Windows Phone: Is There a Pulse?

Amidst all of the news that Android generates, there’s still one article here and there about Windows Phone 8 and Nokia’s insistent commitment to make devices for the platform. Is there something to this? Perhaps Windows on a mobile device is something to look into? This is a question that has probably crossed your mind more than once, but you can’t seem to find a definitive answer. Windows Phone has been one of those phenomenon where a company tries to get into the mobile market and can’t seem to break the ice with the crowd. But is it going to stay that way for the next few years? As 2014 approaches, it’s a good a time as any to assess Microsoft’s success with mobile platforms.

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To start off, Windows and Android aren’t comparable. That’s a fact. Android has chewed up so much of the market (and even taken a lot of it away from Apple) that it really doesn’t matter what Microsoft does. Android will have a strong say in what the future of mobile phones looks like. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Microsoft won’t have its niche.

Right now, Microsoft and BlackBerry (formerly RIM) are grappling for third place. BlackBerry’s announcement that it will release its Messenger (BBM) app for Android and iOS is technically a bad move for the company, as many people bought BlackBerry phones because of this function. If the competition will have BBM, this means that there won’t be any logical reason why someone would forego getting an Android or iOS phone in favor of a BlackBerry. Microsoft doesn’t suffer from this problem, so I see it emerging the champ between the two. Its market share is growing while BB’s is falling.

Another rather overly optimistic, but still valid, report shows that Windows Phone market share has grown 150 percent to reach twice as many mobile users as BlackBerry and directly competing with iOS as the number-two mobile operating system. It’s something to think about if you’re considering ditching iOS for something, but dislike the Android experience.

While Windows may have a meager success rate at only 3.6 percent of worldwide market share, it seems to be catching on in Europe (with figures leading into 10 percent in the top five European markets). When looking at the data from this angle, it’s no longer a fringe operating system. This is an actual contender.

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Yes, reading figures about market share growth is nice, but what about the experience? It’s not like people haven’t bought things in the past out of impulse, boosting a sub-par product’s market share through the roof. In the case of Windows Phone, it all depends on how you feel about mobile devices and what you use them for. Android has the most versatile experience, so it’s got the utility part nailed down. Also in Windows’ disadvantage is the fact that its app repository isn’t as large as Android’s.

Aside from these little factoids, you’ll have to judge for yourself whether Windows Phone works for you. Its reception was rather turbulent. Some people hated it with a passion, while others felt that it was the best thing since the Atari 2600.

Your only best bet is to go to a store and sample a phone. That’s about all I can say. Aside from that, you can check out some reviews featuring some of the flagship Windows devices.

As was previously mentioned, there aren’t as many apps in Windows’ repository as there are in Android (Google Play) and iOS (App Store). There’s a growing number of developers who are committed to making apps for this third operating system, but the number isn’t growing nearly as fast as one would like it to. More than a year after its release, you’ll still find yourself frustrated finding services that support Windows Phone 8. This is a sad reality you’ll have to deal with for a long time.

That said, there are still hundreds of thousands of apps available for Windows, and that number is likely to skyrocket as market share in Europe grows.

The short answer to this question is “definitely.” Whether Windows will stay at the heels of Android or not remains to be seen, though. Windows is gaining some ground, but Android is a tough force to contend with. In the meantime, Microsoft will continue to subsidize its operating system until it gathers up momentum. We only hope that Windows will deserve the market share it gets.

Thoughts or comments? Leave them below, as always!