When it comes to choosing a mobile phone, most people will assume the choice boils down to picking an iPhone or an Android device. These are the two best known mobile platforms, and the two that have the largest following and the best support in terms of apps.
But despite this fact, these are not the only two options you have. Of course there’s Blackberry which has slowly fallen out of favor but still has supporters who enjoy the physical keyboard, but there’s also Windows 8 Mobile – which hasn’t gained the traction that the other two have but is certainly one to watch. Here’s why Microsoft could yet pull away and prove to be the surprise winner of the mobile industry…
The State of Windows Mobile
Right now Windows Mobile is not quite living up to its full potential. Critics tend to agree that although the operating system is very elegant and great to look at, it unfortunately doesn’t quite offer the support in terms of apps that one would expect. Basic apps are missing from the store, which partly comes down to disagreements between Google and Microsoft – meaning that many of the Google apps that people use on a daily basis just aren’t there for Windows users.
What you’re left with is an operating system that looks great and functions well, but that doesn’t give you many games to play or as many social media options to use. Thus fewer people are using Windows Mobile, which in turn means the developers just aren’t being drawn there.
The biggest win for Windows phone in recent times has been the Nokia Lumia 1020 – a phone with a 41 megapixel camera that has won over a lot of casual users who value their phone cameras highly. The most common comment you hear on it though?
‘Shame it’s running Windows’
The big news recently with regards to Microsoft and the mobile industry was of course the company’s acquisition with Nokia. For a long time Nokia had been the only big name developing Windows phones, but now Microsoft will have full control over the company which will enable them to carry out their vision exactly the way they see it. If nothing else this shows that Microsoft is still very interested in the industry and that they obvious have some kind of plan in motion.
But what is that plan?
Well if you listen carefully to interviews with Microsoft insiders, you may have spotted a few clues. They continuously talk about a ‘consistent experience’ across devices, and have even mentioned potentially combining Windows RT with Windows Phone – and that’s where things could get interesting.
Both Windows RT and Windows Phone run on ARM chips, both of them use the same development language, and both of them have a slight dearth of apps and users. If both environments were to be combined then, you would suddenly see both platforms double in terms of apps and users and that would build huge momentum for both devices.
At the same time this would also likely mean that Windows Phone would now be able to support multitasking in the same way that Windows RT can (think clipping lots of apps together), and potentially that it would gain access to a similar desktop environment for more traditional web surfing and programming. It would mean you’d have a full desktop browser with the power to run pretty much any web app, and it would make integration far more simple with your desktop PC and even your Xbox. All of these platforms already now have access to the same SkyDrive, but if Microsoft goes this route then you may even be able to run some of the very same apps on your Windows 8 PC as you could on your Windows 8 phone for unprecedented ease when it comes to switching between devices.
Combine this with a phone that has a large screen and some kind of clever support for a keyboard and trackpad (in a manner similar to the Surface) and you’d have a truly killer phone on your hands that would be hands-down the best-in-class for productivity. So don’t count Microsoft out just yet – they may still surprise us…
Today’s guest author, Travis, has wrote for SellCell.com before, and works as a software developer for Cellphone Unlocker, a company which offers cell phone unlock codes. An avid tech geek and a programmer at heart, he likes writing codes for programs in his free time.