Friday, September 20, 2013

Affordable Windows Phone 8 development (the Nokia Lumia 521)

The goal here is to develop software for Windows Phone 8 and not pay thousands of dollars a year. There is a cost to getting started in Windows Phone 8 development but developers can code for this environment for a reasonable cost.  $249.99 is all it should cost per-year to develop on Windows Phone 8. Let's break down the options.

The phone we all love, the Nokia Lumia 1020 is $199 with a two year contract from AT&T. The plan costs $39.99 per month for 450 minutes and $20 for 300 MB of data monthly (as of September 2013). Summing it all up, there is a cost of $1638.76 over the life of the two year plan.

Paul Thurrott's Super Site for Windows ( points out that the Nokia Lumia 520 can be purchased for $99 (In Praise of the Nokia Lumia 520) with no commitment. This phone could be used with WIFI only or could be placed on an AT&T GoPhone (pay as you go plan). You can get a GoPhone plan for $25 a month for calling (250 minutes per month) and $5 a month for data (50 MB per $5). It would be pretty reasonable to develop with such a phone and only turning on calling/data when it is required.

There is better alternative, the Nokia Lumia 521. The Lumia 521 costs $149.99 without a contract. For $100 you get 1000 minutes to use over an entire year -- Prepaid phones t-mobile. Text messages reduce the balance by 10 cents each message  For $30 per month you can get 100 calling minutes and unlimited web (the web is throttled after 200 MB of data access). Obviously with no data plan, the phone can be used on WIFI.

So for $249.99 a year it is possible to develop with Windows Phone 8.

If you are torn between the Lumia 520 and 521, has a great comparison between the two phones: Nokia-Lumia-520-vs-Nokia-Lumia-521.

The Lumia 520 and 521 are nearly feature equivalent. The Lumia 520 comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8227 processor running at 1 GHz. The Lumia 521 comes with a Qualcomm S4 Plus Snapdragon MSM8227 processor running at 1.4 GHz.

The Lumia 521 makes a good phone for a kid (replacing their pricey, fragile screened IPod touch). A key application for the phone is Metro Talk ( Google does not provide a native Google Voice application for Windows Phone 8. Metrotalk supports Google Voice which means using WIFI text messages can be sent for free using the phone number associated with Google Voice.

With alternatives like the Lumia 521 and the Lumia 520, costs should be a barrier to Windows Phone 8 development.

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