The last few months have seen people complaining about the lack of "official" apps in the Windows Phone marketplace. In fact a couple of months ago I wrote about this very thing here and if we really needed these official apps or could get by with third-party solutions.
Recently a list of "Top 100 Mobile Apps" crossed my desk and it was curious. 40 iPhone apps, 40 Android apps, 10 WP7 apps, and 10 BlackBerry apps. Really? 10 for WP7? So I wondered if the media was just playing this up and maybe continuing to do what I think most vendors are doing which is treating Windows Phone as the red-headed step-child you keep in the basement while all along there's nothing wrong with them.
I put together the list and went digging to see how many of the top 40 iOS and Android apps were also on the Windows Phone platform (sorry BlackBerry, you should just shut your doors right now). Here's the results. Note, these are all *free* apps. There might be other pay apps that have official representation across all mobile devices, I just chose to hunt these ones down because I'm cheap.
In the top 40, I easily plucked out 20 that had official apps on all three platforms. These were: Amazon Mobile, ESPN Score Centre, Evernote, Facebook, Foursquare, Google Search, IMDB, Kindle, Shazam, Skype (yes, I know, in beta on WP7), SlackerRadio, The Weather Channel, TripIt, Twitter, Yelp, Flixster, Netflix, TuneIn Radio, Dictionary.com, Angry Birds, and Groupon.
Hey, that's pretty good IMHO. 20 or so apps, all free, and all fully functional and supported (and in some cases, even better looking on the Windows Phone platform than the other platforms).
A dozen or so more apps had official apps on some platforms but not all, so yes, there are gaps here. Here's a rundown of the hangers-on:
Adobe Photoshop Express
This looks great on the iOS platform and there's even an official version on droid. Hope Adobe brings this to WP7. There are other photo editing programs though if you go looking (maybe we can get Paint.NET to be ported to the phone?)
A few apps offer news feeds but nothing official on the Windows Phone. The feeds are good but without video this app needs some WP7 love.
Again Windows Phone looses out here with no official app. There are a few third party ones that will help you along and offer most of the functionality that you need but no integration that an official app might bring.
Droid seems to be the trailer here as there are apps for it but nothing official (from what I can tell). Both iOS and WP7 have them.
It's sad with Flipboard as it's such a great newsreader. The only offiical app is for iOS but frankly the iPhone version looks horrible so without a tablet the experience here isn't that hot. Maybe with WP8. Currently there's nothing even remotely similar to this on the other platforms.
Is anyone still using this? No official app for WP7 but some clones. Apparently there's no API so people are just screen scraping. Ugh.
This app has all kinds of buzz and a lot of votes on the application requests site. Official apps for iOS and droid. No WP7 love (yet).
Quite a few TED apps on WP7 but nothing official. I think the third party ones suffice and some are pretty nice looking, taking advantage of the Metro interface and making for a good show.
There's a third party app on WP7 here but nothing official. It seems to contain all the same information and functionality the official apps do so not sure if an official one is needed but its here for inclusion.
The other apps in the top 40 were either very specific to the platform (for example all three of them have a "Find my Phone" app). There are others that are missing out on the WP7 platform like ooVoo, Words With Friends, and some of the Google apps (Google Voice for example). Since you can integrate your GMail account right into the Windows Phone (via linked inboxes) I'm not sure if there's a need for an official GMail app here.
Looking at the numbers Windows Phone still gets the worst of the deal here with half a dozen highly popular "offical" apps that exist on the other mobile platforms and in some cases, nothing even remotely similar to the official app to compare. This doesn't include things like Instagram, PInterest, and others (don't get me started on those).
Still, with over 20+ highly popular free apps all represented on all three mobile platforms I don't think it's a bad place to be in. The Windows Phone platform could get a little more love from the vendors missing here, or at least open up your APIs so the third party crowd can step in and take up the slack.
P.S. these are just my observations and I might have got a few items wrong. Feel free to chime in with missing or incorrect information. I am after all human. Well, most of me is.