Windows Phone 8 Isnt an iPad Killer, but Rather an iPad Alternative

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2012-09-06 Print this article Print

And there's no question that Apple will sell a couple million iPhones on the first day they're available. The iPhone 5 will be a very popular phone. For a few days, at least, it will eclipse everything else. But after the hype dies down, the iPhone 5 is still an iPhone. It will have a slightly larger screen and it will be faster than current iPhones, but it will not be a departure from the iPhones of yore. The iPhone iFans depend on Apple's conservative rate of change. They want their changes to come slowly and predictably, and Apple accommodates them.

This is where Microsoft offers a real alternative.

Windows Phone 8 is not a continuation of the design created by Apple and a slew of predecessors. It's something new. And unlike the iPhone, which comes in basically one flavor, Windows 8 phones will be available from several makers with a variety of features and a range of price points. While Windows Phone 8 will be standardized, the hardware won't be. This means you will be able to get a phone with a large screen, a phone that supports LTE, a phone that has a seriously good camera or some combination. You aren't stuck with one configuration and one manufacturer.

But it's important to note that Microsoft isn't positioning Windows Phone 8 or the devices that support it as iPhone killers. They aren't. What they are would better be described as iPhone alternatives. Despite its popularity, Apple's iPhone is not universally loved. Far more people buy devices other than iPhones than buy iPhones. Right now, most of those people choose Android devices, but that's because it's the only other viable alternative.

What this means is that the majority of buyers are looking for something that offers a wide range of features and price points, but that isn't an iPhone. That's the place where Microsoft wants Windows Phone 8 to be, and considering that previous Windows Phones have sold very well, there's every reason to believe that they will sell in even larger numbers once there is more choice and a better alternative.

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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