Papa's Perspective

Developer Impacts 2012

2012 is barely underway, yet some of the technology that may shape this year is already starting to emerge. Which ones will have the largest impact?

I recently took a look at 2011 and how it may impact developers. Now I shift my perspective to the coming year and see what it may hold.

2012 is barely underway, yet some of the technology that may shape this year is already starting to emerge. New phones, tablets and touch devices from a variety of manufacturers were the kings of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, and are likely to take center stage when the year is over. But what will have the largest impacts this year? Let's take a look at three front-runners.

Windows 8
The computer industry is laser focused on Windows 8, and if it goes RTM this year, we are sure to see its impact right from the start. Microsoft has revealed that there will be a store; and released alongside the Windows 8 Consumer Preview were a host of apps. Given Windows' market share, it's likely that apps will be filling the store, eliminating that potential problem.

While Microsoft was far behind the iPhone (by several years) before they announced a worthy competitor, Windows 8 could be a game changer. We won't know for some time how it fare overall, but it will without doubt have an impact on its release.

Windows Phone
I recently wrote about a few challenges to Windows Phone's future. I still believe that the UX is amazing and refreshingly different. But I also still believe that the apps are lacking and the devices lack the "cool" factor. I recently met with more than 100 technically-focused college students and only one of them said they had a Windows Phone. Ouch!

Now that Nokia has revealed its flagship phone -- the Lumia 900 -- Windows Phone boredom may be a thing of the past. The Lumia 900 is a beautiful device that looks and feels great. Dare I say -- the device is cooler than the iPhone!

If this is where Windows Phones are heading, I have no doubt that Microsoft will meet the "coolness" challenge I laid out. They still have to tackle the app hurdle, but I believe that Windows Phone will have huge success this year if it continues to show up on new devices like the Lumia 900.

iPad 3
2012 will surely be influenced the fruit company, as it has been for the past several years. The iPad 3 is rumored to be announced March 7, and I don't think anybody would be shocked to see it be a huge success.

Regardless of its new features, the iPad has put itself in "Kleenex" territory -- the brand name so dominant that it acts as a stand-in for an entire product category. Kleenex is only one brand of tissue, but we say "Kleenex" when we mean "tissue." In the same way, what tablets are your friends, cousins and neighbors aware of? Do they know anything other than an iPad?

In just a few years the iPad has quickly come from nowhere to own the tablet space. Will Apple sit on its laurels this year and release a token device? I doubt it. I expect that the iPad 3 will hit hard, knowing that its competition (Google and Microsoft) are working hard to snap up more marketshare this year.

What it All Means
Competition is good. Operating systems, phones and iPads (oops, I mean tablets) are all fighting for their future. The ultimate winners are the developers and consumers who benefit from the changes. The winner of 2012 may be hard to predict, as the market can be fickle. But whether it's Windows, iOS, Java, HTML, XAML, or some other language/platform, developers need to be able to adapt quickly. All of this competition will bring great things; those that ride with it will enjoy a wild ride!

About the Author

John Papa is a Microsoft Regional Director and former Microsoft technical evangelist. Author of 100-plus articles and 10 books, he specializes in professional application development with Windows, HTML5, JavaScript, CSS, Silverlight, Windows Presentation Foundation, C#, .NET and SQL Server. Check out his online training with Pluralsight; find him at and on Twitter at

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