Surface Phone Sounds Great, But Windows Phone Really Needs a New UI

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There’s renewed speculation about a Surface Phone this week after reports that Microsoft acquired the domain surfacephone.com. While I love the Surface brand and would love to see the same quality and innovation in the Microsoft smartphones, it’s what’s inside the smartphone that’s holding Microsoft back. If Microsoft wants Windows Phone to succeed, it needs to stop trying to be different and just copy iOS…like Android did.

Microsoft is struggling in the mobile phone arena. Wait. That’s actually probably too mild. Microsoft is failing miserably and gasping for air in the mobile arena. There is one thing Microsoft can do that would make it more competitive and win more market share: copy iOS and Android.

As it stands right now—according to NetMarketShare—Android enjoys a comfortable lead in the mobile market with 57.29 percent. Apple’s iOS is a distant, but respectable second place at 35.43 percent. Microsoft can take some solace in the fact that it is in third place, but that third place is a mere 2.58 percent. When your greatest “claim to fame” in the mobile market is that you have more than double the market share of BlackBerry, you’ve basically already failed.

Instead of trying to be unique and reinventing the wheel, Microsoft should just steal a page from the Android playbook—which is to steal the entire iOS playbook and just copy it.

A few years ago I spent 30 days using a Windows Phone smartphone in place of my iPhone. At the end of that series, I commended Microsoft for actually creating something new and innovative rather than just copying iOS and Android. “It is a unique mobile OS that delivers a different experience that doesn’t simply try to imitate iOS–more like having a Red Bull instead of a Coca Cola, or eating at KFC instead of McDonald’s. It’s not that I like it better than iOS per se. I like it about the same but for different reasons.”

I also shared my opinion of Android at the time. “Both the Motorola hardware and the Android OS seem capable enough. The couple times I have played with it, though, I have felt like it is a cheap knock-off of the real thing–like having a Pepsi instead of Coca Cola, or eating at Burger King instead of McDonald’s. It’s OK, but I already have the “real thing” in my iPhone 4.”

Fast forward to 2016. My opinion of Android hasn’t really changed, but my opinion of Microsoft trying to stand out as unique has.

Quasi-religious debates about whether iOS or Android is better, or which platform introduced which feature or capability first aside, the simple fact is that iOS and Android are very much alike. Despite its dominant market share, most Android mobile device manufacturers are losing money and the only brand that truly stands out as the “flagship” Android device is the Samsung Galaxy line.

See the full story on Forbes: Windows Can Be Saved If Microsoft Copies The Competition.

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I have a passion for technology and gadgets--with a focus on Microsoft and security--and a desire to help others understand how technology can affect or improve their lives. I also love spending time with my wife, 7 kids, 3 dogs, 5 cats, 3 rabbits, 2 ferrets, pot-bellied pig and sulcata tortoise, and I like to think I enjoy reading and golf even though I never find time for either. You can contact me directly at tony@techspective.net. You can contact me directly at tony@techspective.net. For more from me, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

4 Comments

  1. A true SurfacePhone would run the same UI as a Surface, that is, Windows 10. However it’s not the Windows Mobile interface that held WP back in sales. It’s the simple fact that Apple and Samsung were paying enormous spiffs directly to salespeople, so the people selling phones directed customers to those and away from anything else.

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  3. WRONG, It doesn’t need a UI to imitate iOS and Android that’s not how the worlds works. 1. It will not gain marketshare and 2. it will be just like any other smartphone in the market. 3. They will not create a new niche that could break a ground in the market for innovation. So this article is utter rubbish, its not worth reading the whole paragraph. #Fail

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