Android has experienced huge growth lately, but that is mainly because it’s the only smartphone platform alternative to iOS-iPhone. OEMs (HTC, Samsung, etc.) in need of an advanced OS for their smartphones had only one option to go with: Google Android (iOS and iPhone are a closed software-hardware platform.) It’s clear that there is room for other players and it’s definitely not too late for the Windows Phone.
Smartphone growth should start to plateau soon and then the platform penetration will happen within the existing smartphone user base, and in many ways related to the churn and cellphone contract renewals cycles. In this context is where a better user experience and product ecosystem among other factors will make a mobile OS successful.
Windows Mobile 7 has been around for over a year now without getting lots of traction, but that can change and here are some reasons why:
- OEMs (other than Motorola) should be concerned that Google owns Android and Motorola; it is open to other operating systems’ options to run in its hardware.
- Impressive devices that can compete with the iPhone are starting to appear. The Microsoft-Nokia partnership has already produced a really nice device, the Nokia Lumia 900. HTC and Samsung are also producing nice Windows Phone devices.
- Microsoft has the best and most complete technology stack to support mobile and, for that matter, any screen. Think of Visual Studio, .NET Framework, SharePoint, SQL, Dynamics, BizTalk, SkyDrive, Office, Bing, Maps, Skype, HealthVault, etc. Anything you can think of as needed is there in a robust, very well-integrated framework.
- There is a huge MS developer community and highly experienced architects specialized in MS technologies. Lots of people can program in Visual Basic, and with a shorter learning curve, they can start developing mobile apps.
- Microsoft has an interesting and well-adopted ecosystem around home entertainment with Xbox, Kinect, Zune, etc., where mobile devices will play nicely.
- Microsoft is coming to mobile without any baggage. Most of the experimentation has already happened and unlike Android, it doesn’t have to deal with previous versions, backward compatibility, etc. It’s a fresh start in many ways.
- Windows Mobile is a gorgeous OS. Metro is a beautiful and intuitive interface that will drive consistency across the different surfaces of mobile, TV, gaming, kiosk, desktop computers, tablets, etc.
- Microsoft has the pockets to stay in the run for a long time and mobile is not going anywhere.