One of the most popularly requested applications that Windows Phone has been missing -- the photo-sharing app Instagram -- is finally coming to the Windows Phone Store as of November 20.
Waze, a popular crowd-sourced traffic app, also is hitting the Windows Phone Store today, as well. (That's a screen capture of the Windows Phone Waze app, at right.) Both Instagram and Waze should be in the Store as of 11 am PT/2 pm ET, Microsoft execs said.
Update: The just-released official Instagram app for Windows Phone, developed by the Instagram team, is technically a beta. Video capture and uploading, tagging photos, viewing geotagging and in-app camera capture are not yet present, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed. An Instagram spokesperson added that with this first release, "users can upload photos from their camera roll, but you cannot take a photo with the app. The app also allows Windows users to view videos."
Update No. 2: A Microsoft spokesperson added this statement about how the Instagram beta works currently: "Windows Phone users will be directed to their camera roll instead of a camera interface initially, where they have the option to either select an existing photo or take a new photo to apply filter to before sharing.”
As of this week, there are now 190,000 apps in the Windows Phone Store, with about 500 new Windows Phone apps being added to the Store daily, according to Microsoft officials. Back in August, Microsoft execs said there were 170,000 apps in the Windows Phone Store.
A couple of other key apps, Mint and Xbox Video, are both "coming soon," Windows Phone execs reiterated this week. Microsoft execs have promised previously that Xbox Video, which Microsoft supported on Windows Phone 7 but not on Windows Phone 8, will be arriving in time for the holidays, and will be a Windows Phone exclusive app through the holidays. (After that, it will likely be made available for iOS and Android phones, I'd think.)
Microsoft execs said there are currently 300,000 registered Windows Phone developers. That total doesn't include developers who are building Windows Phone apps using the beta of Microsoft's AppStudio tool. Those using AppStudio have built almost 200,000 apps to date, though most of these are likely to remain private and not be available to all via the Windows Phone Store.
"Since Windows Phone 8, we've been adding capabilities that devs are taking advantage of," said Todd Brix, the General Manager of Microsoft's Windows Apps and Store team. "What it takes to build a great Windows Phone app is different from what it takes on other platforms." Brix cited the ability to pin features and capabilities from inside an app directly to the Start screen as an example of a differentiator which makes Windows Phone feel more personal and customizable.
Brix said Microsoft's investments in carrier billing, allowing those without credit cards to buy apps, is another area where Microsoft is thinking different from the other mobile players.