Toronto-based Polar Mobile Inc.has struck a deal with Microsoft Corp. to help fulfill the Redmond, Wash.giant’s growing need for new Windows Phone 7-based mobile apps.
The agreement will have the appdevelopment company porting over its entire mobile app portfolio to Microsoft’snew platform, which include existing Polar apps for Android, BlackBerry andiPhone smart phone devices. As part of the deal, Polar will also build WindowsPhone 7-compatible apps for all new clients.
Polar CEO Kunal Gupta said thegoal of the deal is to bring about 500 new apps to Microsoft’s new mobile OS overthe next nine or ten months, but that number “could very easily” be a lot morethan that.
“As our business grows and weon-board new customers, they’ll automatically benefit from this agreement,” hesaid.
Polar’s existing clients arecomprised of a couple dozen high-profile media and entertainment propertiesincluding the Canadian Football League, Maclean’s, Sports Illustrated, TimeMagazine, and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The company has been able to expandquickly over the last year due to the fact that it uses a template model tobuild apps, as opposed to developing completely new custom apps for eachclient.
Gupta said that because of hiscompany’s strong relationship with Microsoft, the software giant approachedthem to help bolster its roster of Windows Phone 7 apps. “They came to us andsaid ‘we want you to play a big role in helping evangelize the platform,’” hesaid.
Now that Microsoft has a newmobile OS to compete with its smart phone competitors, many industry observershave pointed to its app store as the next area of need for the budding smartphone maker.
At the company’s officialunveiling last week, Microsoft promised that its Windows Phone 7-based phoneswould have plenty of apps for consumers to use upon release. IDC’s Al Hilwa, aprogram director covering application development software for the researchfirm, said significant developer interest could actually result in “severalthousand” apps within a six month period.
In a statement, Harp Girn, marketingand strategy lead for Microsoft Canada’sdeveloper and platform group, said the overall response to Windows Phone 7 andits app development platform has been strong. He added that he is particularly excitedthat Polar is helping in the effort to grow the platform.
“Polar Mobile is a great example of a strong,successful Canadian mobile start-up demonstrating their confidence in theWindows Phone 7 platform,” he said.
Polar expects to have some of theapps completed as the Windows Phone 7-based devices start to hit the market throughoutthe next few months.
Gupta said that even if Microsoftdoes not reach its lofty goals with the new platform, the agreement willcertainly increase the reach of its Toronto-based firm and its customers stillmean its apps will still be seen by millions of customers.
“The apps will be seen bymillions of new users,” he said.