A reader writes from South America:
In the last upFront.eZine newsletter, you have written about CAD apps, “Running CAD on Small Screens.” I am using an HTC Windows Phone 8X, which I really like, but I cant find any apps for mobile CAD purposes. Which is for me really BAD! Do you know of CAD apps running on Windows phones?
That's right: no CAD vendor supports Windows 8 Phone, because its marketshare is too small (under 4% and shrinking) to assign programming resources.
In recent years, CAD vendors were forced to switch from programming for just one -- or at most two -- operating systems (Windows and/or OS X) to many: Windows, OS X (with OS X undergoing major changes under the hood), maybe Linux, iOS, Android, and Web browsers (HTML5).
Thus, there is little enthusiasm writing for yet another OS. Note that owners of Windows 8 RT and RIM tablets have the same problem you are experiencing.
There's only going to be CAD apps for Windows 8 Mobile/RT from two sources:
- Microsoft, should they fund the development costs of a CAD vendor (as they have done in other markets). Problem: in this day, it is more important for OS makers that hardware be seen running productivity-sapping apps like Angry Birds than world-changing apps like CAD.
- A tiny self-funded upstart sees an opportunity for having the only CAD package on mobile Widows. Problem: having 100% marketshare of a tiny market is no better than a tiny marketshare of a huge market (like Android or iOS).
Now, this Microsoft-being-ignored stance is a switch from a decade ago, when CAD applications for Windows CE (the name of the portable OS at the time) were overtaking PalmOS (which was more popular but beginning to stagnate). Windows CE (renamed Windows Mobile) was just starting to like the feeling of being the king of the mobile hill when Apple shipped the first iPhone, and ever since it's been downhill for Microsoft (and Palm and RIM).
I recall when Windows for Pen Computing came out in the 1990s, and Microsoft boasting how popular it was. (It wasn't.) A third-party developer later told me that Microsoft strong-armed him and other developers: to get access to a new release of desktop Windows, developers had to take on Windows for Pen Computing.