When will the current version of Windows Phone be the one that matters?

When will the current version of Windows Phone be the one that matters?

Summary: After repeated admonitions to wait and see how the next version of Windows Phone is going to shake things up, maybe it's time to ask "why not now?"


Nokia unveiled its biggest effort in the Windows Phone playground to date to lukewarm reception. Windows Phone is solid enough but the hardware of the Lumia 900 is leaving reviewers less than impressed. Sadly, this reception is par for the course for Windows Phone, as it seems the long-awaited breakthrough is always coming in the next version.

The unexciting status quo with Windows Phone is the reason the platform doesn't get my geek motor running. I like Windows Phone, and I find it a solid performer, but it lacks that certain something that makes me want to run out and buy one. Lackluster sales numbers lead me to believe I'm not the only one finding the Windows Phone offerings to be boring.

Reaction to the Lumia 900 has enthusiasts telling us to just wait for Apollo (the next major version of Windows Phone) to appear, as it will finally support cutting edge hardware. That may be, but it seems every version of Windows Phone has left folks wanting in key areas. "Wait for the next version" is the prevailing theme with Windows Phone, and it's getting old.

When is Windows Phone going to have a released version that is coupled with handsets that gets buyers excited? We were led to believe that Microsoft and Nokia working closely together was going to be the catalyst that got the platform going. So far it has been largely meh.

Windows Phone is a unique OS that has the potential to set the smartphone world on edge. It is totally different from the competition, in a good way, but the hardware paired with it is simply lacking anything that sets it apart from a very crowded field.

It's sad in a way, as Windows Phone is a good platform. It runs incredibly well on older, less powerful hardware. But that doesn't matter to the average consumer, who doesn't buy a platform, rather a sexy new handset that excites him or her. The handset that makes them save up to buy it, or anxiously wait for their current contract to end so they can trade up. That isn't happening with Windows Phones.

Maybe enthusiasts are right, and Apollo will set the stage for great handsets that buyers flock to grab. It's hard to put much faith in that happening based on recent history. As hard as I try I just can't envision what a Windows Phone can bring to the smartphone space that gets buyers dancing in store aisles.

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Topics: Telcos, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

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  • When??

    My short answer would be... never.
    Past history shows that when Microsoft tries to innovate or invent something, they usually come up with an invention that makes people scratch their heads wondering "what the hell were they thinking?".
    And Microsoft moves so slowly that by the time they catch up, others have long since moved to the next thing.

    I would say they should just give up... but I like seeing Microsoft waste bucketfulls of money on failure... at least it's entertaining to watch.

    It really makes me wonder though... imagine if Microsoft hadn't crushed the PC market in the late 80's and through the 90's... what truly amazing and revolutionary computer product did we all miss out on because they crushed it with their monopoly... sad really.
    • MS

      So true. Microsoft doesn't know how to innovate. And that's the God's honest truth. About all they know how to do is spread FUD and extort large sums of money from people and businesses.
    • Really?

      Like the XBOX, right? Yeah, no one uses those darn things? Or the Windows Operating System which is the world leader in OS's right? Yeah, or MS Office, the leading Business Software on the market. Yeah, Geez MS, step it up a notch. MS revolutionized the Computer Industry. I have a Windows phone and I absolutely love it. I also use Zune instead of I(robublind)Tunes and having used both think it is a far better program and works seemlessly with my windows phone. It often seems to me that people just have to follow the trend and bash what everyone else is bashing instead of thinking for themselves and breaking out of the crowd. Until of course when so many break from the crowd, they then become the crowd.
      • And yet...

        \Being primarily a Windows developer, I'd like Microsoft to put out a successful smart phone. I'm not going to waste my time developing on a platform that I have no confidence in succeeding in the marketplace. Windows Phone hasn't shown me anything to make me believe it'll be anything more than a slightly more successful Kin...a Zune that makes phone calls. Kin is dead. Zune is dead. Right now, Windows Phone looks to be following in their footsteps. Office and Windows have established a foothold in corporate America and leveraged that foothold to dominate the home PC market. Microsoft has nothing to leverage in the phone market anywhere. Like Bing, Windows Phone seems to be a case of too little, too late. If Microsoft can be happy with mid single-digit market share, Windows Phone might be around for a while. If not, I fully expect it to be Kin'ed within two years.
  • What?

