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All posts tagged OEM

Windows Phone Is Alive Despite It All…

… Windows Phone is alive, regardless of a week where many declared it dead… again. The last Warptest post looked at some of the BS being reported.

During the day, the post prompted some disagreement which led to much discussion.

You Won’t Believe What Happened Next.. On Facebook

One of my friends leapt right into the fray to discuss this last post and my conclusions and this triggered several thoughts:

Windows Phone Is Alive - Facebook

The big problem with any metrics is they are hugely prone to misinterpretation out of context or people have a causation bias. In this case, I remembered just how hard it was to order one of the new Windows Phone 950 / 950 XL’s since their launch and there were repeated stories about limited numbers in the stores.

  1. So Q4 of 2015 did have lower numbers of devices sold, allegedly because less new devices were available.
  2. The next equally important point was OEM buy in. Since Windows 10’s launch the OEMs had been going wild announcing new Windows Phone devices. Several were seen at CES but weren’t available yet for consumers to buy. These are coming to market in Q1 / Q2 2016.

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Here are links to the 3 phones shown above (and there are more):

So we have two major factors skewing the numbers there. Meanwhile Windows Central were realizing that their numbers were a source of some of the malarkey going on and so they released a post clarifying the issue and providing some serious context.

Hat tip to Windows Central for taking responsibility here. The title of the post “The journalist’s guide to reading tea leaves aka AdDuplex Windows Phone Stats” is a lot nicer than many people deserve for the FUD they spread.

The Warptest POV

Little did I know earlier today that both Xiaomi and Sony were going to be in the news today as additional OEMs launching Windows Phones. Xiaomi are expected to launch a Windows 10 version of their Mi-5 handset and Sony are expected to announce a Windows Phone 10 addition to the ultrasleek Vaio line (at long last James Bond may get a Windows Phone in the next movie).

That’s right folks, yet more OEMs buying into Windows Phone. What do they know that we don’t?

I’m waiting on several mainstream startups with huge popularity to deliver Universal Apps onto Windows Phone and I know of a few others working on migrating their iOS apps thru the Microsoft iOS Bridge project. Discretion being the watchword here, all I can say is watch this space for when the news embargo lifts.

Let’s boil this down: there’s a bunch of bloggers out there who should be asking themselves if they did right by Windows Phone & the people who worked on building the platform. These posts had an impact on consumers who were considering Windows Phone. I was contacted by several people about this today asking if they should not be moving to Windows Phone. After answering their questions and scheduling with one to come try my phone, I told them simply, “Windows Phone is Alive.”

“It’s alive..” with thanks to Young Frankenstein via YouTube.com

At the end of the day, Windows Phone is alive. Seeing what comes next is the exiting part.

Windows 9 Is Coming…

… with it no shortage of rumors about Windows “Threshold” (the alleged codename for Windows 9).

The latest rumor is that a Developer Preview will be released on September 30th. The blogosphere is already running wild with leaked images and rumors of what’s in, what’s out and pricetags.

Windows 9 Is Coming - Meme

Rumors And Expectations…

The other main rumors (some from frequent and reliable online leakers) seem to revolve around the following: –

  • Cortana will be integrated into Windows 9: the incredible AI personal assistant winning hearts and minds on Windows Phone 8.1 will become a part of desktop, laptop and tablet users’ experience. If you are about to make a Clippy joke I suggest you find the nearest person you know with Windows Phone 8.1, try Cortana and then go and weep in the corner at not owning a phone with this on yourself.

  • The return of the Start Menu / Start Button: as mentioned in previous Warptest posts, Microsoft has over the last two years become more responsive to consumer input and this should make a lot of users very, very happy.
Leaked Windows 9 Desktop

Leaked Windows 9 Screen Capture – courtesy of Softpedia

  • Metro New Windows UI / Desktop / Apps are the chocolate to Classic Desktop’s peanuts: get ready for Windows 9 to hybridize the two desktops for a winning User Experience.
  • Goodbye Mr. Bond Windows RT: rumors of the demise of Windows RT in favor of Windows Phone ROM for smaller tablets. Possibly the end to the fragmentation of Windows with this and the already released Universal Apps for Windows.
  • Stronger Cloud integration: this is a pretty safe bet as Windows 8 already brought us Cloud integration with a slew of features. Now it’s time to see if Windows 9 evolves into a cloud-centric OS and whether this will include Desktop anywhere thru the Cloud based on user login.

