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Strategically, this was the right thing to do. Microsoft unified its Windows development using a common operating system kernel and, increasingly, developer APIs across phones, tablets, laptops, desktop PCs, servers, and even the Xbox and HoloLens.
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But the move was not without pain. Windows Phone 7 devices couldn't be upgraded to Windows Phone 8, leaving early adopters with phones that were prematurely end-of-lifed and a bad taste in their mouths. Moreover, the mere work of moving to the common kernel and APIs was such a huge undertaking that it didn't give Microsoft much time to actually work on features and capabilities.
Windows Phone 7 had a feature deficit relative to Android and iOS, and Windows Phone 8, rather than closing this feature deficit, was instead focused on updating and replacing the operating system's core.
A company that had more immediately recognized both the threat and the opportunity the iPhone represented, as well as the business transformation that Android made inevitable, might well have avoided these problems. Quicker adoption of true touch interfaces, a decision to use a common NT kernel platform from the outset, a move to a store-based revenue model rather than operating system licensing; in hindsight, Microsoft could have made better decisions and made them sooner. Doing so might well have made Windows Phone a more successful platform. In spite of all of this, there was some cause for optimism.
The first generation of Windows Phone 8 handsets from Nokia were well received. Nokia had a good selection of phones from the flagship Lumia down to the cheap and cheerful Lumia Strong cameras became something of a Lumia trademark, and Windows Phone-specific design elements—such as a dedicated camera button with half-press autofocus—provided thoughtful differentiation.
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The enormous Windows Phone 8. As much as the platform had struggled since its launch, the wave of and hardware and software releases appeared to put it on a surer footing. At the low end, devices like the Lumia offered a true smartphone experience that Android struggled to match. Comparably priced Android hardware wasn't as good: And at the high end, the attractive software and high-end cameras were enough to pique interest.
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The domestic story was never as good; Windows Phone barely cracked 5 percent in the US, which for an American company was always awkward. These numbers still left Windows Phone in third place or, occasionally, second place in markets with particularly weak iPhone penetration. But the trajectory was upwards, with a platform and product mix that was suitable for a wide range of audiences. The future felt promising: You must login or create an account to comment.
Skip to main content Of course we'll continue to support the platform.. An inauspicious start What makes Microsoft's position particularly disappointing, at least for this writer, is a continued sense that it didn't have to be this way. Green shoots of success In spite of all of this, there was some cause for optimism.
He covers Microsoft, programming and software development, Web technology and browsers, and security. He is based in Brooklyn, NY. Email peter.
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Facebook Facebook at your fingertips. Opera Mini Load web pages faster with this Windows Phone browser. Xender Share any file between your phone and PC. Latest Apps for Windows Phone. LastPass An alternative way to manage and secure your passwords. MetroMail Instant notifications whenever you receive emails. PicsArt Do something useful with the photos you take on your phone.