When was the last time Microsoft launched a flagship smartphone? For those who can’t remember, that’s not at all surprising. If you don’t really care, well, that’s exactly my point. No one cares about Windows Phones, so what hope does the anticipated Surface Phone have?
Microsoft Corporation does moderately well in the hardware market. The firm scores particular success with its high-end gadgets. The Surface line-up alone presents itself as a refreshing and innovative take on consumer hardware, constantly securing rave reviews. However, we can go through a long list of MSFT hardware successes, only to hit a brick wall when it comes to mobile.
The smartphone market saw Microsoft jump in relatively late, pushing a mobile Windows OS that remains lackluster to this day. By the time the Windows maker really got serious back in 2014, scooping up Nokia’s Lumia business, the market had already picked its favorites.
The smart handset space is fairly large. Despite its best efforts, Microsoft continues to be a small and non-threatening player this realm of formidables. Anyone who owns a smartphone in 2017 is likely in possession of an Android-powered device or iPhone. Those in Eastern demographics and other developing regions might be have a gadget powered by Samsung’s Tizen OS.
Even the rigid Blackberry operating system., which was abandoned in favor of Android nearly two years ago, has more users today than Windows Mobile. Microsoft is a distant runner up to all the aforementioned smartphone systems, and in spite of the widespread use of Windows 10 on desktops, laptops and tablets, the Windows struggles to appeal to consumers when it is translated to mobile.
The rumored Surface Phone is said to change all this when it arrives. When or if that will actually happen is an exhausting guess. There have been hints, alleged leaks and patents filings offered as proof of the gadget for nearly two years now. In truth, excitement for the Surface Phone is dwindling. Those close Microsoft’s supply claim the device has been pushed back by at least a year. There are also news outlets reporting its arrival to be as late as 2019, triggering waves of frustration among some hopefuls and more doubt about its actual release.
“Seeing will be believing,” writes Ed, a reader who commented on a LearnBonds article a few weeks back. “With all MSFT’s resources I don’t know what’s taking so long. There is no better time like the present,” he stated. “And unless it will run conventional Windows software or require minimal conversion, a Surface Phone won’t succeed.”
Microsoft Lumia phones are a failure
Indeed, Windows Phones are not exactly everyone’s go-to handsets right now. And even that is a bit of understatement. The results of Gartner’s latest smartphone market analysis were released back in February 2017. They show Windows Mobile represents around 0.3 percent of the smartphone sales derived during the 2016 Christmas quarter.
Late 2015 was the last time Microsoft pushed out a Lumia gadget. The handsets were bought off Nokia in April 2014 for several billions. That was a billion-dollar according to many analysts. There was a gaping lack of any Lumia phones last year and none still in 2017. Talks about the phone line-up being done away with no longer seem so far-fetched.
Even with their own in-house gadgets bought off a reputable handset maker, Microsoft simply can’t get Windows Mobile to take off. The OS is still plagued by a lack of innovative services and popular apps. That, since developers can’t see the benefit if dedicating time to the an unused platform. In fact,Spotify, the world’s most popular music streaming service discontinued it’s support for Windows 10 Mobile two ago. All this only makes the already struggling platform that much more unfavorable.
With the state of the Windows platform the way it is and no flagship smartphones set to arrive any time soon, its hard to see Windows Mobile going anywhere but downhill. We can now see Microsoft’s new bid to win over mobile software subscriptions. Microsoft seems unconcerned about which platform the users is using either.
Microsoft Wins Mobile via Android
Satya Nadella rose to be the chief executive office at Microsoft pushing the firm’s cloud computing divisions to the fore. Under his guidance, the makers of Windows covered a lot of ground in the markets of remote storage and computing services. They now stand as a formidable rival in the race to secure first place in global cloud and AI solutions.
Microsoft under Nadella is focused not so much on building consumer hardware as it is in creating appealing subscriber software for hardware users. The company has a growing interest in raking in mobile cloud service subscriptions.
In what looks to be a re-approach on mobile, the makers of Windows are pushing their app services on iOS and Android systems. The latter platform appears to have more favor though. Microsoft sells its own edition of the Samsung Galaxy S8. Galaxy S remains the Korean gadget maker’s leading, high-end smartphone series. It will likely be in the running be in the running for the year’s best-selling smartphone.
The move gets mixed commentary from industry analysts. Some commend the avid push to secure greater stakes in smartphones. Several others jab at the company’s inability to revive Windows Mobile. The Samsung Galaxy S8 Microsoft Edition is not too different from the standard model. It is by no means a Windows Phone and runs Android version 7.0 Nougat. This product’s only distinct feature is that it is patched with Microsoft’s Android applications. These include renowned Windows solutions like Cortana, Office 365, OneDrive and more.
Forget Surface Phone
The Microsoft collaboration with Samsung is a different approach on mobile. A look at any recent earnings reports proves that Microsoft’s fixation on cloud software services exceed its hardware ambitions. Yet the company is determined to grow a hold over cloud and remote service markets. Only when it comes to mobile hardware, the Windows giant can not gain traction its in-house smartphones.
But the makers of Windows are a lot more fixated on Android than people might think. A glance at Microsoft’s mobile ventures in China reveal how deep the firm has embedded itself on the Google-related platform. 2016 saw word break about Microsoft teaming up with Xiaomi in a venture similar to that with Samsung. This weekend reveals Microsoft sells the popular Xiaomi Mi 5 smartphones stocked with in-house software.
There is little doubt the Surface Phone, if it turns out to be real, will be a hard-sell for the company. Even if the product offers full desktop capabilities — a PC in your pocket, as reports suggest — the disapproval looming over Windows-powered handsets will be hard to shake off. All evidence shows Microsoft understands the chances of your next smartphone purchase being a Windows Phone are slim. But it looks like US tech firm has found a way around its mobile popularity issue.
Looking ahead, Android will be a major part of the company’s smartphone salvation.