Last week I had the pleasure of trying out one of the new Nokia Lumina 900 smartphones, which features the Windows Phone operating system using Metro. For those of you who have had the opportunity to try either of Microsoft’s test releases of Windows 8, you have probably struggled with a love/hate relationship with the Metro design. No matter what your opinion of Metro, or your opinion of Windows 8, there is one thing that I know for sure. The Nokia 900 is a fine piece of engineering and compares favorably with any Apple iPhone or Google Android smartphone that I have used.
So this morning when I read What’s Wrong with Windows Phone? from Ian Paul of PC World, I had to ask myself the same question. What is wrong with Windows Phone and why are consumers ignoring it? Will the same fate befall Windows 8 and will consumers reject the new Windows 8 tablets?
Mr. Paul did an excellent job describing his opinion of why Windows Phone is a flop:
- Bad timing of its launch.
- Carrier partnerships and lack of support for Windows Phone.
- Muddled marketing messages.
- Deficit of applications when compared to what is being offered by Apple and Android platforms.
One thing I am sure Windows 8 will receive is plenty of support from OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] like Dell, HP, Sony, Acer, Asus, Toshiba, and others who build PCs. Their very existence as computer companies is all dependent on Windows 8’s success and how well the public accepts the new operating system. Now toss in Intel, which has seen all of these smartphones and tablets use non-Intel CPUs and you can small the lust for blood.
In the smartphone arena, Apple led the way when it first introduced its extremely popular iPhone on June 29, 2007. This gem brought us a combination of telephone and computer into a single, slim design. The operating system was a marvel of invention and, once again, Intel was nowhere to be seen. Next we saw the introduction of a fleet of Google Android cellphones that have flooded the market place and now hold the number one spot in cellphone sales. No Microsoft, no Intel.
However, one of the problems I believe that may plague Windows 8 is the same problem that is plaguing the Windows Phone. Microsoft is showing up late to the tablet party. There was a time when Microsoft and Intel didn’t have to compete. They just produced their software and hardware and consumers scooped up PCs like a child scoops up candy. But that all ended on March 12, 2010. That was the day that Apple introduced its first iPad. The iPad was a piece of art that mesmerized the user with a whiz-bang operating system featuring a non-Intel processor.
Fast forward some two and one-half years later and Apple iPad controls the tablet market and Google Android controls the smartphone market. What is needed is a whiz-bang operating system to blow Windows users’ minds and what do we get? We get a variation of the Windows Phone operating system with a lackluster list of applications that is years behind the Apple iTunes Store and Google Play for the Android OS.
Now before everyone who reads this jumps down my throat hollering “He’s an Apple fan boy,” this is not the case. In fact, for my main systems, I use Windows 7 to surf, write, and edit my blog postings. Trying to use the Apple iPad, Android smartphone, or Amazon Kindle Fire to accomplish real work for me is a non-issue. I rely on Windows and Microsoft Office for my daily chores. The other devices I own are supplements to — not replacements for — a full-blown Windows 7 system.
I have been faithfully upgrading my Windows systems since Windows first was introduced. The only version of Windows I never used was Windows ME. I always wanted to have the latest and greatest operating system from Microsoft on my computers and paid for the upgrades to have the latest geek toy. Microsoft has decided to change the way Windows functions after some 17 years of having a Start button. I personally don’t see an issue with using a Start screen in lieu of a Start button.
There are enough opinions being bantered about concerning the one Windows OS for both desktop/laptop computers and tablets. The questions that will need to be answered will be these:
- Will consumers see any benefit to using Windows 8 on a desktop or laptop computer?
- Will consumers flock to Windows 8 on the tablet platform?
These and other questions will not be answered until after Microsoft releases the full blown version to manufacturing sometime later this year. How consumers and businesses alike respond to the newest and latest operating system from Microsoft is still an unknown that one can only guess as to the results, good or bad.
As for myself, I am going to hold off judgment until the final release goes public and I have had a chance to try the full operating system on my test computer. I would recommend that those of you who chose to read this far into this article do the same. There are too many variables to make an informed decision just yet.
CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by backofthenapkin