Nokia is dropping its free developer program in favor of a new paid-for Nokia Premium Developer Program.
The Finnish phone manufacturer is phasing out the Nokia Developer Pro Program, which was invitation-only, and is no longer accepting new applications for the free Nokia Developer Launchpad Program.
Instead, the company has brought out a program where developers can work on their applications for Windows Phone 8 for a fee of $99 a year.
Any applications you’ve already made to the Launchpad Program that are still awaiting processing won’t be processed at all. If you joined with the aim of getting a device to develop on, get your application in before November 30 and you should still receive it.
The replacement program, Nokia Premium Developer Program, was announced at Microsoft Build 2012. Membership costs $99 a year, but Nokia says you’ll receive $1,500 worth of tools and services. Members will receive a year’s membership of the Microsoft Windows Phone Dev Center, a license to use Telerik RadControls UI Suite for Windows Phone, and access to Buddy.Com Cloud APIs (up to one million API calls a month).
You’ll also receive two Nokia tech support tickets. While the benefits would individually cost more (the Buddy access would work out at $1200), the fee does mean Nokia is expecting developers to pay for the privilege of making their phone platform successful because of the apps for it.
Given the limited success of the Windows Phone and how much Nokia needs it to be a success, you would have thought that it would do more to encourage people to write apps for it. The best way to get apps started is to make the barrier as low as possible. Many programmers have stories of how they almost accidentally created some success or other. You don't accidently create anything if you first have to think about spending even as little as $99.
Given the huge advertising spend that both Microsoft and Nokia are planning for the new phone, trying to scrape back a few dolloars from the developers who could make it all work seems like a mistake that both Nokia and Microsoft are making.
Why not a free-for-a-year offer as part of the advertising spend?