Microsoft and Nokia are having a good ride the past few weeks. First the Nokia announcements about the Lumia 920 and 820 went over very well (albeit somewhat tainted by no release dates/prices). Then that was followed by the 920 being poised as a consistent benchmark for the recent iPhone 5 reveal. I just read a Wired magazine poll which at the time of writing has 57% of participants planning the 920 as their next device (vs the iPhone’s 21%).
I’m firstly a technology enthusiast but at the moment, I’m rooting for the underdog. Which is currently Windows Phone by a long way in terms of market share. So all of this media hype is very encouraging and it’s exciting to read about and follow. However, I’m also a little nervous about it. With so much good traction, dropping the ball now would spell some real cringe-worthy headlines so I thought I’d look at some of the more reasonable arguments I’ve spotted (paraphrased from memory).
Without prices and release dates the 920 is so far just Vapourware
You have to wonder, if the reason for lack of pricing and release dates is because it’s just plain not ready yet. The 920 hardware is taking some bold leaps and the Windows Phone platform itself is really dragging its heals. Even those of us committed to be registered Windows Phone developers are being merely teased with a “maybe you’ll get an invite” registration for the SDK. Which to me, wreaks of “do enough to keep them quiet while we finish things up” further enforced by the volume of NDA related wording on the application.
The lack of prices is also something to be nervous about. Speculation is rife and it seems likely Windows Phone devices will remain a more cost-effective option than iPhone but it is probably tempting to look at all of the positive coverage and try to justify equal or *shudder* more than iPhone pricing for the Lumia 920. Same with the Windows 8 Surface tablet vs iPad. I hope this isn’t the case but haven’t ruled it out yet.
Windows Phone 8 is a completely new platform with very little technically in common with Windows Phone 7
If Windows Phone 8 is more in alignment with Windows 8 than Windows Phone 7 then there are many advantages. But, there are a lot of things WP7 did well for us that could be lost. It performed exceptionally well on single core processor phones and in my own experience, my Lumia800 has been the fastest feeling phone I’ve ever used. If Windows Phone 8 becomes a behemoth, dwarfing its predecessor and new devices running dual core and potential more, might we be losing this?
One word – Ecosystem
The standard rehearsed retort to this one for any seasoned WP7 fan is to quote the surpassing of 100k apps for Windows Phone. However, again speaking from experience it is still not an uncommon sight by any means to see “Download our app for iPhone and Android” several times a day. Windows Phone still has a long way to go in terms of comparable platform. Sure you don’t need, want or would use all those apps. But it’s still a little disheartening every time your chosen platform is neglected by “The Next Big Startup Ltd”. Even more so as you know you would probably make that same call.
Betting on Microsoft
It’s easy to claim Microsoft do hardware and pointing to xbox and an array of mice and keyboards. But we tend to forget the quiet failings like the Kin and SPOT and not to mention the more well known mishaps like the xbox red ring of death and less-than-iPod-beating Zune. Whilst the Windows Phone 7 devices have proven their worth to their users and much of the tech press, it’s still yet to make any real dent in the consumer market and is seen by many to be another failing.
All in all, my personal view is that Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are very promising and my current tech wishlist consists of a Lumia 920 and Surface tablet. But it’s certainly not a for sure thing. Microsoft is a still a massive force to be reckoned with but that also means it has a lot of people and resources to get aligned to get Windows Phone (and Windows 8) right. I just hope none of these concerns voiced by many will graduate to the school of “knew it and I told you so”.
Care to chime in and reassure me or cast your predictions of certain doom? @DannyT