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Android coding vs WP7 coding -- one developer's conclusions

Microsoft gave its mobile offerings a huge overhaul with Windows Phone 7, putting them on par with phones running iOS or Android in the eyes of many.  All bias aside, I think they have a winner in the works; it's very nice for a Version 1 product.  We all know (whether we agree or not) smartphone platforms are only successful if developers get on board.  Developers only want to get on board if they fell the platform will be successful -- it's a catch-22.  Norwegian developer and consultant Frode "Nilzor" Nilsen decided to take a hands on approach and see the differences in application development between WP7 and Android, to help decide which platform he wanted to focus on.  Hit the break to find out more. [Nilzor's Techblog via WP Central]

Mr. Nilsen went into the project with some experience in Windows Mobile development, and a mostly open mind (based on his story).  We all have a little bias, but Frode seems to have kept it in check.  That's important, because so many times people let their results get a bit skewed based on what they like before they even begin.  Even though it's all very non-scientific, this kind of data is nice to have if you're a developer, or even just a geek.  I think this quote from his blog sums it up nicely.

"The technology wasn't a big factor in the decision I had to take. First and foremost I wanted to make money. Most money with least effort - that was basically my goal (isn't everyone's?). Technology is of course a factor when it comes to effort, but most important was which phone was most attractive to the public, hence giving me the largest market."

Callously honest.  Can't argue with that.

After building the same application for both Android and WP7, Frode goes over the details of his time on each.  It's an awesome read, and he goes in-depth, answering most any question we readers could think of.  Anyone interested in mobile application development needs to read it, but we'll go over Frode's conclusions here

Frode's system is easy -- higher scores are better.  I'll not challenge the IDE (Integrated Development Environment) marks, because if you're used to Windows, Visual Studio is probably easier to use.  Personally I find it too busy, and lacking some options but it's going to depend on what you're used to.

Based on his record of the process, I think he got everything pretty close to what I would have came up with, making the idea of coding for either platform a viable choice.

Frode's decision?  He decided to program for Android for now.  He thinks programming for WP7 is fun, but his Galaxy S is more fun, and as he so eloquently puts it --

"Android is still quite much bigger than for Windows Phone, and that is the factor that makes me pretty sure that my next project will be on an Android device. I reach a greater audience, and that's always cool both in terms of revenue and feedback. Who want's to work for weeks in a cellar and when the day comes for publishing, you never hear a word of praise or criticism? So the next project: Android, but the next after that? Who knows - I go where the wind blows."

Jerry Hildenbrand
Jerry Hildenbrand

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • Actually rather impressive review though some of his numbers don't quite reflect his statements. But he actually took a look at Eclipse and was honest. I see this argument against Eclipse rage on from VS users that have no experience with it or any other IDE for that matter. They just proclaim VS the champion because its all they know.
  • Windows will never catch up to apple, and no where near android... windows is just trying to look and feel cook, cuz deep inside they know they cant catch up.... they dont even have a market or support team like google and android central have... sorry windows a little too late and too far behind...
  • not a fan of the windows phone but people thought that about game systems. xbox now dominates sony,and the product is better. anyways, more compatition means more development. consumer wins.
  • Very interesting read.
  • it's about money
    more users, more potential customers
    NO CONTEST but not only that
    whatever you program for Windows
    if it's succesful
    microsoft will compete with you
    and try to put you out of business
    and say they're not end of story
  • "Perceived Market potential" Android = 5, WP = 4. Really? The market potential so close between platforms? Highly unlikely. If this is on a scale of 10, then for me this seems to be Android = 9, WP = 4
  • Hopefully Adobe Air will be ported to Win Phone 7 as well. This way one code base can be used on all major platforms (Android, iOS, BlackBerry PlayBook, Win Phone 7) with very minimal changes. A webOS port would be great too if they really do deliver 6 devices this year as claimed. Grant it, this works out better for brand new apps that are built with this goal in mind from day one rather than existing app ports.
  • LOL hopefully not actually. Adobe AIR is a terrible platform with already terrible apps. Take a look at playbook Apps. And since when has anything beside the name Adobe any good to develop for other than Flash which isn't even theres and is a mess itself, wouldnt be popular if it didnt have the history of being the only thing out there. Get a clue dude.
  • Yea I wonder where all the Flash and AIR fanboys disappeared to when Android finally got them and there was no influx of these oh so great games. I tried to tell them that would never amount to more than small potatoes.
  • a friend of mine has a wp7 device, sooooo nice compared to the old WM phones.. has A LOT of potential
  • This reviewer is m$ paid troll. When was android api less than the new win7 this review is bogus
  • Wouldn't call him bogus. But IMO no other platform comes anywhere close to Android in terms of API. No other platform lets you completely replace just about any piece of functionality on the phone or gives you such an elegant way to have multiple apps work together seamlessly as if they were written as one app.