It’s no secret that while Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform has potential, it’s going to continue struggling against iOS and Android unless it manages to cajole a decent amount of developers into building apps for its fledgling platform. In order to try and strengthen the ecosystem, the Redmond company has just introduced an all-new dev tool by the name of Windows Phone App Studio. Currently in beta, it allows anybody to create a basic app for Windows Phone — regardless of experience in coding — and although its ease of use means it does carry its fair share of limitations, it could be the software maker’s secret weapon in finally thrusting Windows Phone from its relative obscurity.
Once a developer has begun using the Web-based tool to create an app, they can then sideload them onto a handset and begin the process of testing. Although this is all free of charge, anybody wishing to publish their app to the WP store will be required to pony up the annual Dev Center fee.
It’s great to see Microsoft finally taking some initiative and putting something out there that could have a tangible effect on the future of Windows Phone. Since WP8 was dropped last October along with a fleet of new devices from the likes of HTC and Nokia, the platform has continued to struggle, and despite garnering much praise and acclaim for its intuitive interface and perceived beauty, the two big ecosystems from Google and Apple continue to dominate without relent.
As aforementioned, while the Windows Phone App Studio is a good idea in itself, the quality of apps created using the tool may not meet the standards required of the famously fickle consumer. Then again, restrictions such as this — a mere Web-based drag-and-drop app-making machine — may just bring out a few gems, and it’s often the case that in times of limited resources, some of the greatest minds come through with those truly remarkable end-products.
Still, I would think this service is as much about getting folks interested in, and talking about, the Windows Phone Store, as opposed to filling it with an abundance of apps. At least this way, people can build a personal attachment to the platform by creating very personal apps, and I, for one, believe this should be celebrated.
You can check out the Windows Phone App Studio by heading over to http://apps.windowsstore.com/default.htm