The NYPD Just Got Smartphones: Not the Brand You’d Expect

November 1, 2016 - 2 minutes read


The Windows Phone accounts for less than 1% of the US smartphone market. That might seem like a death sentence for app developers on the platform, but it has a ring of opportunity for an unexpected group: namely, the New York Police Department.

The department has been working directly with app developers in NYC to roll out a suite of apps for the device tailored to the needs of local law enforcement. Now, when they pick up their badges, new recruits will get a mobile device with it — along with apps designed for managing daily activities like 911 response, sending and receiving assignments, and even training videos.

The specific device being used are the Lumia 830 and Lumia 640 XL. The project is being rolled out in 36,000 police offices, marking a major victory for the much-beleaguered Windows phone. While the consumer market may be all but lost, the ability to tailor the devices and software for privacy, durability, and specialized services allowed the company to go where Apple and Android could not.

For NYC app developers, the result is an example of untapped opportunities in the world of enterprise applications. Sometimes, the path to success isn’t in finding the widest audience possible. If the collaboration between Microsoft and the NYPD is any indication, the rewards for going niche and chasing a highly specific group can be guaranteed revenue and decade-long contracts.

The project is also a great example of untapped opportunities for app developers when it comes to streamlining and improving government services. Now, if only someone would take a closer look at “disrupting” the DMV…

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