Government // Mobile & Wireless
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3/23/2012
10:58 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Angry Birds Shouldn't Seal Your Smartphone Choice

The Internet went into a tizzy when people thought Angry Birds Space wouldn't be available for Windows Phone. This game is big fun, but is it really a must-have app?

This week, Rovio made a new version of its exceedingly popular Angry Birds game available. The new variant, Angry Birds Space, sets the birds-versus-pigs game in a whole new environment and tackles new physics more suited to the setting. I've played it, it's fun.

The game is available to the Android and iOS platforms, but not yet for the Windows Phone platform. When asked, one Rovio exec said that the company didn't plan to make Angry Birds Space for Windows Phone. For a little while, this news caused much hand-wringing about the future of Windows Phone. (Rovio later admitted that a WP7 version is in the works.)

Bloomberg called Rovio's original stance "a blow to Nokia," which is "betting on the Windows Phone operating system to revive its struggling smartphone business." It believes Angry Birds Space's lack of support for Windows Phone will make it harder for Nokia to make its Windows Phones appealing to gamers.

Bloomberg even found an analyst to back it up.

"This is a worrying development for Windows Phone because it suggests that Rovio does not have much confidence in its future," said Nomura analyst Richard Windsor in a report. "As the standard version is already number one on the Windows Phone app store, it gives a strong indication that no one else will expect to be making money writing for this platform either."

[ NASA collaborated in the development of Angry Birds Space. Read Angry Birds Space Mirrors Real Rocket Science. ]

Wow. So, no Angry Birds Space for Windows Phone means other developers don't think they'll make money writing apps for Windows Phone? That's a big leap if you ask me.

Apps are definitely important to each of the smartphone platforms. Just this week, the Windows Phone Marketplace for Mobile surpassed 70,000 applications. While that still pales next to the hundreds of thousands in the iPhone App Store or Google Play Store, it's still a healthy market with plenty of good apps.

I understand the appeal of Angry Birds. It's a neat little game that pretty much anyone can play. However, I think anyone who chooses to adopt a smartphone platform based on the availability of a single application is perhaps not putting their priorities where they ought to be. I opined as much on Twitter Friday morning and was somewhat surprised by the response.

Here's a selection of the tweets sent my way:

If you don't have Angry Birds then you don't have dev support. They even made it 4 Windows & Mac. #NoBuenoForWP7

I chose mine based on the availability of the messages app.. Still bad? :(

I'm with him. How can that be a determining factor for buying a smartphone?

You mean there r other benchmarks! lol! I have 2 agree with u, but must say that I really do love #angrybirds :)

Yeah, but Angry Birds Space HD… that's another story.

agreed. But besides Android and iOS, (and if you want to fudge…BB and WP) what else is there?

You clearly have not tried Laser Bird.

According to the random sampling of people who noticed my tweet and happened to respond, some agree with my theory that a single application should not form the basis for a smartphone purchasing decision. However, plenty of people feel that Angry Birds is an exception.

What do you think? Would you buy a smartphone for a single application? And if so, would that application be a game such as Angry Birds Space?

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Andrew Hornback
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Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/29/2012 | 3:38:10 AM
re: Angry Birds Shouldn't Seal Your Smartphone Choice
And this is exactly the mindset that most developers take into consideration before they start on a project - is it going to be profitable?

Sure, there are folks out there who code for a platform because they love that platform, but that's the exception as opposed to the rule. If you're coding for profit, you code for a platform that has the most appeal - iOS and Android at this point.

Microsoft would need to make a HUGE splash to make a dent in this race - they're staking their future in the mobile market on Windows 8.

Andrew Hornback
InformationWeek Contributor
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/27/2012 | 12:51:58 PM
re: Angry Birds Shouldn't Seal Your Smartphone Choice
imho WP7 has suffered more from a lack of credible hardware platforms more than anything else. I'll (finally) be buying the new Nokia 900 when it releases next month... despite the fact that it lacks a slider keyboard... which is something I really wanted.

Another observation - the market place is full of people that think they are unique and different. However, most are ultimately just trend followers... lemmings if you will... and will grab on to what they think is cool at the "moment". WP7 can therefore boost their sales numbers significantly by plugging into that mindset. It's marketing basics.
YMOM100
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YMOM100,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/27/2012 | 11:37:22 AM
re: Angry Birds Shouldn't Seal Your Smartphone Choice
People and businesses often make purchase decisions based on much weaker arguments, such as "It is from Microsoft!" So potential buyers already making up their minds what they want to do with their new phone (play games) is a good thing.
MakeMoniesOnline
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MakeMoniesOnline,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/25/2012 | 7:05:39 AM
re: Angry Birds Shouldn't Seal Your Smartphone Choice
Angry Birds is a terrible game made by an immoral company that puts ads in paid games and gives you half a shitty game, and makes you pay for more levels through in app purchases.
ricegf
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ricegf,
User Rank: Guru
3/24/2012 | 11:37:06 PM
re: Angry Birds Shouldn't Seal Your Smartphone Choice
An even bigger problem is sales *trends* - Windows continues to lose what little market share they have left - as Android and iOS continue to gain market share. Based on the raw smartphone data, you'd want to develop for Symbian, Blackberry, and even webOS before Windows.

Of course, if Microsoft throws a billion dollars your way as they did with Nokia, you might reconsider...
melgross
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melgross,
User Rank: Ninja
3/24/2012 | 5:40:57 PM
re: Angry Birds Shouldn't Seal Your Smartphone Choice
How about almost total lack of credible sales numbers? It's been estimated that WP7 has about a 1.25% marketshare. That should do it for most developers. Why bother?

Developing software is a chicken and egg problem. Who goes first? So, if the platform is failing to sell, should a developer spend time and money in the hope that perhaps their app will help to get things going, or should they wait until things do get going, if they ever do?

Tough decision. But meanwhile they could be making pretty good money somewhere else.
melgross
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melgross,
User Rank: Ninja
3/24/2012 | 5:35:41 PM
re: Angry Birds Shouldn't Seal Your Smartphone Choice
Ah, you're missing the point, even though you had it in your article. If the most popular mobile game ever isn't doing well enough on WP7 for the maker to be seriously looking to put their new version on it, then as has been stated, tther developers may think the same thing, and stay away.

As for quality apps, I've seen the WP7 apps several times as being described as generally of poor quality, with just a few gems. That's not a good sign.

But then, why should developers rush to this platform? It's not selling in credible numbers yet. Until, and even if it does, it will be far more profitable to develop for iOS, and even Android. Why waste their time on RIM and WP7?
Andrew Hornback
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Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/24/2012 | 4:52:44 PM
re: Angry Birds Shouldn't Seal Your Smartphone Choice
The idea that someone would choose their mobile device based on the availability of a game is absurd - but, I guess there are folks out there who actually will do that sort of thing.

Mobile technology has been highly consumerized over the past few years. I can remember when people chose a mobile platform based on messaging capabilities or web browsing.

Going to the analyst's comment about how developers are going to abandon the Windows Mobile platform because of Rovio's decision not to develop for it - I fail to see the logic that would qualify that leap. So, what exactly is a valid reason for abandoning a mobile platform?

1) Lack of reliability - RIM is seeing this happen before their eyes
2) Lack of manufacturer support - Palm/HP's on-again/off-again relationship with webOS

I don't see Windows Mobile on there (yet).

Andrew Hornback
InformationWeek Contributor
Chalicothere
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Chalicothere,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/24/2012 | 1:51:48 PM
re: Angry Birds Shouldn't Seal Your Smartphone Choice
The only people interested in this story are probably too busy weaseling extra money out of their trust funds to actually read it.
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