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January 26th 2012 9:53 am

How much of an impact will Windows mobile have on Android and iPhones?

The way I see it, this fragmentation - with allowing the OEMs to add their own little flavor to the vanilla Android OS (Blur for Motorola, Sense for HTC, etc.), it just delays all the phones from being instantly updated. That much is obvious. Microsoft did it right, just like Apple - they told the OEMs, essentially saying: "There will be no tweaking of the Windows Mobile OS. It will be deployed as is."

This allows them to push out updates instantly to every phone out there at the same time, barring any hardware shortcomings of the device. With Android? I have a Motorola Photon with dual-core processor and 1G RAM purchased in August and Motorola still hasn't pushed out an update. Nor are we the only ones with powerful devices without Ice Cream Sandwich OS.

I am thinking that many users switched to Android solely because Windows phones were basically underpowered at the time when Android came out and was the only real alternative to an iPhone. This year, when Windows 8 arrives, that changes things. People will be able to have Windows 8 on their: desktop, laptop and tablet - the same user interface across all 3 platforms. Now if only they could have a windows phone to better communicate with that OS? Of course - Windows Mobile Phones.

See where I'm heading? With so much frustration with the fragmentation coming out of Mountain View, and apparently Seattle has finally come around to getting a phone right... this could finally be a 3-man race. My question is, "Who will it hurt more? Android or the iPhone?" Will iPhone users go to Windows Mobile phones because they aren't Android? Will Android users go to Windows? Time will tell.

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6 replies

I think Windows Mobile OS has the potential to take a significant bite of the mobile OS market because of multiple reason:
  1. Their relationship with Nokia
  2. Restrictive hardware requirements
  3. The OS is not open source and therefor fragmentation can be minimized
Now having said that, Microsoft has some major hurdles to overcome:
  1. Late entry into the mobile OS arena with a credible product
  2. No significant eco-system.
  3. Limited number of apps. They will have to attract media and developers
  4. Limited media. They will need movies, books, etc.
Who will it hurt more? Depends where in the world you are talking. Windows should do well in the emerging and other low income and European markets via Nokia. Windows phones are going to have a difficult time in established markets like the US. Apple will do well in higher income and established markets as well as China. Apple should also do well in markets where the carriers subsidize their phones. Android based phones should also continue to do well in the middle to lower income markets in both established and emerging markets.
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There is also the argument that with the synchronization with XBOX, and the tie-ins with MS Office products that it will be very comfortable for people to use. Also with the latter comfort level with MS Office, it might make inroads into the workplace that RIM used to have and that the iPhone and Android devices are creeping there way into now.

I have a Photon (Android) phone right now and am very happy with it - would be happier if there was a more cohesive timeline as to when everyone's phone would be updated however. I will definitely not rule out a Windows phone when my contract runs out in a little over a year. By then I should have a good idea of where they MS Mobile is headed.

Will they be hitting the marketplace like a storm, or will they come in with a trickle and leave with a whimper like my old ZuneHD (sore subject).
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i think that when windows phone is updated to Win Phone 8 we will see the integration you are hoping for between the phone and the desktop. i think thats why the last update was just called 7.5 and not 8. i think they are going to use the "8" as the unifier between the two.
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Windows phone OS have already killed Symbian and now wants to attack Android. People don't find Windows phone OS interesting because of its theme with tiles. Actually that makes Windows phone OS need lower performance than Android. Today,most Android phones have dual core processors with the speed of 1 GHz or more because its theme have animations and also apps running in the background unless you close them. Microsoft makes thing simple. So, I think when Windows 8 comes out, Android will be affected by some level.
Apple has already got strong supporters around the world. It won't be affected like Android because of its many many apps.
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I agree, i think that when Win Phone really hits its stride its going to hurt every one else more than it will apple. But i think the main reason is that people are going to be so intrenched in the apple ecosystem they won't want to leave.

if you are in the google ecosystem you ran book in iOS device and i belive windows also, Google Music works just about every where I am not sure about their movie service though so other than apps you won't loose a lot moving to another platform. that can't be said when leaving apple and i think thats why fewer people leave once they have really gotten invested in the apple machine.
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There is no doubt that Apple will not lose any iOS market share because of a Windows Phone. Anyone who does not want iOS has gone to Android. Many of them are frustrated with the carrier ways of late updates to OS versions and bundled bloatware. Many are also a little sore that the Android phone they just bought seems to be so hardware challenged that it really is worth the 0$ they paid for it. They have been waiting for Windows to get with the program and offer something that has no resemblance to Windows CE 1.0 - Windows Mobile 6.5. They will switch to Windows Phone.

Finally, there are many companies that want Blackberry devices on their network. Blackberrys that actually do more than email and make calls. RIM has turned their back on customers and Microsoft should do all they can to fill that void. Of course, with so many employers now allowing iOS and Android phones to replace Blackberrys on their networks, employees have come to expect more. That is why if Windows Phone can deliver even 70% of the experience of Android, but still provide a more appealing business focus (with Office alone), companies will adopt Windows Phones and employees will not feel quite so slighted.

In the end, I see Android being the phone OS of the "hacker enthusiast" and the "cheap phone connoisseur". iOS will hold on to the "Apple Elitests," the "my phone is a fashion statement," and the "I just want an easy smartphone that works well" crowds. Windows Phone will take the people who do not want iOS and the businesses that think they can integrate this OS better into their corporate needs.
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