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Windows Phone apps emphasizing quality over quantity

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Apple’s iTunes App Store and Google’s Android Market have repeatedly emphasized the sheer number of applications that are available for their respective mobile devices: Apple currently claims more than 350,000 apps are available for its iOS devices, while the Android Market boasts some 150,000 applications. The idea is that, with so many applications available for the platforms, users are almost certain to find exactly the app they want—and, in fact, will likely be able to choose amongst several competing apps.

Microsoft launched its Windows Phone 7 platform to developers about a year ago, and now the company has come forward with a progress update on how its third-party development efforts are going. In terms of numbers, Microsoft says some 11,500 apps are available for the Windows Phone platform. However, the company claims that they’re aiming for quality, not quantity, and doesn’t believe in “counting ‘lite’ apps as unique quality content.” The message: they may have fewer than 12,000 apps at the moment, but those apps matter.

“We recognize the importance of getting great apps on our platform and not artificially inflating the number of actual apps available to customer by listing ‘wallpapers’ as a category, or perhaps allowing competitor’s apps to run on the platform to increase ‘tonnage,'” wrote Microsoft’s Brandon Watson in the Windows Phone developer blog—taking an indirect swipe at RIM’s announcement that its PlayBook tablet will be able to run some Android apps in an isolated environment. “We’ve got apps; thousands of them. In fact our ecosystem generated 10,000 apps faster than anyone else, without padding the stats.”

Microsoft also notes that its developer tools for Windows Phone have been downloaded some 1.5 million times, and that Windows Phone developers report they’re making more revenue on Windows Phone than on other mobile platforms, despite the dearth of WIndows Phone devices in consumers’ hands at the moment. Microsoft also says that Windows Phone users download an average of 12 apps a month, and the company is signing up some 1,200 new developers every week.