When it comes to app development in the internet of things, you see a pretty standard pattern: startups launch with an iOS app, develop for Android six months to a year later, and then they stop. Windows Phone apps become an afterthought at best, as these hardware companies target the enormous market potential of the world’s two biggest mobile operating systems.
Fitbit (see disclosure), however, is deviating from the trend. A Windows Phone 8.1 version of the app is set to debut in Microsoft’s app store on Monday (here’s the link though the app wasn’t live at publication time), offering direct Bluetooth synchronization and the full set of features offered on the Android and iOS versions.
So why is Fitbit taking the leap to Windows? When a startup gets bigger it starts looking into expanding its potential market. At that point Windows start making more sense, especially if you’re eyeballing Europe where WP8 penetration is higher thanks to Nokia’s former presence.
Microsoft, however, may be providing some additional incentive as well. In the past its paid small developers to build their apps for WP8, and it’s subsidized the Windows development projects of bigger app makers like Foursquare. In recent months, a lot of big names like Uber have come to Windows. It could be that Windows Phone has hit its stride, and developers are slotting it in line after iOS and Android in their coding schedules. Or it could be Microsoft is still footing the bills for these big name WP8 launches.
Disclosure: Fitbit is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of Gigaom.