The Warptest POV

The rumors and expectations are exciting but it’s time for Microsoft to make good on past mistakes, big mistakes that need to be rectified.

  1. Testing and compliance: since Windows XP we’ve been plagued with bugs, problems and frustrations which eventually turned out in many cases to be 3rd Party testing failures. Microsoft and Windows 9 need to ensure that all hardware, drivers and major 3rd Party software work properly. From a consumer point of view this means backwards compatibility too. No more WiFi, sound or graphics card drivers that sort of work. This means that Microsoft needs to work better with the software and hardware industry to define and enforce standards of testing, transparency for results and compliance.
  2. OEM Bloatware: consumers are sick of getting new computers that works slower than expected because the OEM took a working OS and added applications and services that most users don’t want but need a computer tech to disable or remove. As above, Microsoft time to put your foot down with the OEMs.
  3. OEM Images: when a consumer buys a new PC they should get Windows 9 updated to the last major upgrade of the OS. There should be no PCs being sold with Windows 8 still, this is pure laziness and poor procedure on the part of OEMs in not updating the image of the OS they mass install.
  4. Marketing: Windows 9 needs to regain lost ground and needs to understand that offensive marketing against the competition isn’t going to cut it. A new understanding of consumer and business needs from the Operating System, a coherent pricing/sales strategy and a positive story for Windows 9 are needed. Windows 9 has to fight an uphill battle unhindered by the occasionally curious Marketing efforts here.

I have high expectations of Windows 9 and have already provisioned a Virtual Machine to test the Preview when released on September 30th. Whether this will be the full version or not waits to be seen but this may be the culmination of Steve Ballmer’s One Microsoft legacy combined with Satya Nadella’s vision for Microsoftif Microsoft creates a coherent release strategy that produces a stable, well-tested OS that supports existing hardware and drivers, reins in the OEMs and delivers a solid marketing message.

Windows should not inherit the every odd number curse from the Star Trek Movies but that means a lot of learning from the past and as much work in and out of Development to get this right.

I for one am excited to take Windows 9 for a test run, how about you?

Microsoft Had A Few Surprises For Us Today

So no guest appearance by Cortana, no Surface Watch or Windows Frames glasses but instead there were several significant pieces of news.

The chances of an astounding unveil of Microsoft Wearables was slight and would have indicated a drastic change in all things Redmond. (sigh)

Microsoft - Surface Watch

What Actually Happened?

Joe Belfiore of Windows Phone fame presented an impressive list of things to look out for, including some market statistics showing Windows and Windows Phone in a favorable light.

So, what were the significant points and why?

  • Windows Phone 8.1 Confirmed including a slew of Enterprise features.
  • Windows Phone with Dual SIM support: this is certainly significant for the Enterprise user both the jet-setter and as a good solution for the BYOD crowd. Windows Phone will allow Live Tiles for both SIMs so users will be able to access and use their personal or work SIM from the same “desktop”.
  • Support for Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 and 400 series chipsets, with options that support all major cellular technologies
  • Relaxation of hardware requirements: until now OEMs were obligated to make handsets for Windows Phones with the 3 hardware buttons; making production a pricey business. With this change the cost of OEM Windows Phone production just dropped. De facto OEMs can use Android handsets for Windows Phones.
  • Microsoft announced 9 new OEM Windows Phone partnerships. It’s a fair assumption that these partnerships were sealed after much negotiation on the previous point.
  • No new devices were mentioned but just the announcement of Dual SIM (and new partners) means new devices are on the way.
  • (Windows 8.1 was mentioned but I think I’ll save that for another post.)

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The Warptest POV

The rumors of Windows Phone running Android Apps might have been as a result of some of the big Android players that Microsoft was courting in the OEM deal. Hopefully this drives a stake thru the heart of what can only be described as a desperation play.

What is clear from the press event is Microsoft is aggressively pursuing a greater market share of the Smartphone market in 2014 and the consumer is going to benefit from a variety of new devices.

Most significant was the absence of any mention of hot, big league apps turning up in the Windows Phone Store except Facebook Messenger. With Path, Waze and Instagram (beta) following Vine and others onto Windows Phone, which apps are left? Perhaps we will see Secret or Telegram join Windows Phone in 2014 but do these have the same added value as the aforementioned apps?

In reality, it’s not about any specific app for Windows Phone anymore. It’s about seeing these apps appear in the Windows Phone Store at the same time as their iOS and Android counterparts.

Clearly big things are happening for Windows Phone in 2014. I’ll be checking the Microsoft stock ticker, how about you?