In my eyes, Windows Mobile will always be viewed as a triumph and the foundation for all smart phones as we know them. The aim was simple, get a computer in your pocket. In fact, the popular OS was even going by the name Pocket PC until 2003. Microsoft took this goal to heart and built their mobile OS with some borrowed UI features from Windows, the most famous being the drop down start menu. You’re probably asking yourself, why do I care about a ten year old OS? I have noticed two real important connections in Microsoft’s direction with Windows Mobile and Windows Phone to their PC(and Gaming) counterparts.
“People who are looking into a phone called
Windows Phone, want it to be Windows”
The first thing I have noticed is how Microsoft is getting Windows Phone “out there” and how it entirely contrasts Pocket PC. Back in 2002, Microsoft gained their success marketing a phone that was just like their computer. Looking at how Microsoft has tried to market Windows Phone, it appears that they don’t have the appeal from consumers and enterprise. I feel that for people who are looking into a phone that is called “Windows Phone” they want it to be Windows. So the question Microsoft had to answer was, “How do we bring Windows to Windows Phone so people will buy it.” Well the answer was easy, you can’t. They invested way to much time in developing a new, out of the box, OS and even lost a KIN or Two along the way. The only logical answer was to bring Windows Phone to, well, everything else. I strongly feel that the addition of metro to Windows 8 was partially derived from the lack of success WP7 was making. What better way to get people to buy a phone then to make them say at their local wireless store “Hey, this phone looks just like my Xbox… and my computer! I think I’ll buy this one.” Making everyone buy into metro is the best way for them to rejuvenate their mobile department. If you think about it, mobile is really the only market they don’t own. Windows has owned its respective market for years and the Xbox 360 is easily the most owned gaming console. All they need now is for consumers and enterprise to have to switch to WP because it is the same as the other products they already have.
This brings me to my second point. The big success of Windows Mobile was if you had a WM device, you had the largest app store, your computer. Any app you could possibly want was a simple ActiveSync away. When I got my Pocket PC, the first thing I did was search how to get Pokemon and Doom on it. This is the direction I think Microsoft is going for. If you are bringing metro to Windows, then you are going to have an abundance of apps for metro. It would be insane if those apps aren’t going to be easily ported to Windows Phone. This is why I think their restrictions on Windows RT is the smartest thing Microsoft can do. If they sell as many RT tablets as I think they want to, 3rd party devs wont be able to not develop apps for metro. All of a sudden you get every app you know and love on your computer, easily ported in a nice metro coating to your phone.
So if you ever find yourself wondering, “Why should I care about Windows Phone?” you should know that it is inevitable that they will be a major contributor in the mobile war. The combination of metro everywhere along with every app imaginable at your fingertips all wrapped in a beautiful hardware package built by, partner, Nokia is lethal. I for one am rooting for Microsoft. I want to see a third player in this war in mobile.