games for Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 RT and other major platforms. With features like matchmaking and real-time data exchange, the Photon Cloud automatically scales with the application’s load. Offer details:

 

You will need a unique code to take advantage of these offers. For those of you who are already registered Windows Phone developers, you’ll receive a confirmation code later today in your copy of the Windows Phone WPDEV newsletter. If you’re just joining us, welcome! You can contact us at wpdevcenteroffers@microsoft.com for assistance. These offers are provided by the named company, not Microsoft. Additional terms and conditions apply, as determined by the party who is offering the services.

If you aren’t already building for Windows Phone, the time has never been better to join us. And, for those of you already part of the ecosystem, please enjoy these offers with our thanks for your support.

Back to Mobile World Congress – hope to see you here.