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January 14, 2012 • Editorials

iOS, Android and Windows Phone – Where is the Market Headed? An Open Discussion

 

Photo on 1 14 12 at 12 10 PM  2

Judie and I both got HTC Titans the other day and have jumped into using them. Our initial thoughts? We both like them… a lot! We’ve been discussing a great deal of this behind the scenes. One discussion began with my posting

So I really have to say that I am loving the hell out of the HTC Titan (even with its now slightly dented corners):-] I’m still learning how to get around but it is polished, tight, and a pleasure to use. Best onscreen keyboard ever! No matter how good the hardware o do t think I would like an Android phone long term. Not do here. It needs more apps but Microsoft killed it with the OS.

It sparked a lot of private discussion that we will share soon. In the meantime Mike wrote/asked…

Along the WP7 lines … here is my topic for debate: Android has almost no inherent loyalty base, and if WP7 and Nokia gets traction, we will see Android plummet almost as fast as RIM, while iOS hold happy at ~28%.

Thoughts and comments?

I replied:
IF people are making an educated choice I think this is rather insightful. But that is a big IF. The biggest thing that might stand in the way is the reason the Kindle Fire is a hit- price. (Sorry Fire fanboys and girls but I really think that is true.) WP devices are not going to be free on contract and time soon but the number of android devices that are free on contract will be huge. That might stand in the way, at least for a time.
IF consumers are smart however the real competition a few years from now will be between iOS and WP and it will be one of those happy and rare situations where there isn’t a bad choice.


It was then that it became clear this was a great topic for discussion so… discuss…

25 Responses to " iOS, Android and Windows Phone – Where is the Market Headed? An Open Discussion "

  1. This was something I heard a lot from CES this week: for many, the most exciting phones were NOT Android for a change, but instead were the HTC Titan II and Nokia Lumia 900 … Windows Phone devices.  In fact, the only Android excitement I heard about was the Samsung Note, an oversized phone/undersized tablet that has tremendous geek cred but has been known for a while and will never sell many units to the general population.

    So here is my hypothesis: within three years Windows Phone can take the #1 smartphone position and leave Android in 3rd place after watching the market share plummet and iOS will hold more or less steady.

    Why?  Money and Loyalty.

    In terms of Money, since Samsung, HTC, LG, and on and on are ALREADY paying Microsoft for every device, why should they care what OS they are using?  HTC has shown with the Titan they can really stand out, so it is clear that even within the limits MS has established there can be innovation.

    Which brings me to loyalty.  I argue that Android has none.  Well, that is overstating things, but I see things very much like in the dumb-phone era: people will stick with a brand if it offers the same stuff for a very low price, but if a better offer is there, fine.

    Also, one key element of loyalty to an ecosystem is apps: and since the average iOS user has more than 50 while the average Android user has fewer than 15 (and of course the Android user paid an average price of $0.00 for theirs), there is simply no barrier to switching.

  2. Joe O says:

    People may get locked in to Android if it stays big long enough for them to purchase a good number of apps. Then switching becomes harder.

    Also, I don’t think Google cares if Android plummets – as long as there’s competition, they”re more concerned with there being competition, that way they can have people using their pay products (Ads)

    Similar to how they want Firefox to succeed, and pay them (literally) hundreds of millions of dollars, despite Chrome “competing” with it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    After having been devoted to Windows Mobile for years with PDA’s and then through the “will converged devices ever really take hold” discussions (I didn’t think they would…how wrong I was!) and the eventual move to iOS, where I’ve been committed to for years now, I finally got an android phone a couple of weeks ago to try out.  I had tried one running some desert flavor or another a year or so ago, but it was so kludgy that it lasted only about a week, and then I gave it away.

    But, the Samsung Galaxy S II (the international version, not carrier branded) has been quite fun so far.  It should eventually get ICS, and perhaps by then I’ll be able to tell the difference between one flavor of android versus another.  It’s pretty zippy, and I can use it on T-Mobile or AT&T, since it’s an unlocked version.  There are lots of differences, but it brought back lots of WinMo memories for me, once I started having to dive into menus as you have to do on Android.  It really made me think that if WinMo & iOS mated, Android is what they would have given birth to.  It really seems like a cross between the 2 to me.  Right now, my iPhone 4S is sitting on my desk, turned off for the first time since I actually held an iPhone.  Will Android convert me permanently?  Maybe.  I’m still learning about how to use the device and the OS to know for sure if it could replace my iPhone.

    But, I disagree a lot that Android doesn’t have a loyal following and that people don’t pay for applications who use Android.  Maybe they aren’t as committed to an OS as iOS users are, but they’re still there. 

