An Open Letter to Windows Phone Developers: Update Your Apps! [Opinion]

Dear Developers of Windows Phone Applications,

I would like to share a frustration with some of you both big and small, independents and full-blown development houses.  Update your apps for Windows Phone.

As I’m sure you are aware, Microsoft and the respective carriers throughout the world have completed the rollout of the latest update to Windows Phone, version 7.5 or “Mango”.  This update brings a host of new features and functionality to the platform including multitasking, improved live tile support and overall user functionality improvements.  It’s a big step in the right direction for Microsoft.

But now months later as I look through the Windows Phone Marketplace I find apps and reviews of those apps that point out apps that either do not work well with Mango or work but do not support the new features.  This is frustrating to say the very least.  I’ll give all of you a great example.  Netflix.  Sorry Netflix, you just happened to be the last app I tried and ran into a problem so you drew the lucky straw.  The Netflix app was released to the Marketplace on October 18, 2010 and currently sits at version 1.6.  The last update was early this year.  That means that you don’t support multitasking.  What does that mean?  If I go to another app when I’m watching a moving on Netflix, your app starts me back at the beginning of my movie.  Two hours and fifteen minutes into The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, this becomes rather irritating.  Trust me.

But before all of you developers point and laugh at Nextflix, many of you are in the same position.  Tripit, or more accurately your parent company Concur.  Really?  Your app is so buggy in Mango that the only way you can get it to work is to lower the complexity of your password on Tripit.  That is not a viable answer thank you very much.

DirectTV?  Listening?

There are countless others in the Marketplace that are in desperate need of updating.  Interestingly I do not see this problem in the iTunes app store.  Seems you are all able to update your apps on that platform.  Which may mean that Microsoft needs to be a little more draconian to get updates done?  Not sure but I’m betting Apple is far less tolerant of this than Microsoft.

Speaking of Microsoft.  I recall you purchasing a little company by the name of Skype.  I see Skype on Android and iPhone but… oh, no Windows Phone version.  Seriously?  Don’t tell me it’s the whole not-many-devices-with-front-facing-cameras thing because I’m not buying it.  Somehow Skype didn’t see this as a problem as far back as the iPhone 3G which, oh yeah, didn’t have a front facing camera.

To be fair, some of you have updated your apps to support Mango.  Rowi, great Twitter app fellas.  The updates are awesome and I love your Live Tile.  NextGen Reader, ditto.  Best RSS reader out there I think.  4th & Mayor creator Jeff Wilcox, keep up the great work man.

So developers, time to step up.  Update your apps to support Mango.  You’ll benefit and so will we, those who actually use your apps.

Respectfully,

Clinton

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