Microsoft Must Encourage Phone Makers to Focus on Quality

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2012-06-20 Print this article Print

If this turns out to be the case, then developers can create apps that run on Windows Phone 8 and on both versions of Windows 8 that will run on the Microsoft Surface with relatively few changes. This doesn€™t mean that you can simply load a WP8 phone app on a Windows 8 computer and have it work, however.

There is, however, a great deal of commonality between all the Windows 8 versions, so when apps are created for one, creating a new app for the others shouldn€™t be particularly difficult, at least in comparison to say, creating apps for Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7. This means that WP8 will feature things like Internet Explorer, which is probably a great deal more secure than the Webkit browsers used by many other phones.

So the next question is, will it sell? That, after all, is the bottom line. I think it will. But a great deal depends on the hardware platform that supports Windows Phone 8. Devices that are constructed with the level of quality that I found in the Nokia Lumia 900 probably will.

Phones that give the feel of lower perceived quality probably won€™t. You€™ll note that the Nokia Lumia phones, in this case the Lumia 710 being sold by T-Mobile and the Lumia 900 being sold by AT&T, sell very well indeed. In fact, the Lumia 900 sold so well in the United States that the phone€™s introduction to the United Kingdom was delayed for weeks.

But to keep this up, Microsoft has to encourage its phone vendors not to give in to cheap design and a clunky feel. While it probably shouldn€™t matter how a phone feels when you hold it and how it looks when you use it, the fact is that it does. Part of the reason that the Apple iPhone 4 and 4S sell so well is their striking design and build quality. Microsoft needs to encourage that approach, as well.

Unlike in the tablet market, however, Microsoft doesn€™t seem to be creating a self-branded Windows Phone of its own, so there€™s no Surface Phone to look forward to. That means there€™s no reference platform to encourage quality design, but by now, phone makers have no doubt figured out what a Windows phone should look and feel like, and what it should and should not do. If everyone plays their cards right, the new Windows phones should sell well. This is also good news because the phone market needs all the competition it can get.

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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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