Windows Phone Developer ecosystem picking up in Belgium

I Love Windows PhoneSince the introduction of Windows Phone 7 end of October we’ve seen a steady uptake of the platform by developers worldwide. With more than 28.000 registered developers, 8000 apps and games (roughly 500+ newly published apps and games per week) and thousands in the make, the platform is growing rapidly in popularity.

In Belgium we’ve seen a growing enthusiasm amongst developers to port exiting apps and exclusively build apps for the Windows phone platform. With 300 registered developers (60 companies and 240 individuals) we’re good for 80 published applications and games from Belgium, with hundreds more in development and to be released in the next coming months.

This developer enthusiasm is driven by 3 factors:

  • Building Windows phone applications is easy using the free tools that include everything you need to get started right away, including things like project templates and a Windows Phone emulator. It’s very easy to use Expression Blend to create applications without ever writing a single line of code.
  • The tools and technologies being used for Windows Phone are familiar for thousands of developers in Belgium and builds on the strengths of the popular and ubiquitous .NET platform. The free Windows Phone Developer Tools contain Visual Studio 2010 for developing code, Expression 4 for designing the user experience, Silverlight as the application runtime and the XNA Framework for developing games. The Windows Phone Developer Tools have been downloaded more than a million times.
  • Many new Windows Phone developers have experiences with other platforms. We’ve been compiling tools and guidance to help developers who have been creating phone applications on various platforms, ramp up quickly on the Windows Phone 7 platform. The Windows Phone interoperability site addresses scenarios aiming to provide tools and guidance to help developers who are building applications for multiple platforms.

A few examples of Belgian apps and app builders:

  • In the game category we have a number of interesting local publishers with Belle Productions, who won the local Windows Phone developer contest with their D-Blocs game; Fishing Cactus the fast growing game development studio out of Mons has ported their popular Shift2; Happy Kudde Games a game publisher already have 4 of their games published; Interesting for Sudoku players is the Suduko Brain, a solver that finds a solution for even the hardest levels;
  • In the category entertainment Appstrakt has published their Mobile TV guide MijnTVgids that is very handy for the Flemish & Dutch channels; Sagolas (alias of Matthieu Vandenhende) is a student with a passion for IT published a nice set of Horoscope and some geek apps;
  • In the more serious/Business oriented apps Virtual Remote has published a super nice Remote Control for PowerPoint that turns your Windows Phone into a high end presenter aid and they have a similar app for Windows media center; Vision Smarts have Pic2shop ready the barcode scanner that searches for the cheapest point of sale ; Nomadesk is close to publishing its Windows Phone client for their document cloud storage; Le Conjugueur is the best French verbs conjugate aid and a great help to have with you on mobile; Agilys is about to publish an innovative shopping assistant for brands & distributors helping consumers to make purchases in a more informed manner; Simon Debusschere with Metro Bruxellois/Brussel Metro has released a great underground travel assistant
  • To illustrate that Windows Phone is not just another consumer device, but ideal for all end-users with both personal (consumer) & professional needs. We have great Belgian examples: At the launch of Dynamics CRM Online RealDolmen showed their Windows Phone integration including Bing Maps; Delaware Consulting offers similar custom integration for its customers.

Microsoft Innovation Center

From March to May 2011, the MIC launches second wave of calls for projects on Windows 7 Phone to encourage any developer, student or business to develop one or more applications in WP7. The MIC supports candidates in developing their projects by providing free training, coaching, visibility and offering the possibility of obtaining low cost Phones for development purposes. In this call for project the priority will be given to applicants who submit project ideas on the "culture and tourism" theme. Application mails can be send to David Hernie.

Interesting links: