If there's one area where Windows Phone 8 is miles behind Android and iOS it's in the availability of apps.

Sure, you can get the staples Twitter and Facebook and the selection is growing, but it still pales in comparison to the competition from Apple and Google.

The good news is that the situation may soon change. Joe Belfiore, the vice president and manager for Windows Phone Program Management, took to Twitter to announce that "We're all gonna look back at the end of 2014 as the ending of the app-gap for Windows Phone. The 3rd ecosystem is decidedly here!"

In a sense Windows Phone is already the 3rd ecosystem, as it's beaten out BlackBerry to become the third most popular smartphone OS, but right now it's still way behind both Android and iOS. A fact which Microsoft hasn't been shy about.

App, app and away

Closing the app-gap could seriously boost the popularity of Windows Phone but it's a vicious circle because until Windows Phone becomes more popular developers are less likely to want to make apps for the platform.

There's also the question of which phones will be using it - there could be a point where only Nokia phones will run the platform, with some consumers still waiting for the a more stylishly-designed handset - although the Finnish brand has done great work to break the monopoly of the 'faceless black rectangle' that was the template for most smartphones.

How Belfiore plans to close the gap remains to be seen, but if it happens in less than a year from now iOS and Android could have a lot more competition.