Thursday, June 21, 2012

Microsoft Windows Phone 8

Microsoft made another major announcement yesterday. Not as big as the launch of Surface, this was the release of Windows Phone 8. For most people, any version of Windows Phone is (hopefully) a mobile version of the popular desktop OS. This would mean that the users would get the same familiar user interface on their mobiles as their desktop computers.

Windows Phone, from the beginning, has used its format of Tiles to display information. Recently, with the new Windows OS for desktops (and especially for tablets), they have used a similar format. It is an effort at seamless integration for users using Windows desktops, laptops, tablets and now phones. Currently, Windows 8 for computers has not become very widespread. The tablet (Surface) has yet to hit the shelves. Smartphones running Windows Phone 7 have not gained too much momentum either. Time will tell whether the average user buys into the whole Windows ecosystem of laptops, tablets and phones.

The Windows Phone 8 release was extensively covered by Engadget. The WP8 has used the basic kernel from the desktop OS. This will ensure developers will be able to use the same code while developing apps for the desktop as well as the phone. Microsoft has made a very good decision by making it so easy for developers. Now when WP8 comes out, it will come with a large number of apps ready to be installed.

The strange thing about this release, is the announcement that none of the Windows phones currently being sold, will have the ability to be upgraded to WP8. For the current users, they released Windows Phone 7.8. Basically, its just a taste for the current users, to encourage them to buy a new phone after WP8 launches! So, any customers who are even buying a Windows Phone now, already know that its outdated! They have just used their current users as guinea pigs to test what works and what doesn't, and then left them hanging on to an obsolete phone. I would be surprised if current Windows Phones sales don't plummet.

The WP8 promises a lot in terms of high-end hardware support, high-res screens, multi-core support, more handset customization and a good browser. Whether it will deliver or not, remains to be seen.