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Windows Apps are Improving, But It’s Still Not Enough

mobile apps
  • On March 15, 2017

When it comes to mobile apps, we all know that Apple and Android dominate the headlines. With more than 3 million downloadable games, utilities and anything else you can image between them, it’s only natural that they get the most attention. However, beyond the glare of these two mediums, Windows Mobile apps have gradually been gaining some traction over the last three years.

In 2014, the combined might of Windows desktop and phone stores was just over 500,000 apps. Of that figure, 340,000 were mobile products. Today, according to Venture Beat’s calculations, the Windows store could now have more than 850,000 apps available for phones and desktops. This calculation is based on Microsoft’s September 2015 statement that it had 669,000 live apps and “hundreds” being added every day.

The Market is Growing – but Not Fast Enough

“Windows Marketplace for Mobile” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Long Zheng

If that’s the case, the store could easily be filled with 850,000 offerings. What’s more, with Windows now available on more 270 million devices (desktop and mobile), there’s every chance many of these apps have been downloaded millions of time. In fact, as if we needed any more convincing that Windows is a bigger player in the mobile market than people assume, the company itself has said that Office has been downloaded 340 million times on iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

Basically, if you’re looking for apps, Windows is the fastest growing player in town. However, if the platform is really going to start rivaling iOS and Android in terms of breadth and depth it needs to embrace new industries and genres. For example, iGaming has taken the idea of mobile casinos and run with it over the last five years. Today, players who join Mr Green, a mobile-friendly online casino, can download iOS and Android apps.

In addition to offering video slots such as Starburst and exclusive games like Mr Green Moonlight, the operator’s apps offer enhanced features such as Touch ID logins. Through this combination of games and innovations, Mr Green’s mobile apps earned them the 2016 Gaming Awards for Most Innovative App. However, as successful as these apps have been, Windows Mobile users have to access the provider via its optimized website rather than through a dedicated app.

Developers Can’t Continue to Ignore Certain Issues

“Cross platform applications” (CC BY 2.0) by Tsahi Levent-Levi

Now, that’s not to say the experience is any less enjoyable, but there is clear evidence that casino gaming via an app is more desirable. With the iOS and Android apps offering extras forms of entertainment, it seems as though Windows is missing out. Of course, individual operators must play some part in the process of bringing new content to the medium, but it’s up to Windows to encourage it.

Indeed, back in 2014 and 2015, NBC, Pintrest, Bank of American and American Airlines all discontinued their Windows apps because of constant problems. In fact, Microsoft itself removed a batch of MSN products as well as the Photosynth app from the store. Part of the problem back then was the disconnect between Windows desktop and mobile in terms of updates. Although linked, the development teams couldn’t seem to sync up their calendars.

This, coupled with a seeming lack of interest from Microsoft, caused companies to focus fewer resources on the platform. Today, however, things have clearly turned a corner in terms of users. Not only that, but app numbers are on the increase and the new unified store seems to have ironed some of the previous issues with stability. However, as we’ve shown, more needs to be done. Not having provisions in growing areas of interest such as mobile iGaming isn’t helping Windows Phones in the race against Android and iOS.

Yes, things are looking better for Windows mobile apps, but it seems in some instances there’s still a long way to go.