This is a guest post written by Nick Patrick – Writer for Windows8Phones
The rivalry of iOS and Android is now something of an everyday event in the world of consumer electronics. The love for each other’s devices simply leads to hate with one another, and no matter what you do, a loyalist in the other side would never find anything good on the other.
So far other players like the Blackberry OS just ride the fight out, taking a step back from the frontlines to try to come up with their own innovations. But then there are also other players in the tech business who seems to hold great interest in the field of mobile devices.
Take Microsoft for example. They’ve had quite a degree of success in the mobile world with their Windows Phone OS. But in just a few months, they would step up their mobile OS once again with their official release of Windows 8 Phones. Would if finally become the new wedge into the iOS versus Android rivalry?
Now, this isn’t the writing of some futurist, but there are a few points that would be shared in this article that would likely affect how Windows 8 Phones will be accepted.
Marketing and General Popularity
What has been fully tested shall be used more frequently. Even in the world of smartphones, popularity is always driven by which came first, and which are the ones that are fully tested to be great and reliable. Android became popular because it was released free and became widely used by many tablet and phone manufacturers. iOS became popular simply because it was the first (as a touch-input based OS).
Take a look at Windows 7 phones. Honestly, it wasn’t a bad OS at all. The specs of phones that are installed with it are nearly identical to some of the popularly known mainstream smartphones out there. In fact, in terms of overall browsing “smoothness”, Windows 7 phones could even compete on even grounds using a single core processor (of the same frequency) with another mobile OS using a dual-core processor.
App availability is also hardly an issue, and although it has fewer apps than Android and iOS, the number certainly isn’t what you would call as lacking.
Microsoft would probably have to plan a strategic marketing strategy in order gain a more advantageous position using Windows Phone 8. But aside from the popularity issue, they also have to deal with that fact that…
The Concept of Pocket PC’s
One of the things that I was really excited about smartphones and mobile operating system in general is the possibility of using phones as pocket PC’s. Of course the idea isn’t entirely new. Even before the advent of smartphones, integrated PDA’s have attempted this. The criterion of productivity is even one of the most important points that fuel that never-ending battle of iOS and Android.
I for once tried to use my Galaxy Note as a makeshift laptop, using a keyboard accessory, and a few productivity apps to write up the day’s work. The experience was quite satisfactory, and I was able to work conveniently just as how I would do it using my laptop.
The experience however, was quite different when I tried to borrow a Windows 7 phone, Nokia Lumia 800. Bad is going to be an understatement, it’s practically horrible. Just imagine editing sentences word per word. It just slows down everything. I would have done better without the editing options, at least I won’t get to whine at how half-assed the options were presented.
Nevertheless, the experience in mobile is still so different when work is done on a full Mac OS X or Windows PC environment. It’s understandable that smartphones and tablets are not really designed like full PC’s, but the mobile OS platforms that we have today are already so close to that functionality. Why not take a few more steps further to reach that level?
With the impressive specifications that smartphones have today, all you have to do is hook up the phone to a screen and presto! You now have an instant PC. Communication enhancements seem to be the bulk of the Windows 8 Phone update, but I am hoping that the new multi-platform attribute would bring about better Office editing capability. That or an Android or iOS office app that can do (on its own) integrated word-per-word spellchecking.
The Proprietary Status of Windows 8 Phones OS
One of the biggest things that I still find a bit odd about the Windows Phone OS is that it is not free. Of course, even someone like me understands the idea of commercial propriety software, but when compared to other contenders, it just looks weird. iOS is directly owned by Apple, so they don’t need licensing rights, while Android is simply open source and freely given to everyone.
It’s not that being proprietary is negative, but try to think of how many manufacturing companies are interested in licensing Windows Phone OS. It’s just that licensing might mitigate its popularization on future devices.
In any case, if it’s going to stay that way, I think Windows 8 need to drive it’s future using innovation, because if it doesn’t it won’t be able to become the wedge needed to split the two major mobile OS platforms apart. It might even slowly lose the hype that it had built during its development period, and fall into the same generic category as other mobile operating systems.