Why your next smartphone might be Windows

Posted by Rob Enderle

Microsoft made some rather interesting improvements to its Windows Phone platform this week, with Nokia showcasing most of them in its new Lumia 630 phone.  

Honestly, I was struck by the number of my analyst peers who used to own iPhones but have since switched to Windows Phones (virtually all Nokia). Like I said, most of these folks were, at one time, big iPhone users.  

I think we may have the foundation for another market change and that suggests  your next phone is now more likely to be a Windows Phone.  

Let me explain.

Windows Phone Advantages

I’m a long time Windows Phone user so I’m a lousy example of why someone might consider switching, as I clearly have a bias. So I chatted with a number of the folks who had made the switch and I ended the week listening to an IT guy talk about how “awesome” the new Windows Phone release was. Even though I don’t use “awesome” when describing a Windows Phone, I certainly had to admit he made some pretty compelling arguments.

In my chats, folks seemed to think the Windows Phone platform does a number of things better than the alternative. It generally is a better phone, does a more optimized job of connecting to Exchange servers (the most common business email server), linking to lots of Social Media services and browsing the web. Plus, the ability to seamlessly move files and pictures from and to the device to the desktop is also a distinct advantage.

Nokia adds to this with the best camera and photo editors standard on a phone, as well as navigation applications as good or better than anything else on the market. In addition, with the recent announcements, Windows Phone gets the most advanced assistant with the Halo (game for Xbox) sourced Cortana AI digital assistant, far better support and improved core feature improvements that often do much more than just closing the gap with the iPhone and Android platforms. 

Aps Remain A Mixed Bag But…

Applications remain an issue as the platform still lacks many of the apps tied to services like ADT and Smart Home’s home automation products, and yes, NEST platforms. The apps it does have? Some, like Kindle, are a generation or more behind the other products, while others, such as Starbucks (SBUX) and Sonos (Phonos), are different or not as capable. This remains the phone's weakest link. Nevertheless,  Microsoft announced improvements so that developers could create one app and more easily move between smartphones, tablets and PCs. Meanwhile, third parties announced they would take the tools to move apps to Apple and Google products which should improve things significantly over time. As of now, this remains a drawback for the platform. 

Design

Clearly, Nokia  has started to pull out all of the stops with the phone hardware. First it brought out the best cameras in the market, then the company introduced inductive charging (which, sadly, AT&T often turns off), and most recently they moved to having customizable cases and two SIMS (Lumia 630). The case choice feature goes back a decade when Nokia did something similar with feature phones - and stores (often in malls) would carry broad selections of alternative chases so your phone looked like few others. This was incredibly popular because most folks don’t want the exact same look in their phone everyone else has. Two SIMs allow you to move between countries without incurring roaming charges or for you to have two lines one for business and one for personal use. Both features are showcased in the Nokia Lumia 630.  

Wrapping Up:  Awesome?

Well I think it’s pretty cool but then, as noted, I’m a Windows Phone fan. But, apparently, so do a lot of other folks all of a sudden and this was how the iPhone started. Remember, when it first hit the streets the phone didn't run the popular apps, but folks started looking at it differently and eventually the developers came over. 

Just as we all don’t have the same house, car, or job, each platform offers unique advantages and the Windows Phone platform just improved its list. Much like many of us prefer a convertible over a sedan, or a sports car over a mini-van, there are clearly an increasing number of folks who prefer a Windows Phone and as a Windows Phone fan, hell, I honestly like the company. It’s been a bit lonely for a while...