Where Do WebOS Devs Go From Here?

Reeling from the gap created in their lives by HP’s announcementThursdaythat it’s ceasing work on webOS devices, webOS app developers havereportedly been swift to stagger into Microsoft’s arms.

At least 500 webOS app devs responded to a call put out by BrandonWatson, Microsoft’s senior director of Windows Phone 7 development,within 22 hours, WatsontweetedSaturday.

That’s good news for Microsoft.

“It seems that Microsoft currently really lacks developers around itsapp ecosystem, which is why it’s so actively recruiting them,”Estuardo Robles, vice president of marketing at AppsGeyser, toldTechNewsWorld.

But what about webOS developers? What’s in store for them?

Windows Phone 7 has not quite taken off yet, although Microsoft’sworking hard to promote it.

“As far as developers are concerned, I’d say, as always, follow themarket,” said Simon Khalaf, CEO of Flurry Analytics.

“Develop on iOS first, Android second and, as Microsoft gains tractionwith Nokia, consider it,” Khalaf told TechNewsWorld.

Microsoft did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

Strangers With Candy

Microsoft’s offering lots of goodies to lure webOS app devs into its fold.

Watson offered free phones, developer tools and training among otherthings, when he reachedout towebOS devs Friday.

“Microsoft’s compelling offering to give away devices, support andconsultancy to webOS developers who will switch to them is definitelya good move,” AppsGeyser’s Robles opined.

Those goodies will likely make it easier for webOS devs to jumponto the Windows Phone 7 train.

“It’s getting tougher and tougher in the app development market,especially for the small guys who can’t afford to support twoplatforms,” IDC’s Stofega said. “Porting tools and other things theyneed are expensive.”

In the long run, this could lead to “a new world order where the bigguys who have porting tools and the capabilities might start to be theones that matter in terms of the application development market,”Stofega stated.

Only the Strong Survive

Google’s move to purchase of MotorolaMobility Monday,followed by HP’s slamming shut webOS’ doors, have changed the face ofthe mobile device market.

“This whole issue of vertical integration looks like the hot thingtoday, whereas about a year ago it was all about being open,” WillStofega, a program director at IDC, told TechNewsWorld.

“Motorola Mobility had a lot of things going for it but it takes deeppockets to compete against the Samsungs and LGs, so this helpsMotorola out and gives Google a way of enhancing their platform,”Stofega said.

“Apple has proven that a vertically integrated solution works well,”Flurry’s Khalaf said.

“In summary, I’d say it is Apple versus NokiaSoft versus Samdroid –Samsung and Android,” Khalaf added.

What Now?

So, is it wise for webOS appdevs to make the jump straight to WinPho7?

“At AppsGeyser, we see three types of developers — those who want tocreate an awesome app, those who want to make money selling their appfor a price, and those who want to build a viable business aroundapps,” AppsGeyser’s Robles said.

The first would be “OK, just on Android,” the second, “OK just on iOS,”and the third type “needs to be on all three platforms,” Robles said.

What About Apple?

Any discussion of mobile apps must include Apple’s iOS, which loomslarge over the market and accounts for Cupertino’s dominance of themobile device market.

Could Apple have reached out to webOS appdevs?

Apple has “a lot of developers who can create enough useful apps withsome of them creating top apps from time to time,” AppGeyser’s Roblespointed out. “I think Apple would rather just tell its existingdevelopers to produce new apps, and it’ll get a lot of new apps thesame day,” he added.

On the other hand, perhaps the situation isn’t quite so bleak.

“I am assuming that every developer who built on webOS has alreadybuilt on iOS,” Flurry’s Khalaf said. “If they didn’t consider iOS astheir main platform, they don’t exist.”

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