The report was created by a third-party consulting group, and it focuses on an iPhone app called Amplitude, which renders audible recordings into graphical displays. Microsoft said this was an ideal app for the study because it's the type of high-quality app the company is hoping to have in its upcoming Windows Marketplace for Mobile.
"It combines a rich user interface with features such as alpha blending and transparency with specific audio and sound requirements, which makes it challenging to port the app but, at the same time, provides a number of helpful learning experiences," said Constanze Roman, a Windows Mobile community team manager, in a blog post.
Mobile apps have been around for years at places like Handango, but the field really came to the forefront over the last year with Apple's App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The virtual store has raised consumer awareness of what people can do with smartphones, and Apple customers have downloaded more than 1.5 billion programs already. Developers are also flocking to the store to try and capitalize on this attention, and the App Store has more than 65,000 apps in it.
Microsoft is a bit behind the competitors, as Research In Motion, Nokia, Android, and Palm have all rolled out ways for consumers to browse, buy, download, and install apps on the handset.
Microsoft's store is not expected until the fourth quarter when it rolls out Windows Mobile 6.5, and the company is hoping its carrier-billing feature will give it an advantage over some of the competition. Additionally, Microsoft will enable older versions of Windows Mobile to access the store, which means developers will have a target audience of up to 30 million smartphone users.
What other ways should Microsoft change? InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on overhauling Microsoft. Download the report here (registration required).