Though there was very little said during the keynotes about Windows Phone at this year’s Build conference for developers, Microsoft wants to make sure developers don’t forget about it.
The company is announcing a limited-time registration fee for developers who want to create apps for Windows Phone. For the next 60 days, the annual registration fee for Dev Center is being lowered to $19 (down from the usual $99). More details on that are available on the official blog post.
Microsoft has said that the number of apps in the Windows Phone Store now numbers around 160,000 and that the app download volume is up significantly since Windows Phone 8 launched in October. Todd Brix, general manager of Windows Phone app and developer platform, said that volume is now at about 200 million transactions a month. He also said that revenue to developers has gone up twice since that launch, though he declined to give a specific revenue figure.
He said that growth is driven in part by an increase in shipments, with the growth in Windows Phone shipments increasing six times faster than shipments in smartphones overall. Microsoft has also invested a lot in building out payment instrument support, enabling users who don’t have credit cards to make purchases via their smartphones — something that’s important in emerging countries, Brix said.
Windows Phone still has only a tiny share of the world’s smartphone market but it appears it’s slowly breaking through.
Research firm IDC said that in the first quarter of this year, Windows Phone’s worldwide shipment market share stood at 3.2 percent — up from 2 percent first quarter last year. That was enough to vault it into third place in operating systems, behind Android and iOS and ahead of BlackBerry.
For developers who are still leery of developing for the Windows Phone ecosystem because the volume of users isn’t as high as for iOS or Android, Brix had this to say: “You have to look at the trajectory of where the opportunities are. When you have a growing platform that’s growing in market share, in downloads and revenue — that’s a market where you have an opportunity where you can break through and establish a brand.”