Windows Phone 7 was a great operating system, but the adoption rates were not superb. Microsoft had to abandon its old Windows Mobile operating system and had to play catch-up with iOS and Android, both of which appeared years earlier on the mobile OS scene. This resulted in a niche market share for Microsoft.
At the BUILD conference, Microsoft unveiled its newest mobile OS: Windows Phone 8. It looks like an incremental update of the platform point of view GUI, but under the hoods it is a revolutionary update. The internals of WP8 are completely different: based on a NT kernel instead of the CE kernel.
In this article I will explain why I believe WP8 will be able to succeed were WP7 failed to deliver. Why it will be the OS that will allow Microsoft to retake market share in the mobile OS scene.
Let’s start by looking at the Metro GUI…I mean, “Microsoft design language.” Metro is a refreshing and intuitive new design language. When WP7 was released, it was the only platform were Metro was used. Today it has become commonplace, Metro is used on the desktop, on the server, on tablets, on the phone, on the Xbox, on the web, … All of Microsoft offerings are standardizing on the Metro look & feel, offering an integrated end-user experience.
If we look under the hoods, we see the same kernel and the same Windows RT APIs as for the desktop and the tablets. This makes it easier for developers to build applications targeting all platforms. And although a lot of people claim to end of the PC is near, PCs are still used a lot and Windows is the OS that powers most of these machines. In the next couple of months all new PCs will start shipping with Windows 8 installed. Making Windows 8 an important platform for any serious App developer. Windows Phone 8 will also benefit from this.
We should also not forget the enormous catalogue of games available for Windows and powered by DirectX. The availability of C++ and DirectX on WP8 unlocks this catalogue for easy porting to phones. This is a great opportunity for WP8. In the end, the type of applications that matter the most are games. They are the best-selling applications for all (mobile) platforms. And who would not want to play the games of his teenage years like Grand Theft Auto Vice City, Call of Duty 2, Oblivion, … on his mobile when they would become available?
Finally, I am noticing that the media is very positive about the various Windows Phone devices being released. The designs of the new devices are very nice looking and making it great devices to own.
Will my predictions prove correct? Only the future can tell.