Microsoft's app storefront offers 8,000 titles compared to the App Store's approximately 350,000 and Android's 200,000. That's a long way to catch up. But new data from app advertising and analytics firm Flurry suggests developers are giving the thumbs up to the Nokia-Microsoft pact in the form of new application starts for Windows Phone 7 last week.
The company periodically checks new app starts within its system as a way of gauging support for a given platform. A new project start is recorded when a developer adds Flurry's software development kit to its pre-release application. Some 38,000 companies have adopted its analytics software to date.
With speculation heating up earlier in the week about the Nokia and Microsoft deal capped by the formal announcement Friday, Flurry measured a 66% jump in Windows Phone 7 project starts. But since the firm had only begun to track support for the Microsoft platform five weeks ago, it compared that data to developer uptake of Android and BlackBerry during the first five weeks each of those operating systems hit Flurry's radar.
It found the relative growth of Windows Phone 7 and Android app starts during that period to increase steadily, although WP7 shot ahead in the fifth week in connection with the Nokia-Microsoft partnership.
"From Flurry's point of view, this week's spike in Windows Phone 7 developer activity shows that developers not only believe Nokia has given Microsoft Windows Phone7 a shot in the arm, but also that Nokia and Microsoft together can build a viable ecosystem," stated a Saturday blog post on the company's site.
Despite rising costs to build for multiple platforms, Flurry argues that developers "continue to support a multi-platform world, where they believe real business opportunity exists." That apparently doesn't include BlackBerry. In contrast to Windows Phone 7 and Android, support for the Research in Motion platform trailed off during the same period.
"It appears that developers voted down BlackBerry as a viable third contender to Apple and Google in the first five weeks of Flurry's support. Months later, the market proved these developers right," stated the Flurry blog post. That viable third contender is what Nokia and Microsoft want to be in the smartphone race.
Under their agreement, Nokia's Windows Phone devices will support existing Windows Phone applications, while existing Nokia developers will be able to create apps for the platform. "In simplest terms, this alliance can dramatically increase the customer base for Windows Phones, and, by extension, your apps and games," wrote Microsoft's Matt Bencke in a post on the Windows Phone Developer blog on Friday.
In particular, Nokia has operating billing agreements in more than 190 markets to make it easier for people to buy Windows Phone apps in countries with low credit card use. While the Windows Marketplace will be combined with Nokia's Ovi Store, Bencke noted that Microsoft "will have more details to share about marketplace strategy in the future." For the now, the goal is clear: build more Windows Phone apps.