Nokia launched an interesting new initiative in the US this week in a bid to solve Windows Phone’s dearth of must-have apps. It’s called The Code Warrior, and it’s an app-for-prizes series of hackathons scheduled to take place across the US.
Announced today at Mobile Monday Silicon Valley, Code Warrior is a collaboration with Microsoft to get devs on board with Windows Phone. When the site launches, people will be able to suggest apps and ideas that go on a “bounty board”. One hundred Lumia Windows Phones will be dished out per city to the developers who take on these bounties at 11 different Code Warrior events scheduled across the US over the next two months. There are no plans for a similar event in the UK as of yet, but it’s safe to say Nokia’s drive to get Windows Phone apps out there is far from over.
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Windows Phone, while acclaimed by critics for its friendly design, has a growing app problem in what Nokia boss Stephen Elop calls the “war of ecosystems”. It has 70,000 apps on the Marketplace, compared to around half a million on both the Android Google Play Shop and iPhone App Store. Last month, Angry Birds developer Rovio caused controversy when it announced it would not port Angry Birds Space to Windows Phone, only to reverse that decision a day later – for reasons unknown.
We’ve seen some interesting ploys from both Microsoft and Nokia in recent months when it comes to solving the problem. Nokia has invested in a university course for app developers, while Microsoft has courted controversy with its “Smoked By Windows Phone” challenge and even reportedly paid developers to port popular services to Windows Phone.
Last week, official “jailbreak” service ChevronWP7 Labs closed its doors after it said that the unlock codes it had sold did not increase developer activity on the Windows Phone Marketplace.