Developing Apps for Windows Phone 8

imagesI decided to check out what it would take to begin writing apps for the WIndows Phone 8 smartphones, and here’s what I found:

  1. You need to have a desktop machine running the Windows 8 Pro 64-bit OS. The “Pro” version is required if you want to use the WP8 emulator for testing your app.
  2. To use the WP8 emulator, your desktop machine must have a CPU and motherboard (and BIOS) that can use “Hyper-V” or virtualization. If it can’t, then you can’t use the WP8 emulator for testing your app.

In my opinion, these are pretty heavy requirements for developing WP8 apps. First, you need to have the “Pro” version of WIndows 8 on your desktop machine which I don’t think most people have. Most new desktop and laptops seem to be shipping with Windows 8 Basic from what I’ve seen. Also, to run the emulator you need a machine that can do virtualization, which limits you to Intel i3/i5/i7 CPUs and some specific AMD CPUs. Even if your computer has one of these chips, the motherboard needs to support virtualization as well as the BIOS (which most laptops can’t do).

These requirements really restrict people from creating WP8 apps if they don’t have the required hardware and OS. It particularly affects me, since my main computer system is an Apple iMac desktop computer.

In contrast to writing Android apps, you can do so on a Windows machine, Apple Mac, or Linux machine. There are no special hardware requirements that I know of. So, why make it so hard for developers to switch to WP8?

In my case, I would need to purchase a copy of Windows 8 Pro, and either install it as a 2nd OS on my iMac (via Bootcamp), or try to run it in a virtual emulator (like VMWare Fusion, which I would have to purchase). Or, buy a laptop or cheap desktop system that had the necessary hardware requirements. This slowly becomes a big investment, which I’m not sure I want to do at this time.

3 Responses to Developing Apps for Windows Phone 8

  1. Balu says:

    The hardware requirement is pretty high, the emulator did not work on windows 7 – VMware in my MacBookPro. Guess it only works on boot camp. All the best and don’t give up 🙂

  2. zunetips says:

    I can report that on my iMac (with Intel i7 CPU) I was able to get a trial version of Windows 8 Enterprise running in VMWare Fusion Virtual Environment, with the Visual Studio Express installed and WP8 Emulator running! It wasn’t the speediest, but it did seem to work ok.

    • zunetips says:

      What didn’t work, was running Windows 8 in Virtualbox. Apparently, Virtualbox doesn’t do the required virtualization for the WP8 emulator.

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