Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Bad News If You Have A Microsoft 7 'Swiss Army' Smartphone

The smartphone is getting smarter and and as we all migrate to the platform its usage changes significantly such that a recent survey of O2 customers claims users spend twice as much time browsing the web, and also they spend more time checking social networking sites, playing app-based games and listening to music than they do making calls. Checking Emails now follows making calls followed by text messaging, watching TV and films and reading books and taking pictures. The smartphone is becoming the device that now not only connects people but is rapidly becoming even as important as your wallet which it could even replace soon.

However it is still an evolving technology and no one can claim that they have found the mobile solution for the future, just the one for today. We are all aware that Blackberry is going out of fashion and running out of puff. It had a good run, created the mobile email world we now all live in, but somehow never moved on. Apple continues to be the design icon and tablet solution to have and despite all the denials, looks to be on the path to converging the iPhone and current tablet with the first step being a smaller tablet later this year. Android is no longer a contender, but the player who is the winning the marketshare and claiming just over 50% share. And then there is Microsoft who promises lots and just delivers confusion.

The issue often in the marketplace is fragmentation. This is were the underlying operating system is not uniform across the market and this is exacerbated by devices taking a specific release and developing on it and so potentially restricting their ability to be upward compatible with future releases. Amazon’s adoption of Android is an example of this. However trying to keep all devices, apps all compatible with a rapidly developing OS can be a challenge unless like Apple everything is from the same stable and brings other issues.

The company that once again appears to be lost is Microsoft with its mobile OS offer. First there was a company desperate to catch up with the others and with windows 7 to launched their platform to compete. They even got the other lost soul, Nokia, to effectively drop their OS hot-potch of an offer and come on board. Nokia Lumia was heralded as the new benchmark, the new platform, the new dawn. Now Microsoft have dumped Windows 7 and started again with Windows 8. Its not upward compatible and so those who bought the Windows 7 package effectively bought a pup that would always stay as a pup.

Windows Phone 8 is a clean break with Windows Phone 7, which only launched in autumn 2010 as a clean break from Windows whatever. Importantly for developers and users it has a completely new kernel and no forward compatibility for apps and built specifically for Windows Phone 8 won't run on 7.8 devices. Microsoft obviously could wait until windows 8 so brought out windows 7, but the question is, how long Microsoft knew that they were effectively selling a dead end road, as its certain that Windows 8 didn’t drop out of the sky overnight!

So as we all get more hooked on our smartphones and as they become the true mobile ‘swiss army knife’ we only need to be careful that our attachment to any one device or OS is limited to our contract term and expect to change sides as loyalty will not to always be rewarded.

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