We’ve previously discussed the potential of this happening, but looks like we may have been much more on the money than we imagined. Alongside a brand new ‘Phone Companion App’ coming in Windows 10, where Microsoft highlighted the multiple possible ways at which Windows 10 will be built from the get-go to connect and receive the here and now from your Windows 10 PC to whatever phone you may have, Microsoft also showcased something new, Cortana for Android, and soon iOS!
In the video debuted today, Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore shows off the simple app that will come pre-installed with all Windows 10 PCs, allowing you to instantly get the most out of Windows 10 with your choice of Smartphone, whether Windows or not. The app will suggest the best ways you can connect your PC with your Smartphone in a rather basic straightforward way, through apps you can get either pre-installed on Windows Phone, App Store on iOS or of course Google Play on your Android device. It wasn’t until we saw the section in the top left marked “coming soon” on the iOS section, and then Joe show off the same thing in action on Android we noticed that one of the last major exclusivities, Cortana, would be going cross-platform.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR WINDOWS PHONE
I think it’s fair to say Windows Phone has had more than it’s fair share of problems to deal with since it’s bright beginnings of 2010, some of which it’s still struggling with today, but if there’s one thing Windows Phone has always had going for itself, the way it did things differently and in a unique way, something which we’ve been saying for a while now is starting to quickly disappear from the platform.
Windows Phone has always stood out from the crowd, gone is that icon based launcher you see typically on iOS and Android home screens and in comes a Start screen with Live Tiles and a striking dark textual user interface with instantly captures your attention. However, with Windows 10, Microsoft is reading the messages of Windows Phone lacklustre success in all the wrong ways and pushing the platform to the mainstream, with UI elements and functionality more familiar in a traditional mobile operating system rather than one attempting to be something different, not to mention porting nearly all the functionality cross platform should those efforts be in vain, something we feel Cortana is the last step towards. What you’re left with is wondering to yourself, why would I buy a Windows Phone now? And, realistically speaking, what does the platform have that iOS or Android couldn’t champion? We’re running out of answers to that question, Live Tiles maybe?
It doesn’t take a genius to see that Windows Phone has far from reached any expectation even leading analysts had predicted, remember when IDC claimed by 2015 it would be 2nd in marketshare worldwide, never really happened did it. This is what Microsoft have to look at every day and think what to do and where to take the platform they wish to take off, and strategical steps need to be taken and those are exactly what Microsoft has been doing the last few years.
At heart, Microsoft is a software company, and it’s that software they need to protect at all costs. Windows 10 being a free update for Windows 7 and 8 customers is an obvious step to keep people within their software ecosystem, however on the Phone they don’t have the market penetration needed to keep people on their hardware, so the best logical step was always going to be to bring the ecosystem to their device of choice, even if that meant supporting rival platforms.
Cortana is the heat of discussion in this article, but it does bare a think about for a second. Microsoft developed an entire speak driven virtual assistant which likely cost quite the buck in RND to produce, there’s just no reason any company would keep that on a platform advancing in tens of millions annually and slipping. Putting Cortana on the desktop is an obvious internal fix, but everyone knows that virtual assistance are always used on the Smartphone first, so in comes iOS and Android.
IS THIS MICROSOFT GIVING UP ON WINDOWS PHONE?
Of course not, like Cortana and the other range of software suites Microsoft has already made cross platform, Windows Phone too has had a ton of work done, and let’s not forget it’s actually a very decent operating system, so they’re hardly going to table it, but survival in the market it’s currently in, it does remain hard to confidently claim it will always be at the current climate, so Microsoft naturally have to do a “what if” scenario. Will we see new Windows 10 flagships and further advancement in the platform moving forward, of course we will, and Microsoft will push Windows Phone as far as they can possibly take it, of course if the market still remains stagnant then, and only then, would an exit strategy be looked in to.