The app gap is closing on Windows Phone, but more troublesome than a few missing apps is the way that apps get removed from the platform, even those you paid for.
Banking apps are one category that has always lagged on Windows Phone and the argument from Windows Phone users is that you could always just use the web browser to access your bank. I just found that AmEx and Wells Fargo are now present so I can access my Costco card and manage my daughters' college loans.
However, the bigger news for banking is that Bank of America and Chase are both pulling support for Windows Phone. Reports indicate a lack of users on Windows Phone are justification for pulling these banking apps.
In early 2013, USAA pulled its Windows Phone app, but then later in December 2013 it relaunched on Windows Phone 8. This demonstrates my real concern with Windows Phone and that is the lack of confidence one can put behind the app you use and/or paid for being available in a year.
I was on a Xbox game buying spree back when Windows Phone 7 launched and bought nearly every new title that was released. Unfortunately, Microsoft has pulled several of these titles over the years and I was never given a refund for the games I purchased. You may recall game titles such as Star Wars: Battle for Hoth, Full House Poker, and Fable: Coin Golf.
Many of these games were a casualty of the Windows Phone 7 to Windows Phone 8 upgrade, which leads me to wonder how many apps will become a casualty of the next move to Windows 10.
RunKeeper is a very popular fitness tracking and logging service. RunKeeper was available on Windows Phone a couple years ago, but has since been pulled and has not returned to the platform. I am sure many Windows Phone users have stories of apps they love either not being available or being pulled from the Windows Store.
Windows Phone has not gained the market share many of us thought it would and primarily shows success only at the low end of the market. I can understand why developers leave the platform, but it also makes it very difficult for me to recommend or stick with Windows Phone. I haven't seen developers dropping support like this on Android or iOS so it is natural that consumers would stick with those platforms where they can trust the apps they buy or use will be available in the future.
The promise of Windows 10 for phones (Isn't there always the promise that things will be better the next time?) is that applications will be universal and work across the desktop, tablet, and smartphone. It remains to be seen what this means for third party apps such as banking, fitness, and games so we will have to wait until later this year to see if confidence can be restored to Windows 10 for phones. For now, I'm sticking with Android and iOS where I know my apps will be available.