Has the boat already sailed for new smartphone operating systems? Windows Phone, or WP, is challenging iOS (Apple) and Android for a market share – and failing pretty spectacularly thanks to a ream of glitches. Nothing too unusual for Windows there then, except that its market dominance has this time been challenged from the start!
To name but two of the Windows Phone glitches: Media Player isn’t working properly, and there seems to be some concern that it is also open to incursions from enthusiastic hackers.
Security is a big deal for all smartphones, with Android and BlackBerry trailing significantly behind the iPhone thanks to the fragility of the BlackBerry Messenger system and the open source nature of the Android OS. Windows Phone has hardly done itself a service by launching with a critical security failure, though at least it isn’t as bad as blacking out all email users for several days (BlackBerry, a few months ago).
I think part of the problem, though, stems from the whole image of the Microsoft Corporation, which for years has been synonymous with two things: cutting everyone else out of its own market and having lots of glitches.
Windows and glitches go hand in hand, like ham and eggs or Bert and Ernie. Windows users have for the most part put up with these glitches as a kind of trade-off for being able to exploit the architecture of their system in any way they see fit,. Adding and removing programs at will and getting into the back end of things to sort problems out when they occur. All of which is fine on a desktop or laptop, but less practical on a phone.
The other part of Windows’ reputation – that it is essentially a tool that has brooked no interference from worthy competition – is an unfortunate cross to bear in a market where innovation has traditionally been the way to lead the pack. That said of course, Apple has been forced to face its own critics in recent years for doing the exact same thing, so levying a charge of undue market dominance against Microsoft alone no longer holds water.
The basic problem beyond the Windows Phone’s catastrophic early launch (I’m calling it early because the Phone was released before it worked properly) is an over-eagerness to go into battle with the competition – which is having pretty shocking side effects for developers that were slated to bring home apps on the device. Foundation 42, for example, was forced to cancel a much vaunted application for the Windows Phone 7 because they expected to lose money on the project, thanks to the low user acceptance rate of the technology.
Look at Android and you’ll see an example of a smartphone that knew what it was doing. The Android came in quietly and slowly gathered a following because of its open source nature (directly opposed there to Apple’s closed-book approach), its flexibility and crucially its price. An Android mimics the look and feel of an iPhone in many ways, but it costs around half the price – a perfect way to gain a willing market share for yourself.
It’s a shame for Windows. Apple retains a choke hold on the market but is starting to show cracks, with news items in the past two years pointing out flaws in its products. Windows could have launched a new phone to attract the attention of device users looking for something genuinely new and different – instead, like always, it launched a product that didn’t quite work.
There is a definitive image problem for the Windows Phone, too, which is unlikely to go away unless Microsoft come up with a genuinely viable alternative to Android, iPhone and BlackBerry. Windows is associated with a working environment. It’s an old name tied to a half-obsolete way of doing things – where everything is stored on your computer and the nothing is very secure. It’s about as far away from being synonymous with a cutting edge, all singing all dancing communications device as you could hope to be. And with its first challenge of the market, it’s slipped up pretty badly.
This article is composed and edited by Eva K. She is associated with many Technologies communities as their freelance writer and adviser. In her free time she writes articles related to best mobile broadband , vodafone sim only articles etc.
The DNetWorks Team