The launch of Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 platform late in 2012 may not have made a huge impact with consumers yet, but it's certainly been important to the WP8 developers who have published more than 75,000 new Microsoft-approved mobile apps this year.
On average, Windows Phone users have downloaded 54 apps each, according to Microsoft senior director for Windows Marketplace Todd Brix.
"As a direct result of our investments, Windows Phone customers now download, buy, and use more apps than at any time since we first launched Windows Phone 7 two years ago," he said.
In addition to more than doubling the new operating system's app catalogue size, Microsoft pushed out more than 300,000 app updates, and added the ability for users to share concerns about applications or games. This year also brought a number of discovery enhancements to the Windows Phone platform, Brix said, including Bing-powered search and smart lists, and new collections and recommendations for Windows Phone 8 customers.
Downloading favourite apps got a lot easier this year, as the Redmond, Washington-based firm expanded the number of markets where users can find applications and games, growing more than 90 per cent to 191 markets for Windows Phone 8 by the end of 2012.
Microsoft also worked to expand opportunities for developers this year, the company said.
Despite Windows Phone 8 hitting the market just seven weeks ago, Brix said the company has already seen a 40 per cent increase in month-over-month developer revenue in the 30 days since the current SDK release.
"We anticipate that to grow with new hardware sales and as apps with new capabilities like in-app purchase begin to reach customers," he added.
Things haven't always bright and shiny for Windows Phone 8 this year, though. In November, Microsoft was hit with complaints from users experiencing random reboots on the HTC Windows Phone 8X and Nokia Lumia 920 devices. It later confirmed that a fix would arrive in December.
Meanwhile, those Microsoft die-hards stuck in Windows Phone 7 purgatory will receive the WP 7.8 update in early 2013, providing a new start screen, 10 new theme and accent colours, the Bing Picture of the Day lock screen feature, and new apps, including Angry Birds Space and Angry Birds Star Wars.