Not long ago, Microsoft was hoping for a brighter future, introducing the powerful Lumia 950 XL with a great camera, the innovative Windows Hello and Continuum technology, which allows you to connect the Lumia to a monitor via a special dock to use it as a desktop PC. All of this was a delight in 2015. It may not have been practical in everyday life, but Windows Phone fought its demons to the end, eventually getting rid of “Phone” in the name and merging the operating system into a single Windows 10.
In 2021, no one remembers this anymore, or that Windows Phone was once in competition with Android and iOS for a place in the sun. Everyone lives for news about Apple and Android – Nokia uses Android, rarely giving worthy info, for example reviving old pushbutton phones, playing on users’ feelings. Microsoft goes crazy in its own way: releases obscure smartphones with two screens, leaks information about Windows 10X, closes the project, and then announces Windows 11. Let’s explore why Android has outlasted its Windows Phone rival.
Why Android is so popular
Windows Phone was originally a very closed operating system. If you think back to WP 7 where you couldn’t customize anything, it’s sad. There were very basic settings for sounds, tile colours and screen savers. Only with the upgrade to Windows 10 did they add all sorts of interface customisation options, but it was too late to change anything. Unlike Android, which you could customise as you pleased.
Also, think of the many (and there really were many) different smartphones on Windows Phone – everywhere the same without the options to optimize for the iron of a particular device. With Android, we see a variety of different shells for different smartphones, which are not always perfect, but still plus or minus the wishes of the users of the devices of a particular brand.
Microsoft only realised towards the end of the mobile Windows era that it needed a special environment for developers. Developers had a huge problem porting their apps to Windows Phone – it was time-consuming, energy-intensive, and futile since Windows device adoption was growing very slowly, unlike Android device adoption. Many developers simply stopped releasing updates to their apps, causing dissatisfaction among current users and subsequent churn to competitors.
All users will always remember the famous story with Windows Phone 7, when they were simply cheated and didn’t upgrade to WP 8. This is a telling example of how Microsoft treated its already small audience. There were three options here: exploit a Windows Phone 7 device to the last, upgrade to a new one running WP 8, or never mess with a Microsoft mobile device in your life. Many chose the latter option and did not go wrong – today it is no longer relevant to say that any Android device will work until the next update and then turn into a pumpkin – they are supported as long as possible.
Microsoft has been spending huge sums of money to promote its own operating system devices: all the numerous promotions, new product lines, and ubiquitous advertising. The culmination of the cash infusion was mobile Windows 10, for which there was great hope – no breakthrough and Google never released a single Windows app, thus marking its position. In short, the OS didn’t take off and was forgotten about.
Android didn’t have these problems – the creators always listened to users, released updates, added new features. It is said not for nothing that the father who has money is not the best, but the father who is always with his family.
As the owner of Nokia Lumia 930 I lived in constant expectation: updates of old applications, the release of new ones, OS updates, where existing bugs will be fixed. Just imagine what it’s like to live when you have a device with powerful hardware but nothing to use? And what it’s like when a friend with an iPhone has YouTube and Gmail, and you sit through the mobile version and wait for it to arrive.
In the days of Windows Phone, owners had one unspoken rule – either you use the OS and live in anticipation (something that will never happen), or you go to Android, which has absolutely everything and for every taste. Android has always adapted to the existing requirements and desires of users, now Android is not only in smartphones but also in smartwatches, tablets and TVs.
Despite the failure and closure of the mobile Windows project, I don’t regret using it one bit. It was the OS with the most beautiful and smooth interface that never got boring. You can still meet users of Lumia smartphones – they still use them!
Why choose an Android smartphone
Google’s victory is also indicative for the reason that nowadays it is important to build and develop an ecosystem, and that millions of users are just a matter of time.
Microsoft is now actively integrating Android because it realised that Android will be able to work in a much more open environment than Windows Phone. To this, we have to add a huge audience of users who are willing to join them. Microsoft will never go back to Windows Phone again, but by interfacing with Android on the new Windows 11 will still be able to succeed on mobile devices.