It seems that iOS and Android will be dominating the smartphone landscape for some time to come thanks to Microsoft ‘losing its focus’ on Windows 10 mobile. This much to the chagrin of manufacturers like HP that’s supposed to have big plans for its HP Elite X3 hardware. Customers are also disappointed like the NYPD who may have gotten some advance notice and have dropped the platform for their on-demand police database plus the few million Windows 10 Mobile users who have gone to love the platform because of its UI and other reasons.
It’s really quite a shame as we would have loved a third platform. The rows upon rows of icons on our phones whether it’s Android or iOS are getting quite dated. I’d hate to repeat myself, but many people loved Microsoft’s fresh take on the UI. I haven’t been able to check out the difference of iOS 11 between my iPhone 6S, the iPhone 8, the iPad Pro and the iPhone X but on the iPhone 6S, not much has changed aside from the new Control Center and the App Store. As a credit to Apple, I hardly minded the change in the Control Center meaning many users should feel right at home. My biggest critique to iOS 11 on the iPhone 6 and 6S, is that it’s sluggish. Thus, many are accusing Apple of throttling their old devices to of course get people to buy the new iPhone 8 and iPhone X. Oh, they definitely will but the nudge wasn’t necessary. As for Android, the experience hasn’t changed much either. Just like iOS, it’s rows and rows of icons. It’s still the same thing whether it’s on my wife’s new Nokia 5 or on the Galaxy S8 of one of my managers. There are just a few differences under the hood. When news came out regarding Microsoft’s Microsoft Launcher for Android, I quickly checked out the screenshots as many Windows Phone fans probably did as well hoping perhaps for that Nokia X or Windows 10 Mobile look. Microsoft Launcher looks just as similar to Samsung’s Microsoft Launcher looks just as similar to Samsung’s TouchWiz except for a few differences and features like “Continue on PC” which allows seamless work between the Android Phone and PC; speed dial icons of constant contacts and The Feed that contains news, events and most used apps which is actually a cool thing to have. Leave it to Microsoft to actually do well on other people’s platforms but somehow find it difficult to do on their own. It’s not like Microsoft will be leaving Windows 10 Mobile users to dry. To die slowly perhaps. Mr. Belfiore assured that support and security updates will still be available, but new features are no longer on the table as Microsoft has lost its focus.
Whenever I get an Android phone for myself, I look for a Windows Mobile or Windows Phone launcher for it. However, my love for Android is fleeting, and the phones find themselves in the hands of other owners. Again, I make it a point to look for a Windows Phone launcher, and that’s what many are asking. If Windows Mobile/Phone owners have to shift to Android, surely Microsoft could port their tiles on it.
The sad part of doing so is having to put shortcuts to apps on the launcher and it could get ugly. These launchers have icons for Android’s built-in apps (and some popular ones) but not for third-party ones. If Microsoft wants to make an official Windows Mobile/Phone Launcher for Android, they’ll have to also encourage app developers to create tiles or live tiles, something developers might not want to do, which is why the Microsoft Launcher looks like everyone else’s.
At least for fans who got used to using Edge on Windows 10 Mobile, Microsoft is porting Edge to Android and iOS. The company is porting some of its apps and services to other operating systems as a soft of apology to its fans who can’t live without them. And the rumored Surface Phone? Here’s an idea. Fork Android or adopt it. Add new features. Integrate it with Office. Create the Windows 10 Mobile Launcher and urge developers to find some time to create static or live tiles to add onto their already existing Android apps. They can’t be that lazy, and even if they are, at least Microsoft would have another piece of hardware in their stable. Halloween is coming. Windows 10 Mobile can still come back in spirit.