In my opinion, Windows phones had one of the best user interfaces for any mobile OS. Windows phones had great potential, however, Microsoft made a huge mistake. Some people point to Windows phones being late to the game, however, Windows Mobile (also known as Pocket PC, and not to be confused with Windows 10 Mobile) was one of the earliest mobile operating systems. While Windows Mobile is not the same as Windows Phone, Microsoft still had a mobile operating system before iOS and Android existed. So, what caused Windows Phone to fail? Well I’m pointing it to these 3 things.
Windows cost money. When you buy a computer, the manufacturer has to pay for Windows 10. Microsoft continued this strategy with phones. For example, if Samsung decided to make a Windows Phone, Samsung would have to pay for the Windows phone OS. There’s just one problem, Android exists. Android is completely free, so if you owned Samsung, why would have to pay to run Windows on your company’s phone. This would make you less profit per phone. If you used Android, you would make more profit per phone. Later Microsoft made Windows free for devices with a screen size less then 7 inches, but it was too late.
Microsoft also bought Nokia which became Microsoft’s first party manufacturer for Windows phones. This means that if Samsung made a Windows phone, they would have to compete with Microsoft’s own Nokia brand, as well as all the other Android phones and iPhones. For this phone to be successful, this phone would have to be outrageously good in order to make up for the shortcomings of Windows Phone.
Windows phone lacked tons of essential apps. Developers didn’t support it because of the lack of Windows phone users, however, some users won’t use Windows phone because of the lack of apps. App support has gotten slightly better with the Universal Windows Platform, and there are a couple apps on Windows Phone that I wish would come to Android such as MyTube (a YouTube client). However, the Windows Store is still a joke.
The Death of Windows Phone
Back in 2016, Nokia’s brand was sold to HMD Global, and HMD is doing some cool stuff with Nokia phones. This was the first signal from Microsoft of the death of Windows Phone. Eventually, on October 9th, 2017, Microsoft finally admitted Windows Phone was dead. Microsoft also decided to stop working on new features for Windows 10 Mobile and only push security and bug fixes updates for the platform. (Source: The Verge) Windows Phone is dead now.
Now that Microsoft finally realized Windows Phone is dead, they shifted their focus to Android. Even while Windows Phones were being developed, Microsoft made tons of money licensing the FAT32 file system to phone manufacturers. Microsoft eventually released Microsoft Launcher which is a launcher for Android. Microsoft Launcher is integrated into Windows 10, integrates with your Microsoft apps, which all syncs with Windows. You could browse the web in Edge on Android, then switch to your computer with the press of a button. Microsoft also released the “Your Phone” app for Windows 10. With it, you can mirror Android apps to your computer natively on Windows 10, and do stuff like text with your friends, and browse your phone’s photos.
Microsoft has been partnering with Samsung. Microsoft is selling the Samsung Galaxy S9 through the Microsoft store, and the Galaxy S8 had a Microsoft edition with Microsoft apps pre-installed. Despite the fact Samsung Dex is a direct competitor to continuum for Windows Phones, Samsung Dex supports Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint as well as, Microsoft Remote Desktop, OneDrive, and Skype.
In conclusion, Microsoft is not abandoning the smartphone market. While Microsoft did essentially abandon Windows 10 Mobile, they are shifting their focus over to Android.