What if Windows Phone went Android?
Today Microsoft revealed great sales, and brilliant profits -- so is the company surviving the “post-PC” era? It seems like, but for how long? Despite doubling Surface sales, Windows’ tablets still only account for 3.4% of the market.
Windows 8 was developed in mind to cater for this new era; enabling use on touch-based devices and hoping to (eventually) create development easy across platforms – whether desktop, tablet, laptop, hybrid, smartphone, or even console…
The latest version of the company’s primary OS has failed to gain traction; with only 6.89% running this iteration – compared to 47.52% on Windows 7.
Possibly as a knock-on effect, or simply just as a relatively new contender, Windows Phone (in the States) only has 4.7% marketshare… albeit up from 2.6% the previous year.
The OS is certainly growing (it’s now reached 10% share in Britain) but the smartphone is an important market for Microsoft to have a substantial play in, for this reason, they may have a backup plan…
At MWC this year in February, it’s widely-expected Nokia will release an entry to mid-level Android handset codenamed ‘Normandy’. In an article yesterday, our sister site TelecomsTech speculated the company (who was acquired by Microsoft for $7bn last September) will be using the device to help regain the emerging markets which Nokia had historically dominated with Symbian.
However, on Twitter, the founder of Mobile Ways had his own interesting speculation…
Quite fascinating: Normandy = run on any Android phone, replace Google services with Microsoft/Nokia services, run most Android apps ...— Jan Ole Suhr (@janole) January 24, 2014
The concept is clever, and would be simple in its execution. Google currently offers its Android OS for free with no licensing fee, Microsoft could essentially ‘skin’ the OS to appear and function like Windows Phone – whilst replacing Google’s services with Microsoft’s own.
The end user may have access to Google’s vast library of mobile applications; whilst Microsoft would retain control of the user experience and services offered. Amazon has already achieved this with success on their “Fire OS” - which runs on the Kindle Fire HD tablets.
The most likely scenario, since Windows Phone is on the rise, is that Microsoft will continue their strategy and see how it plays out… but at this point it’d be surprising if the company hasn’t at least considered this as a backup plan if all else fails and they need to keep their hand in mobile.
With the departure of CEO Steve Ballmer, who gets the blame pointed at for being late to the mobile and tablet market, it seems the execs at Microsoft are ready to push out the old and bring in the new… and it seems to be the same case with Windows 8 itself.
Despite not being remotely ready at this point; it sounds a near-certain developers will be getting their first look at Windows 9 at the BUILD conference in March this year – with a release in April 2015. Whilst currently pure rumour, albeit some Windows 8.1 “Update 1” leaks pointing towards being the case, it sounds like Microsoft will be moving the “Modern UI” towards the traditional desktop -- providing a less-jarring experience for long-term users.
In the image above, you can see the ability to “pin” apps from the Windows Store onto the taskbar. This would make using the desktop much easier with the ability to quickly access the beautiful (personal opinion) full-screen applications found in the new Windows UX.
And Windows Phone 8.1? Well that sounds like it will have some interesting features of itself…
Do you think Microsoft has considered moving Windows Phone to Android?