Good news for Windows Mobile users – you aren’t going to be abandoned. Every time I read “windows phone is dead” or “Win mobile circling the drain” I sigh and roll my eyes. This has been the mainstay Henny Penny cry of the tech writers for a few years now and has become tedious in it’s insistence. Microsoft has a fairly good track record of sticking with a product for the long run and mobile has room for growth. Windows Mobile (formerly called Windows Phone) has an opportunity to capitalise on Apple’s doldrums. If they can push the idea of seamless synching between laptop/Windows 10 tablet and your phone, they should be able to push sales above the embarrassing level they currently languish. In a leaked email (to Windows Central), Microsoft’s VP of Windows and Devices, confirmed it is not dumping their mobile unit: “Let me be very clear: We are committed to deliver Windows 10 on mobile devices with small screen running ARM processors.” (Terry Myerson)
It’s clear MS isn’t going to abandon users in the near future, and this commitment will allow current and potential users to move forward with a greater degree of confidence.
I’ve long thought Windows Mobile was underrated by tech writers who often parrot the party line about the industry. It also gets virtually no attention by stores selling mobile devices. I periodically play a game and go into tech stores and ask about what’s on offer. I’m shocked (although I shouldn’t be) at the lack of knowledge displayed by the staff when it comes to Win Mobile devices. I even had one young thing shrug and say “dunno, it’s likely crap” and pointed me towards the far more expensive iPhones. Lack of training seems to be endemic. Or rather larger profit lines dictate what the staff is trained to sell.
Let’s be brutally honest here, it’s primarily Microsoft’s fault. For years I’ve felt they believed “if we build it, they will come”. Surprise! Assuming people will buy simply because you have a big monolithic name attached to your product is a crap marketing plan. Microsoft needs to get off their corporate ass and start marketing Win Mobile aggressively if they want to be taken seriously. It’s the ideal killer phone for businesses and perfect for the oft neglected SOHO setup.
Part of what killed Microsoft Mobile was the shambles that became their app Store. It was a haven for utterly rubbish apps, scammers and jackasses. People want apps on their mobile devices. If they log on and find a store filled with garbage, they’ll take their money elsewhere. No matter how hard I try, I cannot fathom the rational behind letting the store become such a mess. The hit Windows Phone took to it’s reputation as a viable alternative to either the iPhone or Android was far more damaging than many think.
When MS got around to cleaning up their store in summer of 2014, they purged many of the scam apps and reorganized the look of the store in anticipation of the Win10 launch. The store is very functional now, with lots of choices, but it’s still being ignored by developers, I suspect largely because of the uncertainty about whether Win Mobile will be around for the long haul. MS commitment to supporting the Mobile platform should go a long way in encouraging app development.