Microsoft initially planned to push for 100,000 apps in stock for the launch of Windows 8. This would have been great, but developers were rather hesitant to jump into the unproven new interface. As sales pick up and more customers become available, the app selection has begun to rapidly improve. There are now over 35,000 titles available in the store and more are being added every day.
Obviously this falls quite a bit short of the 100,000 mark. In the past month or so, however, nearly 15,000 apps have been added to the store. Over 400 new applications are going up every day. At this rate we’ll be seeing the 50,000 mark by the end of January. That’s assuming there is no increase in submission rates, which might not be a safe assumption to make in itself.
When it debuted, Windows 8 had access to a mere 10,000 apps. That means the increase in selection during the first month was fairly consistent with what we’re seeing in the past month. Given the increased availability of Windows 8 devices, especially those sold thanks to holiday shopping and gift giving, there could be a jump in numbers at least in the short term while developers rush to take advantage of a new set of potential customers.
The big question now is that of whether Microsoft can encourage confidence in their new platform. The WinRT base allows for fairly simple development that can go out to both Windows 8 users and anybody with a Windows Phone 8 device. That’s appealing, but only if the hardware numbers pick up enough to indicate that there are enough users to go around. Windows Phone 8 is already doing better than its predecessor, but it isn’t enough of a draw in and of itself to motivate either customers or developers to switch their entire computing paradigm for consistency.
Once we get some more Windows 8 hardware in consumer hands, and it looks like that will be happening in the near future with some delayed products from a number of manufacturers, it will be easier to predict trends. At the moment the combination of questionable press reviews and a lack of hardware selection make the idea of adoption rather daunting for many users. It’s handy that the Windows Upgrade opportunities are still going on and making it possible to get into the new system for a surprisingly low price, but the important information will be knowledge of how customers are reviewing a variety of devices designed with Windows 8 in mind.
Essentially it’s a circular problem. The more customers come to the platform, the more developers will create software for it. Until there is a decently large selection, however, customers have little reason to switch from their more familiar situations. Microsoft needs to find ways to encourage people on both sides to take a leap of faith. It looks like we’re seeing fairly steady progress at the moment and that’s a good sign for the future growth of the Windows 8 platform.