What Windows Phone “Was”
It’s easy to think of Microsoft’s Windows phone as a failure. It didn’t sell very well and it never had that many apps available on it. But Windows phone and all of it started in October, 2010. It was something new and it was going to challenge Google and Apple’s market share. Of course that isn’t what happened in the end…
The Downward Spiral of Innovation
While Microsoft did an amazing job in creating something new, it was also not widely accepted. Google and Apple were already in the industry several years ahead. Companies like HP, HTC and Nokia had developed phones incorporating the operating system, but it couldn’t save Microsoft’s efforts in the end. Not long after HP’s phone release, Microsoft announced a shift in focus away from their own mobile operating system (OS for short).
The Innovation Behind Windows Phone
The whole idea behind Microsoft’s new OS was the use of “Live Tiles”. This made your home screen interactive in a way that hadn’t previously been used. Google and Apple have apps that update and display information, but Microsoft took it a step further. Windows Phone added simplicity and elegant design.
Live Tiles and Connectivity
Not only were the home screen tiles something special, but with the release of Windows Phone 10 came another kind of connectivity known as Continuum. Microsoft had a vision that one day phones would become much more like computers, therefore they should be treated as such. You could use your phone as a Windows computer and access a lot of the similar programs that you know and love. Companies were releasing docking stations and Microsoft had wireless connectivity as well. Samsung had similar methods but none quite as developed as the Windows phone.
A Strong Tool for Productivity
Because Microsoft is great at using office tools and software, they knew what you needed to be productive. Their phone OS was the key to that success and it showed promise for awhile. A lot of companies jumped on board and the store added several more apps. Companies like Nokia, truly helped Microsoft’s initial success. Having their MS Office software loaded onto devices also helped to push the “productivity” view, but it wasn’t enough.
The Struggles of Competition
Microsoft did great initially but challenging companies like Google and Apple, wasn’t maintainable. Advertising, partnerships and convincing companies to support their product was a constant battle. Google had most of the market share which allowed them to bully smaller companies in that industry. Google refused to allow their YouTube app to run on Windows phones. That stirred up some arguments which didn’t help you, the consumer in the end for either side. Too much competition, too much bullying and ultimately a market that was already crowded to join.
The Importance for Increased Privacy
It has always been important to have privacy and security on your mobile devices. Windows phone was more secure during it’s development for a couple of reasons. The app store had fewer apps but also better control over the flow. Privacy controls were easily accessible but that was a part of having an excellent OS, that could be navigated by those who have less experience. Google, on Android tends to do the opposite of that by complicating things unnecessarily. However, Google’s Android is more designed for gathering information for their profiting purposes. No matter what the device is, always make sure you understand what data you are giving away!
The Future Needs More Competition
In the end, no matter the reason for Microsoft’s failure in mobile devices, it was a needed addition. Companies like Google and Apple need more innovation. Google has kept their Android OS very similar in style and accessibility, and we need more improvements. Phone companies need to get back to innovating rather than just going with the flow using the same old same old! Hopefully we see Microsoft trying again someday because they are capable of disrupting the market. Microsoft has a lot of assets and skill to potentially challenge the smartphone market again, should they choose to stick with it next time. But until then, drop a comment or suggestion “here” to let me know your thoughts!
Screenshots — Done by [Brandon Santangelo] (No endorsements from apps shown, illustrative purposes only).
Originally published at techvirtuosity.com on January 21, 2019.