Better Windows Phone news: It now has 50,000 apps. Still way behind iOS and Android–and still with major absentees, such as Pandora–but enough to make it the third modern mobile operating system with a critical mass of third-party support.
Tag Archives | Microsoft Windows Phone
Lots of buzz on the Web today about a fascinating question: Why isn’t Windows Phone catching on? You can read thoughts from Robert Scoble, MG Siegler, and former Windows Phone honcho Charlie Kindel, among others. Everybody has a different set of theories.
And Daring Fireball’s John Gruber makes a parenthetical remark that I find intriguing:
(And, as I’ve said before, I think the “Windows” brand hurts them here. Windows Phone 7 doesn’t sound like a new platform. It sounds like an old one. They should have called it Metro 1.0.)
Windows Phone’s market failure to date surely stems from a confluence of obstacles rather than one overriding issue. But there’s no denying that “Windows Phone 7″ and “Windows Phone 7.5″ are willfully mundane monikers for operating systems that aren’t the least bit mundane. They suggest business as usual, when what Microsoft actually did–rather bravely–was to start from scratch.
Microsoft has come up with a super-clever way to let people experience Windows Phone 7.5′s unique interface for themselves: A Web-based simulation that runs on iPhones and Adnroid handsets.
As the launch of Microsoft’s Windows Phone “Mango” update approaches, the number of missing features keeps dwindling, with support for front-facing cameras and Wi-Fi hotspots now confirmed.
We’ve suspected that the next version of Windows Phones would support front-facing cameras, given that some upcoming Windows Phone handsets are rumored to have them, but the official word didn’t come until this week at Microsoft’s Tech Ed conference in New Zealand. There, a Microsoft staffer told Neowin and confirmed on Twitter that front-facing camera support was on the way.
Xbox Live is supposed to be a big hook for Windows Phone, but until now Microsoft hasn’t fully described what the platform’s upcoming “Mango” update will do for gamers. We now have a better idea thanks to a blog post by Microsoft’s Michael Stroh.
Unlike Mango in general, Windows Phone’s fall Xbox Live update isn’t a major overhaul. Instead, Microsoft is filling in a couple of key omissions — in-app purchases and parental controls — and adding wearable avatar badges to reward in-game achievements. Xbox Live will also get “Fast Async,” which is supposed to improve turn-by-turn multiplayer games.
Research firm IDC–a sister company of my former employer, PCWorld–has released its latest estimates of the current and future marketshare of major smartphone operating systems. The headline news: It’s predicting that Android will continue to boom and that Microsoft’s Windows Phone, currently on the ropes, will bounce back to second place by 2015.
Here are IDC’s numbers for 2011 and 2015 (I swiped them from Don Reisinger’s post at Cnet):
According to Reuters, Nokia has scrapped its first smartphone based on MeeGo, the Linux-based operating system that was supposed to do what Nokia’s aging Symbian could not. The internal memo by new CEO Stephen Elop leaked at Engadget says that the company is announcing its new strategy on Friday; if MeeGo is in trouble, it’s hard to imagine that the plan doesn’t involve adopting Windows Phone 7 or Android, or maybe both…
Would it make sense for Nokia and Microsoft to form a strategic partnership built around Nokia phones and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7? I’m not sure, but I can’t think of a better strategy for either one…
Remember that mysterious Windows Phone 7 phantom data problem we reported on, which several of you seemed very skeptical about? Well, Microsoft has confirmed that it was indeed happening due to an apparent issue with a third party application. It won’t name names, but here’s what they had to say to Seattlepi.com’s Microsoft Blog:
We have determined that a third-party solution commonly accessed from Windows Phones is configured in a manner that potentially causes larger than expected data downloads. We are in contact with the third party to assist them in making the necessary fixes, and are also pursuing potential workarounds to address the configuration issue in case those are needed.
The company said only a “low single digit” percentage of WP7 users were affected, and that it believed the third-party app was the source of most of the complaints. It is still looking over reports to ensure that no other issues may be causing the bandwidth issues.
At this time, Microsoft is declining to identify the third-party responsible. Probably not a maj-or issue if the problem is affecting so little of the user base as the company claims, but still no solace to those that might be affected.
Microsoft may have a problem on its hands if its partners feel free to publicly criticize its phone efforts like this. LG’s marketing and planning chief James Choi has gone on record with Pocket-lint saying that Windows Phone 7 sales have been disappointing for the company.
Choi claims that the company had high hopes for the new mobile OS at the beginning. While he stressed that LG had been working with Microsoft “since the beginning” and WP7 is “absolutely perfect” for some mobile users out there, he lamented that “the first push wasn’t what everyone expected.”
While Choi seems to walk the fine line between saying that the launch really failed to grab consumers’ attention and playing the role of the loyal partner, it just seems odd that this early out of the gate that Microsoft’s partners feel free enough to say something like this. It certainly does not help the Redmond company’s cause at all.