From iOS and Android to Windows 8: Bsquare launches app porting service

Calling Windows 8 “probably the biggest porting opportunity in the history of the industry,” Bellevue-based Bsquare this morning launched a new porting service that will adapt existing iOS, Android and legacy Windows apps for Microsoft’s new PC and mobile operating systems.

The service, which starts at $10,000, speaks to Microsoft’s need to fill the Windows Store with high-quality apps for users of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 computers and devices. It comes as Microsoft convenes software developers in Redmond this morning for the Build conference, trying to generate a critical mass of apps.

Companies with existing iOS or Android development teams may be reluctant to divert or retrain them to build Windows 8 apps, but the opportunity for apps that are first to market on Windows 8 is large, Mark Whiteside, Bsquare vice president of professional services. He called it the equivalent of an “Oklahoma land rush.”

Given Microsoft’s persistence and staying power, Bsquare officials say they believe companies won’t be able to ignore the Windows Store over the long run. “Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 will have a respectable enough portion of the market that from a  marketing side you’re going to need to have presence there,” Whiteside said.

A longtime Microsoft partner, Bsquare is promising faster turnaround times and the expertise to take full advantage of Windows 8 features such as live tiles on the Start screen and the features of the Charm and Apps bars.

The pre-paid service is a new approach for Bsquare, streamlining the process with an online portal where prospective customers can submit their requirements and get price quotes. The company also will put the ported apps through the Windows Store certification process.

Even with the traction experienced by Android and iOS, legacy Windows applications represent the largest volume of apps available for porting, Whiteside said. The company will also help adapt Windows Phone 7 apps to take advantage of the new features of Windows Phone 8.