Microsoft says Windows Phone app reviewers will be working into the holidays to deal with a flood of new app submissions to the Windows Phone Store, but at least one major company isn't buying into the Windows Phone hype. “Since the launch of Windows Phone 8 in late October, we are experiencing a sustained 40 percent increase in Windows Phone app submissions,” the company said in a blog post. Microsoft says it will close on December 24 and 25, and January 1 but remain open the rest of the holiday season to keep its approval turnaround time to five days for app submissions.
While Microsoft's announcement was directed at app developers, it suggests Windows Phone users can expect to see more apps hitting the Windows Phone Store in the coming weeks. That does not appear to be same story for the Windows Store, Microsoft's tablet and PC app store built into Windows 8. The software maker said in a separate blog post that the Windows Store team would have a reduced staff between December 22 and January 1. Windows 8 does not appear to be experiencing the same flood of apps as the Windows Phone Store supposedly is. The Windows Store app count surpassed 20,000 in late November.
It's not clear if the Windows Phone Store is experiencing a higher volume of app submissions because of an effort by Microsoft to reach out to developers or if more developers are willing to bet on Windows Phone than the fledgling tablet interface on Windows 8.
Whatever the reason for the Windows Phone app uptick, we'll have to see if the apps will be high-quality popular apps from services like Facebook and Dropbox or just more drek such as fart sounds, wallpaper catalogs and other novelty apps.
Google says no
Even though the Windows Phone Store is experiencing a rise in developer interest, Google says it has no plans for making business apps such as Gmail or Google Drive for Windows 8 or Window Phone, according to a report by V3.
“We are very careful about where we invest and will go where the users are but they are not on Windows Phone or Windows 8," Clay Bavor, Google's product management director for Google Apps, told V3. So far, Google has only released its search app for Windows Phone and Windows 8, as well as a version of Chrome for Windows 8.
Google told PCWorld that "Our goal is to be able to offer our users a seamless app experience across all platforms...We're always evaluating different platforms, but have no detailed plans to share at this time."
While Google may blame user adoption for its reluctance to produce apps for Windows Phone and Windows 8, the search giant has a history of ignoring platforms other than its own Android mobile OS. Google famously held back many Maps services from iOS such as turn-by-turn navigation and real-time traffic conditions, prompting Apple to develop its own mapping solution. The search giant was also criticized for producing a very poor Gmail app for iOS in November 2011. Only recently has Google paid more serious attention to iOS with quality apps such as Google+, YouTube,Maps, and an improved version of Gmail.
Like Apple, Microsoft is also a major competitor to Google in the mobile space with Windows Phone taking on Android. And Microsoft Office, the most dominant office suite in use today, dwarfs the popularity of Google Docs. So Google is hardly an honest broker of information when it comes to Microsoft's platform.
But the future for Microsoft's new mobile and tablet-style efforts are still unclear, so it's not unreasonable for some mobile app developers to be taking a wait-and-see approach with Windows. Windows 8 is still in its infancy, and preliminary data suggest sales for Microsoft's PC/tablet OS are weak. The holiday shopping season, however, may change that.
Windows Phone 7 is widely acknowledged as a flop. But, similar to Windows 8, it's still too early to judge whether Windows Phone 8 will suffer the same fate as its predecessor. There are also speculative indications that Windows Phone 8 may be getting a bump in user adoption from the holiday shopping season, according to WMPoweruser.
More users or not, it seems Windows Phone fans hoping to find a wider range of Google offerings in Microsoft's app stores will be disappointed, at least for the foreseeable future.