Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Why I'm abandoning Windows Phone development and moving to Android

I'm a fan of Microsoft. I believe the company is filled with driven, bright, creative, people who are passionate about the technology they create and use. I've gotten behind Microsoft on just about every business initiative they've pushed, up to and including Windows 7. I mean every one - including Vista. But the one initiative I simply can't get behind is their new push to 'revolutionize the phone' with their upcoming Windows Phone 7.

I've been a Windows and Windows Mobile developer for years. Each iteration of the software brought new challenges for developers but the opportunities they presented always outweighed the pain it required to make the necessary changes. Making those changes always pushed developers to higher revenue, newer markets, and more interesting applications. Unfortunately, such is not the case with the new Windows Phone. Not even close.

From the UI to the development methodology, everything about Windows Phone 7 just feels 'wrong' and I have no desire to watch Microsoft make another painfully public blunder while trying desperately to reach the mobile market. No, I've reached the limit of what I can take and I'm cutting bait for another camp.

Android has just about everything a mobile developer could want: good architecture, clean, well defined coding practices, great hardware, a strong commitment from hardware manufactures, and an incredibly hungry buying public. Anything Android is hot right now and it seems to only be getting hotter. I suspect the platform will catch up to, if not overtake, the iPhone within the next 2 years unless Apple is brilliant and perfect with continued innovations.

With all the positives surrounding Android, it's hard to see why I'd go anywhere else. Sure, I've not worked in Java for about 10 years but it's straightforward enough where I'm sure a week of hacking will bring me up to speed. I'm once again excited to see a situation where the pain is worth the payoff and I'm putting my eggs all in the Android basket.

Will I ever go back to Windows Phone? Maybe. If Microsoft can show that they are brilliantly executing a consumer stratagy that makes sense, if they can do more than wander around the mobile market like a lost puppy looking for a home, I might include Windows Phone in future development. But I have a feeling we're a long way from that happening if what I've seen of WP7 is any indication of the 'state of the art'.

Is this the beginning of my migration away from Microsoft? I've long said the only thing that kept me on Windows was that I could not develop Windows Mobile applications on Linux. With that barriar gone, I really have no reason to stay on the platform anymore. I've already replaced Vista with Ubuntu on my laptop and am using Monodevelop to develop both Windows and Linux desktop software. With a new focus on Android development I might, at long last, be able to kiss Windows goodbye for good.

It's been a great ride Microsoft. Prove me wrong, please! Come back strong and standing tall. Kick the living crap out of Android and iPhone and give me a reason to be a believer again. I'm willing to drink the Kool-Aid, I just need a little sweetener in it.


Ravi said...

I do not think the platform is that bad , it might be a breadth of fresh air for some and a jarring effect for others , my Issue is with the 99$ per submission fee , that totally deflated my interest.

kishor said...

Nice. However, considering that I can't even distribute Free apps from the Android Marketplace (I'm in India), I think I'll take my chances with WP7

Jonathan said...

Interesting to read a real developer's thoughts about Windows Phone 7, and not just an opinion from an industry watcher.

Amir said...

Well, Android marketplace sucks in this part of the world as we do not have access to most of paid apps (and even some free ones) by default. Hardware choices are limited (I paid $200 extra to get a N1). I remember the first iteration of Android on G1s and it was completely a Beta phone released into the market. WP7 seems much more ready than that. To have a glance at the cons, it obviously needs more support for socket, Bluetooth, and other APIs.

jonathan said...

"Windows Phone 7 just feels 'wrong'". Any details? Have you tried developing anything for it yet? Do you dislike SilverLight? Is that what you mean?

I can't say I'm seeing any meat here; I just end up with more questions after reading your post. Why is the iOS platform not your choice? How do you feel about Android having a more difficult time getting apps actually on end-users' devices (e.g., carriers keeping apps out, etc.)?

Sachin Palewar said...

I personally think Windows Mobile is still a good choice for enterprises. I am talking about Sales Force/Field Force apps. I think MS should really keep investing and improving Windows Mobile.

They can develop Windows Phone as a different consumer oriented platform to compete with Android/iPhone.

@Ravi $99 fee is not per submission, its annual fee for developer program similar to iPhone program. You need to pay $99 per yr and you can submit as many apps as you like.

@Kishor I think you can distribute free apps on the Android Market. That page does not list India, so it just means that users from India may not be able to download your app. But users from countries listed there should be able to download your app.

You can not sell paid apps being in India though.