A screengrab of a MapMyFitness mobile app. (MapMyFitness )
If you've perused the selection of apps available for Windows Phone, you might have noticed that some of the greatest hits for iPhone and Android users aren't there -- yet. But that appears to be shifting somewhat. Some, like MapMyFitness, are slowly dipping a toe in Microsoft's mobile waters.
Two MapMyFitness apps -- the original offerings of MapMapRun and MapMyRide -- are now available as free apps in the marketplace.
"We think that there will continue to be competition across the operating systems, and Microsoft is certainly a big player," said Robin Thurston, co-founder and chief product officer for MapMyFitness.
Thurston also pointed out that 35% of his company's traffic comes from outside the U.S. and that Nokia is still a notable name beyond our borders.
The decision "was mostly user-driven, so we just had lots of requests from our base to add it. Certainly, it was part of the road map to begin with," he said.
MapMyFitness, started in 2007, offers a suite of social-wellness-oriented sites and related mobile apps that boasts 8 million users. The Windows Phone app was in development for about six months and launched about a month ago.
Currently, the company supports five platforms -- iOS, Android, Samsung, BlackBerry and now Windows Phone.
Even as some app developers have decided that there isn't enough of a critical mass to continue supporting BlackBerry, MapMyFitness remains. The audience there has grown, Thornton said, and on the platform there are not nearly as many competitors. The downside with BlackBerry is that its app store isn't very easy to navigate.
As for the foray into Windows Phone, the company's apps there have only the basic recording features, using the phone's internal GPS to track precise movement, speed and pace from location to location. It's a solid free offering.
When it comes to functionality, there is definitely a hierarchy. The company has realistic expectations for the Windows Phone audience, which isn't near that of the mobile platform leaders. The "elite runners" of the bunch are clearly iPhone and Android, getting a much fuller suite of premium offerings.
If the audience and the platform pan out, Windows Phone could get them as well.
"There's definitely the ability to add the features," Thurston said.
As for the near future, he said, MapMyFitness hopes to offer more in the way of feedback loops and using the internal accelerometer for continuous fitness activity as the "gamefication" of exercise takes off. What and how they do it will hinge quite a bit on battery life.
"For us, it's really about fun," Thurston said. "How do you create an experience that makes fitness more fun?"
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