Time is moving fast, it seems like yesterday I got my first Windows phone. It was so exciting to have a bold new platform after getting bored by iOS and Android. More than four years later, Windows Phone was left out on the cold to die on its own.
What I liked the most when Windows Phone was first introduced is that it was different. It had many things that other, better platforms didn’t have. I appreciated the whole platform was designed with a smartphone in mind. Big live tiles vs. small static icons, big fonts instead of small, swipe actions instead of buttons, browser address bar at the bottom instead at the top. There were also concepts like hubs which really helped you do the desired actions faster than on other platforms. You can check smoked by windows phone videos and see what was that about. The time was now for Microsoft to try and put Windows Phone devices into people hands.
Many people either immediately liked all this different stuff, or they didn’t understand and didn’t want to bother to learn, and that’s where I think (fixing) problems started. Microsoft wanted to keep the platform as it is, different than other and let users learn it. Nokia at that time on its own did really good job on innovating and promoting its Lumia line of phones. But as it turned out, people weren’t willing to learn the new platform, most of them got the Windows Phone because it was affordable and at that time more performant than cheap Android phones. While Microsoft did work on the platform, it didn’t change the look and feel of the platform. All that users saw was leaving WP7 without upgrade, then in 8.1 introducing Cortana and other PC-shared functionality. During this time cheap Android phones got better and there were less reasons for users who didn’t care about apps to choose Windows Phone and market share got stagnating before even taking off.
Many things happened that affected Windows Phone’s fate, Nokia acquisition, Microsoft CEO change, Windows 10. All these were quite a burden during the time that was crucial for Windows Phone to take off. Microsoft got bored of all this catch-up game and started to focus more on PCs where it had it’s strongest impact. They now wanted to make one OS for all devices that are interested in running it. Phones were now less important, they didn’t want to sell hardware and wanted to leave it all to OEMs. Now, almost a year after Windows 10 release, it’s still not very usable on the phone, it’s simply not a phone OS, not competitive with iOS, Android or even Windows Phone. They hope to make it better next year, but that’s quite some time for Microsoft to change it’s mind again. Terry Myerson says Windows Phone because of its small user base is not the platform to do cool new things at the moment, and that basically sums it all. And here’s a really good article that made me write this post.
For Windows Phone a long and sad death by abandonment. For Windows 10 a hope that it will eventually become a good platform for smartphones. But since Microsoft hopes to get started working on it next year then who knows when and if this will ever happen. For me it will be either iOS or Android. I used both of them before and I’m not happy having to return to one of them, but at the moment we don’t have the third platform like we did with Windows Phone five years ago.