Microsoft is letting developers know that the Windows Phone Marketplace will no longer accept Windows Mobile 6.x apps starting on July 15th. Developers will also no longer be able to change the prices or other information in the Marketplace after the 15th.
This isn’t quite the end of the road for Windows Mobile 6.x users though. You’ll be able to continue downloading apps from the Marketplace for the immediate future. You just won’t see any new apps in the Marketplace.
Of course, when Windows Mobile first hit the scene, there was no centralized app store. Instead users simply downloaded software from developer web sites or from third-party stores such as Handango or Mobihand. And you can still do that. But with Microsoft throwing its weight behind Windows Phone 7, killing off the Marketplace for earlier devices, and a diminishing number of Windows Mobile 6.x phones on the market, it might be time to consider upgrading if you want to be able to run the latest apps on your phone.
When the iPhone debuted, it was years ahead of
its competition. It’s strength was so great, one could say it built the
AT&T wireless network. The quality has always been great, and the
phone was easy to use. As time progressed, companies such as HTC began
making phones that could compete with the iPhone that ran on better
wireless networks. I like Windows Mobile because of its great MS Office
integration with Outlook and Exchange, great developer tools, ease of
customization, and multitasking. That made it a developer magnet, and
attractive for technical and business users alike. The iPhone had no
multitasking in any end-user-usable sense of the word. Apple realized it
was no longer in the position it once was, and the iPhone is now also available
from Verizon. WP7 platform lacks some key strengths that grew the niche
that Windows phones laid claim to, and switched to a home entertainment,
multimedia focus to attract another type of user. Simultaneously, they have further locked down
the platform, making it more like the iPhone, and made the marketplace less developer-friendly. You don’t have to Google
much to learn that developers are leaving the iPhone and Windows platforms for
Android. It’s the third-party application developers that make the
operating system, as Windows desktop environment has so clearly illustrated. Non-technical user trends typically follow
technical users by 14 months. Microsoft has less weight than ever to
throw around in the cell phone market today, and the numbers are there to prove
it. With both Microsoft and Apple losing
market share, it doesn’t take a deep thinker to figure out where the BlackBerry users are migrating. All of this adds up to the heir
apparent being Android.
The world I would paint would be one where the same apps with a little
modification would run on the PC and phone.
My expectation of how this picture would be painted would be through
.NET. Concerning WP7, Larry Lieberman,
senior product manager for Microsoft’s Mobile Developer Experience, told eWeek:
“If we’d had more time and resources, we may have been able to do
something in terms of backward compatibility.” Maybe they should take that stance with Windows 8 too, (tic) Everybody knows its that the apps are what make
the platform. They have ceded what advantage they had. There is no precedent for a start-up OS to do well in the presence of another OS that has a lot of great apps as anyone who has attempted to challenge Windows in the desktop market will tell you. Due to Android, the developer community has taken renewed interest in Java, which is similar
to .NET. Java apps will run on any
platform, including Windows.
I, like most other developers, have made a big investment in knowledge and
applications for the Windows environment.
I like the organization, speed, and efficiency, yes you heard right, of the Windows
OS. Nothing with the same functionality of
Windows, comes close to beating Windows, and that comes from a guy who also
administers UNIX servers, and had worked with KDE on the desktop. Without the WP7 sequence of events, I
probably would not have checked out the Android API, their Java development environment, and how
the tools are much better than I expected.
My question to Microsoft is, WHAT are you thinking?
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