I used two mid-level Android phones this weekend. I hated them. I’ve grown to not simply dislike Android but damn near hate it — if that’s possible for something inanimate. It’s not as good, for the same price.
I really don’t understand how people can be so gullible, so easily swayed by marketing, so quick to choose price over value, so willing to settle for second-best at best.
Yes, iPhone is better. But so many phones are better. Only, no one buys those other phones. The market is flooded with Android. And unlike all the pundits who once suggested this was going to kill iPhone, instead it has — or will — kill Microsoft’s Windows Phone.
Thinking of the impending demise of Windows Phone makes me sad. There’s so much about it that I like. Regrettably, a combination of external forces and Microsoft mistakes has doomed the platform.
Windows Phone is dead phone walking.
Just recently, Samsung noted that it had sold 10 million Galaxy S III’s — in the first two month’s the device has been on sale. Have *all* Windows Phones of all time sold 10 million? I cannot get accurate aggregated numbers but I think the total number of Windows Phones sold is damn close to the total number of Samsung Galaxy S III’s sold in two months. Tragic.
Samsung makes Windows Phone, so clearly it’s not lack of capable handset partners. What, then, is the cause of the (presumed) death of Windows Phone? Below are my top ten thoughts:
- No marketing. Consider how many ads you’ve been exposed to for iPhone and iPad, for Samsung (Galaxy), for all the Droids. Consider all the times you see BOGO Android offers. There is extremely little Windows Phone advertising. A while back they run those ads mocking other smartphone users for using their smartphone too much. This was straight up stupid. We buy these devices to use them lots! Then there was that big campaign, I think for Nokia Windows Phone, about how all the prior smartphones were “beta” devices. Also stupid. I think they’ve killed that. Otherwise, almost nothing. Dear Microsoft: we have alternatives. Tell us why we should choose you.
- No distribution. Where does one go to get a Windows Phone phone? The Microsoft Store? Where the hell are those? Go into any Best Buy or carrier retail shop and there is a prominent iPhone display and a flood of Androids at all price levels and a couple Blackberrys. You need to search out Windows Phone.
- Design: not an app phone. Apple created a new UI revolution with the app phone. Android quickly followed suit. Even Blackberry is trying. Remember all those “there’s an app for that’ educational ads? We want app phones. It’s that simple. Windows Phone is not. It has ‘apps’ but they don’t seem like apps. Apps are what Apple offers and Android copies. Windows Phone has this endless stream of tiles. We want apps. Not tiles.
- Design: unleashed. Some of Apple’s design efforts annoy me. Does NOTES really need to look like a yellow note pad? Everything Apple does has these ‘hooks’ that deliberately lead me to associate the app/function/program/service to some (physical) real-world counterpart. Despite the fact that I want to go all digital; live in the metaverse. Windows Phone is far more daring. Only, I’m not sure people are ready for their daring design. I think not.
- Design: real-time. Windows Phone is overwhelming. Everyone knows what iPhone is like. For those that want an Android, there are a slew of devices to choose from. All follow the same ‘static’ app phone motiff. Not Windows Phone. It presents a constant stream of real-time updates across applications and services that may offer a superior solution for select individuals but which I think offers far too much never-ending information for most users.
- The name: Windows Phone. What does that mean? Does it come with Windows? Does it work like Windows? How come it looks so different! Is it for work? I want a phone for my personal use. Will it crash like Windows?
- Google Checkout syndrome. Google continues to copy other products and services with varying degrees of success. Those services that are failures, in my opinion, are ones like Google Checkout that copy someone else without offering *any* justification for its existence or reason for its use. Between iPhone, Samsung, Blackberry and all those Androids, why buy a Windows Phone phone? Why do they exist?
- Timing. Blackberry (still) exists. iPhone has sold hundreds of millions. Android has sold hundreds of millions. When you combine all the above plus the fact that Microsoft got to the party so very late, there is little hope. True, the market has not stopped growing. Most users replace their devices every 1-2 years, but nearly all of us have been touched by a pre-existing platform. Why change?
- Ecosystem. who is Microsoft kidding here? I’m going to give them my credit card? To Microsoft? And rent their movies and download their songs and buy their e-books and purchase their apps? Honestly, Apple has a superior ecosystem. So does Google. So does Android. Yes, the combination of Xbox plus Office plus Outlook, Exchange et al offers Microsoft a theoretical advantage and a truly unique ecosystem. These have still not all come together yet, however. Plus, there simply is nearly zero reasons for any one to have a work smartphone and a ‘home’ smartphone. As I’ve said for years now, smartphones are a consumer-led revolution, a bottom-up shift in personal computing. Microsoft was not built for this. Their ecosystem was not optimized for this new reality. With smartphones, users are people. And the other ecosystems, including the Amazon smartphone ecosystem, are more people-oriented.
- You. If you have an iPhone, or a top-end Samsung, or some sweet Sony Android device, fine. Or, if you are a long-time Blackberry user. I understand. As for the rest of you: you killed Windows Phone. It’s better than what you have, for about the same price. You made the wrong choice. Too bad. Sometimes, I can’t explain what prompts a person to choose how they choose.