More Windows Phone 8 sillyness.

I’ve been watching the Windows Phone 8 conversation with great interest. I say conversation, but it has been kind of one sided. That said, Todd Brix who posted the most recent post (12 Sept) on the WP development blog has chimed in on the comments following the post. Here is a copy of what he commented:

I wanted to respond to those of you who are frustrated about the fact that we haven’t publicly released the Windows Phone 8 SDK. This year we’ve taken the approach of unveiling the new features of the OS as close to device availability as possible.  Unfortunately we can’t release the SDK without revealing all of the new features and capabilities.  I recognize this is a departure from how we’ve operated in years past and some of you are questioning our thinking.  That’s ok – let me give you a little more to consider.

Windows Phone 8 was designed to run the apps written with the Windows Phone 7 SDK which is available today.  Right now and for most devs the high-volume app development opportunity remains on the Windows Phone 7 SDK because these apps will run on phones available later this year, regardless of what OS version is on the phone.  If you want to help make sure your Windows Phone 7 app runs well on Windows Phone 8, when it is released, you’ll want to take a look at the Sept 12th post from Andrew Whitechapel . And while I know you want to test your app in our new emulator, the reality is that you will also want to do final testing with Windows Phone 8 devices which are not yet in market.

There are also devs who want to jump on new Windows Phone 8 technologies before anyone has bought a device, which is fantastic.  This is why we’re doing the early Preview Program. For those who don’t get the Windows Phone 8 SDK via the program, we will get the final SDK out in time for you to capitalize on the wave of new devices.

Thanks for your interest in Windows Phone!

Todd makes several good points in his comment:

  1. The biggest opportunity right now for Windows Phone developers is the 7.x generation of devices.
  2. They can’t release the Windows Phone 8 SDK without developers figuring out what the platform has on offer.

Unfortunately, the comment still completely misses the point. Firstly, even if I am going to target Windows Phone 7.x generation devices, I still want to work within the latest version of Microsoft’s IDE. Developers don’t just write Windows Phone applications, they build the backends which support those applications and when your vendor doesn’t continually bring their SDKs up to a level where you can use a single IDE they are effectively introducing a productivity burden. I want an updated SDK which allows me to use Visual Studio 2012, I’m actually less concerned about the Windows Phone 8 specifics right now.

The other point, which has been raised by others is that by sharing the SDK with some developers, they are effectively sharing the SDK with all developers. We are already hearing rumours about WP8 devices being found in the wild. It is possible that these are just unfounded rumours, but it definitely appears like they have RTM’d the operating system. Sorry guys – you can’t contain this stuff it will leak out. Developers will be pissed if they are the last to know – it is a great way to completely screw an product eco-system and fill it with ill-will.

So where are we after my previous post? Nowhere. I had hoped that Microsoft would quickly switch strategies and open up access to the SDK as soon as it was ready (so no super secret preview program). That is looking less and less likely now. Not only that, but it appears that Microsoft is suggesting that we should be happy and target the mobile platform with the most opportunity (see highlighted second in Todd’s comment). Fair enough – here are some statistics for you to consider (according to the Mobile Mix report):

  • 46% Android
  • 34% iPhone
  • 15% BlackBerry
  • 4% Windows
  • 1% Symbian

Time to leap to action! Go and download the Android SDK and the iOS SDK.

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