I often get involved in conversations about wether or not a company or a startup should invest in building a Windows Phone app. There are many considerations for doing this, and it’s not my place to convince anyone either way. There is however, one side effect of having cross-platform presence, that in my opinion is alone worth the investment in Windows Phone. In this post I will try to describe this concept. I call it the three stars, because of how it is usually presented in web landing pages for apps. The theory is that every respectable app should have this trio of icons:

3 stars on vine

(an example from vine.co)

The download icons for your app on different platforms. Some apps have just the iOS (or App store) icon - They have “earned” the bitten apple “achievement”. Some also have the Android (Google Play) icon. These have “earned” the green robot “achievement”.

Most apps starts on iOS or Android or both, nothing special there. But if you think about it, only the best apps are available on all three platforms. So when your app is also on Windows Phone, when you “earn” that Windows flag “achievement” to showcase on your landing page - that is when you advance to the big boys league. It’s like you have reached next level in the game. It’s like you have earned the three starts achievement.

3 stars echievement

But this is not just a game. Having three stars, having these three very distinguished icons on your landing page says something about you and your app. It says maturity, it says experience, it says completeness and trust and many other associations that only that combination of three icons can produce. Not iOS alone, not Android alone, not even iOS and Android together can get you there – these are too common. Only when you can proudly display the “tree stars” on your home page, is when you can reach that level of perception.

3 stars on waze

(an example from waze.com)

Imagine we conducted a research where we could measure the (perhaps subconscious) effect of showing that you are there on all major platforms, as opposed to showing that you are on some of them. I’ll try to donate at least my thoughts:

  • If this app has full platform coverage from day one, they must mean business.
  • Most apps don’t start on Windows Phone though. So if this app has a WP version, it must mean that their iOS \ Android versions are pretty good. Otherwise they would be still in the stage of perfecting their iOS \ Android app.
  • If this app has anything to do with other users (social of any kind), I’d prefer the one that offers also Windows Phone support because I want as many people to be able to interact with me. Maybe even some of my friends have Windows Phones, and I wouldn’t want to leave them out if I can choose.
  • If I will ever want to switch to WP I will be able to, while maintaining my data \ settings \ connections since this app is cross-platform.
  • Since they need support all major platform, they must have robust solution that is thoroughly tested. This means higher quality app.
  • This company can afford to build and maintain three apps. It can’t be a one man show or a small amateur group. They must be a well established company and idea.
  • This company has a great vision of being ubiquitous, and they stand behind it.

This is just me trying to justify my feelings when I see those three icons together. There’s a lot going on inside your head when you see it, but either way the effect is positive. I think having those “three stars” is not just a matter of progress, it’s a statement.

Remember when we said earlier that if we think about it, only the best apps are available on all three platforms? Think about it the other way: If you are available on all three platforms, you will be considered one of the best apps. And to achieve cross platform support your missing piece is probably Windows Phone.