I lasted a month with my Windows 8 phone. We had some goodtimes – we had some not so good times. There is an old saying that goes something like this that describes my feeling about the Windows 8 phone. It goes like this, “Wishing for something doesn’t make it true”. Don’t get me wrong. I really – really want Microsoft to find success with their Windows phone. There are some unique benefits to their phone that cannot be found anywhere else. However the Windows phone is in the baby stages of development and there is still a little work to be done before Microsoft can truly nudge their way into relevance in the smartphone world. This is not to be unexpected, the head start Apple (2007) and Android (2008) have over Microsoft (2010) is significant. If you further consider that Microsoft only launched their Windows 8 phone on December 20, 2012 they truly have a lot of ground to catch up.
After using the Windows 8 phone for a month I came to the following conclusions.
It’s all about the Apps
Sadly it’s all about the Apps for many smartphone users. Android and Apple have done an amazing job of enticing companies to develop apps for their smartphones. If you are a business you almost are required today to develop and release an IPhone and Android app. The amount of Apps has exploded since 2007 and 2008. Microsoft has a lot of catch up to do here if they want consumers to move to their eco-system. The good news is I believe Microsoft realizes this and they are working to increase the amount of Apps available as quickly as possible.
I Want My Music
Yes – I know this is not exactly business related. However most users of smart phones have stopped carrying separate portable music players and rely on their smartphone for this. In addition if Microsoft is going to be successful with their Windows phones they cannot rely only on the professional consumer. This is what RIM did and look what has happened to that company. Microsoft has never got the music player right. Microsoft’s biggest effort with music players was Zune (2006) which never competed with Apple in any meaningful way. This was simply because Zune is not that good. It was overly complicated. The music player on the Windows 8 phone is not much better. Importing music and tags* is erratic and overly complex. This will need to improve as well for the Windows phone to find mass appeal.
* Tags contain the information in music files such as artist name, song name, album title, album year, album art in additional to other details regarding the song file.
The Windows Advantage
There are some great advantages that Microsoft has over Apple and Android even at this early stage. The first and most important is Microsoft Office integration. With the addition of SkyDrive integration accessing documents is far easier and efficient on the Windows phone then any of its competitors.
Sharepoint and Lync users will also find the integration of these services seemless, which is not true on Android and IPhones.
Microsoft has demonstrated real innovation with the Windows 8 operating system. Moving away from icons that include several screens to a live tile interface is the first real change in smartphones since 2007. Because of this live tile interface no 2 Windows 8 phones look alike once the user begins customizing their phone. This cannot be said for IPhones and Android phones.
I will stay on top of the continued development of the Windows 8 phone. I hope to find myself using a Windows 8 phone again. I truly believe it has the capability to become a true option not just for the everyday consumer but professional organizations as well.