Last May I wrote about deeper apps and how developers that used to prototype on Nokia S60 have now moved to Android as the prototyping platform of choice. I have seen this trend deepen and now, noone asks for a S60 proof of concept. The innovator’s choice of platform is important because it’s where the new things happen and represents the platform having tomorrow’s greatest apps.
In moving to Windows Phone, Nokia have crucially lost these experimenting developers and companies. Windows Phone is far less capable for experimentation even if developers could have been persuaded to move across through some sort of loyalty to Nokia. Nokia now have an uphill struggle convincing developers that Windows Phone is the innovator’s choice.
From the Microsoft side, early developers on WP7, who experienced WP7’s very small market share, also need to be convinced to enhance their apps to take advantage of Mango. It’s all a very hard sell.
Part of the problem is that Nokia and Microsoft are courting big brands rather than garage developers. They think that if the large brands create apps for the platform then people will buy the phones and other developers will also think that development is worthwhile. However, most of the apps created by these brands might as well be on web sites. They are just information. We have a dumbed down Windows Phone OS (compared to S60 and Windows Mobile) and dumbed down apps.
I have previously said that Nokia should be looking beyond the ‘here and now’ and not be trying to play catch up with Android and iOS. Tomorrow’s devices are more important with new input methods and form factors. Tomorrow’s software and developers are also important and Nokia (and Microsoft) should be trying to be the innovator’s choice rather than the big brand’s choice.