Monday, July 7, 2014

Lumia Android- Why Windows Phone might be doomed

On July 6, popular leaker @evleaks tweeted that an Android-powered Lumia is incoming, from Nokia by Microsoft. (The horrible Microsoft naming conventions strike back.)

Assuming that, this rumor is true, I find this to be very concerning for Windows Phone as a whole.

Personally, I would probably just cease developing for Windows Phone entirely, and just switch my focus to Android, if this rumor is true.
I understand Microsoft services on other platforms. That makes perfect sense to me. I even can see updating other platforms first, as much as it annoys me. After all, business is business, and Microsoft develops for the platform with the most users of the product first. Office for iPad came out for iOS before the Office "Gemini" for Windows, but we already had desktop Office, so while irksome, that made sense.

I do not, however, understand shafting the developer community, and the loyal Windows Phone user base, by creating both Android and Windows Phone devices, as equals. Dropping support of XNA was bad enough...

It would be such a slap in the face to Windows Phone users if Microsoft switches to Android, the competing platform, essential saying that it is better. (I personally like WP more, but hey, maybe Microsoft disagrees.)

The Lumia Brand
Now, when I was discussing this over at the wonderful Windows Phone Central Forums, some people didn't understand what I meant by Microsoft treating Android and WP as equals. They said that, "Surely this is a low end device, and they are just changing the Nokia X brand to Lumia X"

This is a very bad thing on two fronts. The Lumia brand implies that the product is of high quality, and the complete focus of Microsoft's mobile efforts. Having Android and Windows Phone both under the Lumia brand would be saying that those platforms are equal. As the platform owner, Microsoft SHOULD NOT be saying this. Windows Phone should be all the world needs, in Microsoft's eyes.

Secondly, even if Microsoft is just moving the X2, and hypothetical X3, to the Lumia brand, it will just cause more brand confusion. Regular consumers (read: not people reading this blog) will be asking: What is the benefit of an Lumia Android 2 over a 630? Why can't my apps from one Lumia run on the other Lumia? Why is the Android one better than the equal price Windows Phone?

But Samsung and HTC do it too!
"Samsung and HTC also produce devices with many different operating systems!" "No one is saying that the Samsung and HTC Android is being de-emphasized in favor of Windows Phone or Tizen!"

Yeah, but Samsung and HTC don't make Android. What Microsoft is doing, according to this rumor, would be like Google releasing the Nexus 5 running Windows Phone. It would be like Apple looking at their decreasing marketshare, and forking Android and replacing iOS. Oh wait, Apple wouldn't do that because they have confidence in their platform.

And also, don't you think Samsung would love to replace Android with Tizen? They would, but people wouldn't actually buy it for lack of Android apps.

Also, may I remind you that Samsung's Windows Phone's are under the ATIV brand. Their flagship Android phones, which are the focus of their attention, are under the GALAXY brand. Two separate brands, which is what I think Microsoft should stick with (X and Lumia).

What about Android apps on Windows Phone?

If that were to happen, no sane developer would make a Windows Phone app again, when they could just make an Android app and hit more devices. Windows Phone users would be forced to use Android apps, which wont have the design of the OS, and would run and feel poorly on the Windows Phone OS.

Remember OS/2 and BlackBerry?
IBM added the ability for OS/2 to run Windows applications, in order to close the huge app gap. Do you remember what happened? The remaining OS/2 developers left the platform. They began developing for Windows. and low and behold people switched to Windows since it could run applications better than OS/2 could, due to the native support.

IBM never recovered.

Blackberry added the ability for BB10 phones to run Android applications in 2012. In theory that bridged the application gap. Did people begin flocking to BlackBerry 10?
Blackberry continued to sink lower and lower, and lose huge amounts of marketshare.

Blackberry is still losing marketshare.

IBM never recovered.

Do you know what can propel Windows Phone forward? HINT: It's not Android

Developers, developers, developers.

When Microsoft drags their developers out from under the bus they threw us under, we can create killer Windows Phone apps to make the platform shine.

Let's just hope it wont be too late.

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