Microsoft’s app store for Windows Phone 7 devices now hosts more than 40,000 applications, according to unofficial figures from the All About Windows Phone website, which uses a custom tracking system. The figures show that some 165 apps are added every day to the Windows Phone Marketplace, putting the store on track to reach the 50,000 mark sometime in January.
Almost 11,000 apps were submitted to the store in the past 90 days alone and almost 5000 were added in the past month. More than 10,000 of the newly submitted apps come from different publishers, indicating Microsoft’s mobile platform is starting to gain developer traction. Out of the 40,198 apps published in the Marketplace, the stats shows just over 5500 are no longer available, either removed by Microsoft or the publisher.
Most of the apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace are games (15 percent), followed by books and reference (15 percent), productivity tools (14 percent), and entertainment (13 percent). Around 68 percent of these apps are free.
Apple, Android Still Rule App Stores
While Microsoft’s 40,000 apps milestone is no small effort, the Windows Phone Marketplace is still a shrimp compared to the giants in the mobile arena. Apple’s App Store is the largest, home to more than 500,000 apps, while Google’s Android Market offers some 400,000 apps. Microsoft’s app store also has some notable omissions, such as Skype (available for iOS and Android), which the company recently acquired.
Even though Microsoft’s App Store can’t match competing stores title by title, you will be able to find most popular app titles (or an equivalent) – as I discovered when I looked into app stores earlier this year. Since then, with Microsoft’s app store selection growing, you can find even more of the popular titles available for Windows phones, even though the total number of apps is smaller than other app stores.
It looks as though Microsoft’s strategy is to not simply offer a lot of third-party apps, but to bake some of the popular ones into its own operating system. As my colleague Tony Bradley found in his 30 days with Windows Phone 7 Mango, many of the functions that iOS users seek in third-party apps, such as productivity apps, are integrated into the Windows Phone OS. Windows Phone 7 has its own Office suite, and Mango integrates song search (similar to Shazam), local search (similar to many "around me" apps) as Local Scout, and Facebook and Twitter straight into the People Hub.
In my review of the Nokia Lumia 800, the latest Windows Phone 7 device, I found that I still needed several third-party apps to have a full-fledged experience with the platform. For example, you will still need to download Adobe Reader to view PDF files, and if you want to go on Google+, which Microsoft reportedly does plan to integrate into the People Hub, you won’t find an app in the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace.