The number of developers building applications for Microsoft's Windows Phone platform is expected to double in 2014, according to a study by Strategy Analytics.
Results of the research firm's recent survey show that 32 percent of developers polled said they plan to support Windows Phone next year, double the 16 percent who said they supported Windows Phone in 2013.
For its Strategy Analytics Developer Survey, fielded in September 2013, Strategy Analytics polled more than 1,600 active mobile app developers. In addition to Windows Phone, both HTML5 and Firefox OS showed significant growth among developers, the survey showed.
"Naturally Android and iOS were the top platforms, with 84 percent and 68 percent respectively of developers targeting those platforms," said David MacQueen, executive director of Apps and Media Research at Strategy Analytics, in a statement. "That's primarily due to the huge installed base; we asked developers why they were supporting particular platforms and the top answer for both of these platforms was the user base."
MacQueen said 74 percent of Android developers and 65 percent of iOS developers cited installed user base as a reason for their continued support of the platforms. However, Windows Phone is gaining ground in user base and developer attention. The Windows Phone platform ranked fourth in the survey, behind HTML5.
HTML5 ranked third in developer support with 33 percent developing for HTML5 this year, rising to 43 percent expecting to develop next year.
However, one-third of those developers use HTML5 as a tool to develop for other platforms, MacQueen said. "Therefore, it seems that Windows Phone looks set to become the third ecosystem, as predicted by Elop [Stephen Elop, former CEO of Nokia] in the infamous 'burning platform' memo," he said. "In contrast, support for Symbian next year is slightly under 2 percent of our developer panel."
Adam Thorwart, a Strategy Analytics research associate, noted that Firefox appears to be gathering quite a bit of developer support, and showed the biggest rise—with more than triple the number of developers expecting to support that platform next year.
"Only 3 percent of developers created something for the platform this year, but following successful launches in Latin America, Spain and a handful of other European markets, 10 percent of developers expect to be creating apps for those handsets in the coming year," Thorwart said, in a statement. "Tizen also seems to have piqued developer interest, albeit to a lesser extent than Firefox; 2 percent developed apps this year, but 5 percent expect to support Tizen next year."