Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore has been a more than familiar face in the Windows Phone journey, the man who introduced the platform back in 2010 when it took over the previous Windows Mobile efforts, however the platform just never seemed to take off.
That’s not to say the platform wasn’t any good, on the contrary, it was a very compelling platform, in fact, many would argue the Windows Phone platform brought with it the birth of the flat-design language we see today throughout iOS since iOS 7, and Android’s Material Design, but it certainly wasn’t a platform without its flaws and problems along the way.
The main problem with Windows Phone was always support, specifically App support. Despite having one of the most beautiful design languages on any mobile platform, there’s only so much a great designed Text or Call app can really give you, whether you like it or not, you need the Apps to back it up.
When Nokia came on board in 2011, the Apps, sort of, began to arrive, but it was clear that they were doing so at a far more limited level, versus that of the App Store or Google Play, and, when the Nokia brand disappeared from Windows Phone in 2015, it pretty much began to solidify its impending death going forward.
Though, that’s not to say Microsoft weren’t partly responsible too;
Windows 10 Mobile
What killed Windows Phone for us, however, wasn’t the lack of a Nokia brand to be seen after the take-over bid which even current CEO, Satya Nadella, didn’t even want, but it was Windows 10 Mobile. We could go on for a long while around how Windows 10 Mobile was just a bad thing, but we’ll keep things compressed.
Where Windows Phone 7, 7.5, 8 and 8.1 offered a beautiful take on how a mobile OS could work, Windows 10 Mobile threw all that away in what exchange to what became to look like an incredibly badly designed Android launcher (more on that shortly), but an Android launcher without the saving any type of saving grace, such as, I don’t know, apps from Android!
The last remaining instance you were actually using a Windows Phone, the Start screen, was beginning to get old, and the advent of lag and sloppy design, something never present on previous versions, just added up to a really bad user experience, then came these;
Then came the big flagships to sell Windows 10 Mobile … these, the Lumia 950 and 950 XL. If, like us even at the time, you’re looking at these rather unimpressed, you are far from alone. Look, we know this year’s been the big shift to bezel-less design, but even as these just approached their 2 year birthday, they look pitifully from the past with a more than uninspired design, which, again, we never used to see from Windows Phone, more a colourful and fresh look from hardware led mainly by Nokia.
So, let’s review, a more disappointing update, with disappointing hardware, it’s not too hard to see where this is going … on a platform already heading down that direction!
The problem continues, as the biggest reasons Windows Phone fans jumped the bandwagon, were due to claimed issues with Apple iOS and Google Android. Problem with the issues claimed, put simply, is they are a thing of the past, or even worse, and ironically, present on Windows 10 Mobile, such as users claiming Android was just “lagdroid”, and iOS offered nothing in terms of a decent user experience in comparison, things which simply are not true today.
It was dead already, but now, it’s official…
The same Joe Belfiore famed for announcing Windows Phone, and a popular face of the platform, clarified on Twitter last night, that at this point, even he has moved on from Windows Phone, be it reluctantly, with the simple message that, really, you should too, claiming;
Joe was very quick to clarify to those who were rather concerned about him switching, what the future would be for those still rocking Windows 10 Mobile devices, as, let’s not forget, the devices will be just getting to the 2 year period of Contracts that may have been made for those devices.
Joe Belfiore pretty much clarifying that building new features as well as new hardware for the Windows 10 Mobile platform, are no longer a priority or focus for Microsoft, though the company will continue to provide necessary bug fixes and security updates for the platform during, what seems like, their recommended transitional period to get people on to iOS or Android devices.
The decision to do so, clearly wasn’t one Microsoft wanted to make, and as Joe mentioned in a further Tweet, the company tried their best to get as many developers on board;
One of the easiest reasons for ending the focus on Windows 10 Mobile, is also the most important, the lack of apps. Mentioned even that the company has gone down the route of offering to pay for Apps to come to Microsoft’s Phone platforms, to the point where the company was even willing to build the Apps themselves, but, as we all know, the Apps never did come, as well as users who never adopted the platform in the required way.
Microsoft’s future focus on mobile
It was barely last week, when we broke the news that Microsoft would be bringing a much more tied in experience to both iOS and specifically Android, with the launch of bringing the Microsoft Edge browser cross-platform, and with the launch of the new Microsoft Launcher for Android. Both releases, will greatly enhance the way both iOS and Android devices pair up with Windows 10 on the Desktop, restoring many of the features legacy Windows 10 Mobile users will be currently able to accomplish, however on rival platforms instead.
Where Edge on Windows 10 Mobile was able to sync and resume to and from the Windows 10 experience, that will now be possible through the same App on iOS and Android, and for those wanting that full-on, or closest to, Windows Mobile experience, that will be available on Android with the revamped and improved Microsoft Launcher.
It’s a shame to see Windows Phone fall flat as it has done, though, as many of us at RKUK Media noticed through the many years of following and loving the platform will be able to relate, the platform just never gained traction, it never reached the level of success it truly deserved.
It will be interesting to see if Microsoft go down the Blackberry route and release a custom Android device, though based on the lacklustre success Blackberry have seen in that market, it will likely never happen, though we do at least have a new Browser choice on mobile to look forward to, and for sure we’ll be checking out the Microsoft Launcher on Android, just cause why not.