I have talked about the supposed Windows Phone app gap before on this site and my general belief is that it is very personal and niche.
We have seen many large and prominent companies finally build apps for the Windows Phone platform to bring their services and information to users of the number three mobile platform.
It is great to see those large companies coming onboard and making those apps for Windows Phone. The quality and functionality of those apps vary greatly but that could be the subject of another entire post.
The purpose behind this post is to point out one of the big issues that creates an out of sight – out of mind scenario when it comes to these companies and their Windows Phone apps.
For this example I am going to use Home Depot because it was right in front of me this past Saturday.
While watching some college football a commercial for Home Depot came on and at the end they showed this on the screen:
You will notice they ask viewers to download their apps from either the Apple or Google Play stores.
Now, I knew Home Depot had an app on Windows Phone because they have had one since the Windows Phone 7 days and that app was actually pretty good. Unfortunately, the latest version is a web wrapper, but that is also the subject of another blog post.
So when I saw this on the TV I decided to check Home Depot’s website and see if they mention/highlight their Windows Phone app.
That meant a visit to http://www.homedepot.com/c/SF_Mobile_Shopping and this is what is displayed prominently in the middle of the page:
iOS, Android and even the mobile web. So where is the Windows Phone app info?
Well if you drop below the area featured in that last screenshot you will see this text:
That may be hard to read because the text is almost an after thought on the page.
Here is the part where Windows Phone finally gets mentioned on their mobile app page:
For a customizable experience from The Home Depot, download one of our apps today! With Home Depot iPhone, Android, Windows Phone and mobile web, you can shop/browse over 400,000 products, find a store location, Buy Now Pick-up In Store, Buy Online, Ship to Store, scan bar codes, locate in-store maps/aisles, access your Home Depot accounts and watch How-To and product videos.
No link to the Windows Phone app or even an image of the app. Just a mention in a small paragraph after the prominent display of the Apple and Google versions of the app. Even the mobile version gets highlighted before Windows Phone.
See this – it took me all of 5 minutes to create an image that reflects the Windows Phone app on a device and a link to the app itself.
There is a way to get the Windows Phone app through Home Depot’s mobile app page, well at least technically through that page.
The way to do that is explained further down their mobile app page, one paragraph below the brief mention of Windows Phone shown above, and that is to send a text.
Yes a text message.
That text results in a reply like this one:
Tapping on that link does take you to a search of the Windows Phone store on your device and gives you the following results with the official Home Depot app listed right at the top:
Bottom line on all of this, and Home Depot is not the only offender either, is that until companies start to place the Windows Phone button alongside the Apple and Google links then there will continue to be a perceived app gap.
Everyday users, not those of us in and around the tech world each and everyday, will never realize there is a third option that can be used with some services until those companies show them there is.
What other examples have you seen of companies with Windows Phone or even Windows apps, not mentioning it in their advertisements on either TV, in print or on their sites?
Let us know in the comments.