Windows Phone Will Barely Register in The App Realm This Year

Research associate Lim Shiyang of ABI said Tuesday that mobile users will download nearly 36 billion apps in 2012 and Android and iOS will make up for 83% of the app downloads.

As far as the Windows phone is concerned, it will barely register as a wave maker.

A scant 2% of app downloads will be attributed to Windows Phone by the close of 2012. But that’s not reason to lose hope for the future, the report says.

“Although Windows Phone lags behind RIM’s BlackBerry and even Nokia’s Symbian,” Shiyang asserts, “we shouldn’t ignore the fact that the two percent that we forecast for 2012 would be twice the share the platform achieved last year. Microsoft is gaining momentum, but its starting point is frustratingly low. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t really a chicken-and-egg problem of low device sales holding back the app business and the slow app business holding back the device sales. It’s more complicated than that.”

There are four factors undermining Windows Phone’s app growth. First, the small device market share is the most obvious drag. Second, Windows Marketplace’s global roll-out has taken a long time, further limiting the number of potential customers. Third, Microsoft has also been slow to enable in-app purchasing, meaning that most of the quality apps remain behind an upfront paywall. And fourth, there have been no tablets built on the platform. Advancement on any of these fronts will have a positive impact.