Friday, November 22, 2013

Being a successful mobile developer - Windows Phone, Marketing & Xamarin


Why Windows Phone?

This is not a new question, but a question or topic that I get involved a lot.  Why do you have a Windows Phone? Why do you build apps for that platform? You should be learning Java and Objective C and putting your apps on iOS and Android; that's where the users are.

That is the message from the media, family, tech pundits and co-workers. And the numbers say that as well; the latest report shows that Android holds a ridiculous global market share of 80%, Apple with 12% and Windows Phone at 4% respectively.  So why should I build an app for Windows Phone first?

Its about visibility.


Apple has more than 1 million apps on the iOS platform and Android just over 800,000. It is virtually impossible without spending an enormous amount of time, money and or energy getting an app exposure to the user base.  However, through programs like Nokia's DVLUP you can manage to get very visibility in the marketplace, increased reviews and downloads and through the combination of all of these. Revenue will begin to climb. Now, there is some learning to be done by the developer when it comes to monetizing your app; I won't go into the various strategies as there have been many workshops/articles/blogs published so definitely look into those.

Building a Brand / Marketing

Build it and they will come is not a marketing campaign strategy! I'm pretty involved in the community and talk with a lot of developers, read quite a few email and message board threads about how they have a new app for this or that...please review, download etc.  But that is the last place I see it ever mentioned.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Build a Facebook Fan Page - it's free
  • Azure Websites - every subscriber gets 10 free site, build one for your app
  • Blog about the technology you used in your app, why you chose to do it. 
  • Contact Media outlets about your app -,
  • Use social media to your advantage - twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram (yes) & learn what a hashtag (#) is and use those to your advantage. If you don't know ask a teenager.


Now none of the above will matter if your app is a battleship grey page with black comic sans font. Spend some time on design.  Now I know, not all developers are good designers. Guess what? Not all designers are good developers.  Find a friend who knows Photoshop, team up! There is this really cool online collaboration tool - Team Foundation Service that's free for up to 5 users, collaborate on a project and make it happen.

Build with Other Platforms in Mind - Xamarin

Now that you have a great idea, either put together a great design or found a friend & have a marketing strategy.  Build your app with the correct tools and architecture so when you have Android and iOS users wanting it, you can respond in a reasonable amount of time.

Xamarin and Microsoft have teamed up to bring a closer integration in Visual Studio 2013 to allow you to create native iOS and Android applications (not HTML5 & JavaScript) using C# and Portable Class Libraries. Thus maximizing your code reuse.

Microsoft also just announce full Azure Mobile Services support for Xamarin.

I will be blogging more examples, in the meantime visit and follow @xamarinhq & @jamesmontemagno (Xamarin Developer Evangelist) on twitter.

Please feel free to contact me via twitter @spboyer concerning xamarin, portable class libraries, windows phone development, windows 8 development or anything.

3 comments to “Being a successful mobile developer - Windows Phone, Marketing & Xamarin”

  • December 19, 2013 at 4:51 AM

    I am pretty confused about the stats you have penned down for iOS and Android platform usage worldwide, I will suggest you to check it over, you will get a better idea of the stats.

    By the way I like your point for developing apps for Windows platform, I am a WP user and misses some apps over the store.

  • December 30, 2013 at 4:24 PM
    Shayne Boyer says:

    @Shobhit - the stats I stated are based on mobile device ownership. the site you referenced reports browser usage and may or may not directly reflect the same numbers.

  • March 5, 2014 at 5:02 AM
    andreir says:

    I would mention that you should provide a UserVoice-like service for your app(s).

    This way you have a centralized place for suggestions and bug reports and natural ranking (people will vote for the most wanted features/bugfixes).

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