Microsoft gives developers (90pc of) what they want with Windows Phone 8 SDK

31 Oct 2012

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer discusses Windows Phone 8 at the launch in San Francisco, California

During a keynote address at its Build developer conference, Microsoft introduced the Windows Phone 8 Developer Platform with the release of Windows Phone SDK 8.0 and a new Dev Centre, as the company tries to get more developers interested in creating apps and services for its mobile platform.

Windows Phone SDK 8.0 will help developers to build apps and games for Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 7.5. To date, the Windows Phone platform has struggled to attract developers to the same level that Android and iOS have succeeded in doing so; but, in responding to the requests of developers, Microsoft hopes to change that.

According to Microsoft, the new SDK includes 90pc of the features developers were demanding the most, including native code, in-app purchasing, and easier ways to reuse and port code.

It also comes with the new Windows Phone 8 features revealed on Monday: enhanced Live Tiles, Lenses, NFC support, and custom app notification and wallpaper on the lock screen.

Cross-platform appeal

Windows Phone 8 shares a common core with Windows 8, meaning developers can target their efforts across both platforms and multiple devices using common APIs. By Microsoft’s estimate, this will be a market of about 500m units by next year.

Microsoft is also hopeful for an increased market share for Windows Phone thanks to the new platform, plus the expansion of compatible devices and the Windows Phone Store to 191 markets.

Enough to drive interest?

The new Dev Centre is now open for Windows Phone 8 app submissions and Microsoft also took the opportunity at Build to announce a number of new partners – expanding the Windows Phone developer ecosystem, and offering developers more resources to help them build and port apps quickly and easily.

For a limited time, developers can register for a Dev Centre account for US$8 (a 92pc drop on the usual price). All in all, Microsoft badly needs to build interest among developers for both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. Though the Windows Store has made great strides to reach 120,000 apps, it still trails far behind the 700,000 available on Google Play and the iTunes App Store.

Microsoft’s Build conference continues until 2 November in Redmond, Washington, and those interested can watch it live or catch up on sessions via Channel 9.

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic