NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- In a market where apps help make the smartphone, mobile developers are holding off on building applications for Microsoft's ( MSFT) Windows Phone 7 platform until they see that it will sell. Windows Phone 7, which hit stores last week, is playing catch-up in the competitive, booming smartphone race led largely by Apple ( AAPL) and Google's ( GOOG) Android platform.
"Developers are having a wait-and-see attitude to see how Windows performs," said Patrick Mork, chief marketing officer at GetJar, an independent mobile app store. "There's just a big question mark."
Despite the fact that developers say they are impressed with Windows Phone 7 and praise the ease of writing for the platform, they're concerned about the market opportunity. Large, well-funded companies like Facebook and Electronic Arts ( ERTS) are willing and able to create applications for Windows Phone 7, but smaller outfits with limited resources may be hesitant to invest time and capital in a smartphone whose success is not yet validated, said Mork. Microsoft reportedly sold only 40,000 Windows Phone 7 devices on launch day, which pales in comparison to the number of phones sold per day by Apple (270,000) and with Google's Android (200,000). Moving forward, research shop Gartner predicts that Windows Phone 7 will claim just 3.9% of the worldwide mobile operating system market by 2014, trailing Nokia's ( NOK) Symbian OS, which is expected to capture a 30.2% slice, and Android, which will hold a 29.6% share. "It's hard for us to dive in head-first because of the large gap behind other platforms ," said Scott Hintz, co-founder of TripIt, a San Francisco trip-planning company that has released apps for the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. "We're waiting on the sidelines for now."