Angry Birds Space IS coming to Windows Phone! Angry Birds Space IS NOT coming to Windows Phone! The destination of the irritated avians has been much discussed this week. Despite the hullabaloo it is confirmed that Rovio will make their 10M download strong game available on Windows Phone. But the tenor of the conversation around Angry Birds continues to cast Windows Phone as a second thought to iOS and Android. Supporting these platforms at launch was essential to Rovio while Windows was secondary.
Microsoft’s mission is to make certain that Windows Phone rises into the echelon of platforms developers must support. So far, Microsoft has made important strides in its mission. Developers showed very high enthusiasm for the platform in our developer survey last year; Developer Survey Says: We believe in Windows Phone and love the iPad. Early data from our survey currently in the field has developers saying that Nokia’s Lumia launch has further cemented their interest in the platform.
But despite these improvements in perception Microsoft and Nokia must do more than growing the installed base of devices. So, on Monday March 26th Nokia and Microsoft announced the formation of the AppCampus at Finland’s Aalto University. The program has been endowed by its creators with $25M to accomplish its mission of helping developers boldly build metro apps that no one has built before.
Since partnering with Microsoft, Nokia has been working with local developers to help them succeed on Windows Phone. Now Microsoft and Nokia are launching the next step in developer support with AppCampus. But AppCampus is not only meant to raise awareness it is meant to help developers overcome a big obstacle which happens to be the biggest differentiation for Windows Phone – The Metro UI. Many users, me included are fans of the user interface Microsoft has introduced. It is not surprising then that Microsoft wants the Metro UI at the core of each app.
In Android and iOS apps are coded in C++, whereas for Windows Phone C# is the required language, adding another hurdle. Thus, developers cannot simply port apps from Android or iOS. Instead, developers must re-think their apps from the ground up to take advantage of Windows Phone while also learning and perfecting the C# programming language. And re-thinking, re-coding and re-distributing takes time. If Microsoft can help developers speed up the process they can get more metro apps into the marketplace that will distinguish the platform. Nokia will benefits through supporting the program by possibly getting early exclusive access to apps. And developers stand to benefit from the extra support and expertise available through the program.
AppCampus should be the beginning of enhanced developer support. Programs like the iFund have done wonders to promote innovation in app development and Microsoft and Nokia should consider a similar offering to spur development further. For now though, AppCampus will be a reminder of Microsoft and Nokia’s commitment to the platform while serving as a vehicle to improve developer relations.