    "Windows Phone is solid enough but the hardware of the Lumia 900 is leaving reviewers less than impressed. "

    Really? That should read "Windows Phone is solid enough but the hardware of the Lumia 900 is leaving a few reviewers less than impressed. " Why, you ask? Because there is by far more positive and even enthusiastic reviews vs. lackluster reviews.

    You may not like WP 7 or Nokia, but the majority of those that actually use it and try it do. You don't get Best in class from CES for a phone for just showing up.
    • Funny

      "You may not like WP 7 or Nokia, but the majority of those that actually use it and try it do. You don't get Best in class from CES for a phone for just showing up."

      Really? Then why is Windows Mobile (includes Windows Phone) marketshare decreasing?
    • Googlefight says...

      Lumia good : 54,100,000
      Lumia bad : 16,200,000
      • Lumia

        Lumina is a car.
      • Using Lumia 900 Good/bad

        I figured I'd throw this out there, although I think it proves absolutely nothing.

        Lumia 900 Good: 29,300,000
        Lumia 900 Bad: 3,660,000
      • @WebSiteManager

        Typo, sorry.

        Never heard of the Lumina, not a brand over here.
    • What have you been reading?

      WPCentral sure came to a different conclusion on whether the reviewers liked it or not. The ones I have seen liked it.
      • WPCentral

        Gee, with a name like that you expected something different? Maybe we should check AndroidCentral for their Lumia 900 review roundup.
    • You are right; article is flawed

      It takes more than a bad review to make the product bad. But, think of the economics, if he writes a main stream review - he wont get the hits he needs for his article. I see it again and again. It's blog paparazzi if you ask me. I am not even sure what journalist integrity is anymore.
    • Are reviewers like film critics?

      Sorry, but just like a film critic I don't put any faith in what reviewers have to say. I personally like to check things out myself and decide if I like it. Since reviews of WP devices are so good but sales are so poor are the reviewer like film critics where their opinion is very often the opposite of the general public? I hate the look of the metro interface but have not tried one so will not pass judgment myself.
  • Bloggers kill MS products

    It is bloggers like who are part of the reason for MS consumer products not to succeed. Remember in the recent past you posted a long post why you don't like WP after using it for few mins at a store?
    • it can be worse

      a few of his articles ago he claimed that WP7 isn't a good OS because (according to JK) it misses the "wow-factor". He literally said that he didn't know what the "wow-factor" should/could be but it was definitely the main argument not to buy a WP7.
      Can you believe this guy? :-D How can you be so full of BS?
      • James is just channeling the gen consumers.

        There will always be fans pumping up their favorite company or platforms, but the true test for any product being successful in the market is going way beyond your core base. I suspect the reason WP7 hasn't none well so far in the market is because it lacked that "wow-factor" to grab the general consumers attention, the way iPhone and other devices has. The display is still stuck at a horrible 800 x 480 resolution in 2012? for such a hyped launched?

        The marketing was also atrocious - "a phone to save you from your phone" made little sense to anyone but Microsoft and its supporters.
    • Blame the blogger

      Bloggers can't fix the OS. They can't implement multicore tech, build apps to fill the marketplace, enable SDHC storage, or anything else to fix this platform. Nokia and the carriers are in the same boat. At the end of the day if the OS doesn't support the feature, they can't put it in the phone, they can't sell the phone with it, we can't buy it, and the blogger can't review it.
  • Yawn!

    James, have you been into an AT&T store to try out the Lumia 900? I have and pre-ordered it. It's build quality is as good as the iPhone and far better than any Android device available, at least on AT&T.

    Windows Phone is easily the best mobile OS on the market. Fast, fluid and easy to use, the OS is built to work well on minimal specs. You do not need dual-core processors and a gig of ram to have a responsive user experience. You do need that hardware when your core operating system in inefficient and bloated, and even with the better hardware your phone still needs to be restarted regularly.

    If you find Windows Phone so universally unappealing why waste so much e-ink talking about it? Who are you trying to convince that Windows Phone is not any good, the reader or yourself?
    • Apps need processing power

      Windows Phone runs well on lesser hardware, as I specifically stated. Apps, however, benefit from faster processors, multi-core processors, advanced graphics processors, etc.

      My own opinions aside, the lack of sales of Windows Phones is a fact that speaks for itself, and the purpose behind this article.