Since Microsoft announced that it would be rebooting its smartphone software and services back in 2010, users of Windows Phone operating systems have waited with baited breath for any sign that Windows would return to its position as a purveyor of a premier mobile operating system.
Not that the reset wasn’t needed, Windows Mobile had been outflanked on two fronts by both Android and iPhone. The code that developers needed to create modern versions of the applications available on Apple and Google’s platform just wasn’t there. Furthermore, the competitive hardware wasn’t there either. While phones like the HTC HD2 excited users, they weren’t on the same level as Apple’s iPhone.
And so, Microsoft set about the reboot, redesigning the user experience around its new Metro development language, incorporating the technology and services created by all of Microsoft to make Windows Phone unique. Users were generally excited about the prospect of getting a mobile version of their favorite Xbox LIVE games and the ability to edit and create Microsoft Word documents on their devices. These features arrived, and impressed. Then the world moved on.
Now, nearly three years away from when Microsoft first announced the new platform, I’d imagine some users are struggling to understand the slow pace at which the Windows Phone equation has improved. Meanwhile life of the average Android user has improved drastically.
Google has made every effort to address the issues it users complained about, offering the option for users to purchase a member of its Nexus family of devices in order to get the “pure” Android experience. In fact, Google’s mobile operating system bests Windows Phone in a couple of ways, many of which Windows Phone users could find seriously attractive.
Windows Phone boasts a huge assortment of apps, hovering somewhere around 150,000 applications. Many industry watchers would argue that the number of applications that are available to Windows Phone users doesn’t quantify the amount of quality applications that users can expect.
That’s certainly true, Windows Phone may boast 150,000 applications but many of them lack the fit and finish that users could expect had they been using the exact same app from the exact same company on iPhone. For example, PayPal is available to Windows Phone users, however it doesn’t include support for the company’s Triangle card reader. This seems to happen a lot on Windows Phone.
Outside of the impressive array of accessories offered by Nokia, Windows Phone is an absolute desert for anyone looking to extend the use of their device using things like docks, magnetic camera lenses and quality covers. Better yet, many of these devices are created by the smartphone partners like HTC and Samsung themselves.
Accessories created by the OEMs themselves tend to feature better fit and finish, and work better. Samsung’s Galaxy S4 will be backed up by a flip cover, S Health monitor and gaming controller. That’s impressive and possibly a game changer for some users Windows Phone users.
Device Maker Dedication
While Windows Phone ships on hardware created by Nokia, HTC, Samsung, LG, Huawei make no mistake, only Nokia really attempts to create an all-encompassing ecosystem for users. Nokia users can expect exclusive applications, great hardware accessories and experiences created by the OEMs that exclusive to their device. Those exclusive software experiences, are the closest thing that Windows Phone users have to any type of OEM customization for their Windows Phone.
Meanwhile, Android users get the run of software features created to make each device unique. The Galaxy S4 includes Air View and Air Gesture. Users of the HTC One can get their hands on the company’s Blink Feed and TV remote applications.
At the end of the day, it’s about creating an ecosystem that’s conducive to creating a large, cohesive experience for users. If those who have Windows Phones don’t feel that the company is heading in that direction quickly enough, simply put, Android is very acceptable alternative.