    I’d love to see app developers allow you to purchase a multi-platform version of apps.  That would make a SERIOUS difference when it comes time to consider changing devices.  If the app developers would consider something like that, particularly the “big” apps that cost more than the .99 – Docs to Go, Navigation, etc.  I’d happily pay a premium to an app developer to then get access across all the platforms they develop for, rather than having to re-purchase if I were to consider switching hardware. 

    I don’t think that Windows Phone will gain that much traction again.  I think they are just coming to the party too late.  If they had responded with evolving their devices/OS before the iPhone dominated and Android came into being, while they were still the OS of choice for business mobile device users, they might not be standing at the bottom of the mountain looking up a sheer rock face.  But they are. 

    I don’t have a Windows Phone, but I’d love to have one.  But, I love mobile devices, and don’t think I can ever have “enough” when it comes to them.  I realize that most people don’t feel this way.   They get what feels good in their hand, what they can afford at the time their old phone breaks, or their contract renews, or what connects them to their social media sites easily.  They don’t spend hundreds on apps or media content for a specific device. 

    But those of us who do spend that money get locked into an OS because of it.  I think in the end, it will be less about who makes what hardware and how good it is, and more about cross-platform app development, which will put the future of hardware into the hands of the software developers who are putting out the content we consume, because in the end, the majority of devices now are driven by what content they can put into our hands, and how easy it is to get access to our content.  The devices are the bread – the apps are the PB&J.  Each are OK on their own, but when you put them together it’s just yummy goodness.

    • Dan Cohen says:

      **After having been devoted to Windows Mobile for years with PDA’s and then through the “will converged devices ever really take hold” discussions (I didn’t think they would…how wrong I was!)**LOL- I saw the Motorola MPX220 and immediately fell for convergence. But I remember clearly Smartphone Life Magazine doing a cover that said “WiFi on Smartphones? Who needs it?” Such an insightful publication that was. 

      **I don’t think that Windows Phone will gain that much traction again.  I think they are just coming to the party too late.  If they had responded with evolving their devices/OS before the iPhone dominated and Android came into being, while they were still the OS of choice for business mobile device users, they might not be standing at the bottom of the mountain looking up a sheer rock face.  But they are.  **
      I was convinced it was too little too late. Now I’m not. I think Windows Phone can do great but there are some hurdles. You point out one with the apps issue and Microsoft could easily address that by giving an Apps Credit to anyone who is switching from iOS or Android. Yes, it would cost them up front but it would lower the price of entry in a big way.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’d love to see Windows Phone emerge as a viable alternative personally.  But I just don’t think that trying to make a comeback after the let down their entire loyal user base and forced them to go elsewhere is going to be possible.  I mean, those of us who really used mobile devices before they converged and were literally everywhere, begged for WinMo to come to the party.  We were already in the habit of changing devices every year or so anyway, so an evolution would have been fine with us – we were already on board.  But they just disappeared and left us to find other devices.

        I used to get a new device about every 6 months, so I could keep up with all the cool kids.  Then I switched to an iPhone, and never looked back.  Yes, I upgraded my device (The only iPhone I skipped was the 3G, but I did get a 3GS) whenever a new iPhone came out, but that wasn’t the same thing as switching carriers or PDA’s to keep up.  And, I was so content with iOS and the progress it has made that I didn’t even look at another device…I had everything I needed.

        In fact, the only reason I really wanted an android was to check out stuff that GD posts…LOL!  I hate being out of the loop, and wanted to be able to try stuff out, and I’m not even going to pretend that it’s not just a toy for me.  Yes, I do sometimes need a second phone line, and having more options on a better device made a fine excuse to my wife to justify getting the SII, but the reality is that I wanted to play with it more than I needed it.  And, it’s proving to be fun…mostly.  I’m headed to a factory reset shortly because some sound had gotten caught in an unending loop and I can’t figure out which one and how to make it turn off.  I was testing ringtones and notification sounds and something somewhere is stuck.   But, that’s why it’s not likely to become my primary device.

        I’m also stuck because some of my contacts just will not sync, no matter what I do.  It’s driving me a little crazy!  But, I’ll keep working on it.  In the meantime, I ordered a couple of spare batteries (man, I sure do like being able to just drop in a fresh battery as opposed to having to lug around a bunch of external batteries!) and a 32GB micro SD to drop in.  They should be here soon.

        But, I digress.  I think that most of us who actually remember WinMo would be much more open to the device, along with people who really don’t know much about smartphones, who are are influenced by either price or a salesperson.  But, those of us committed to smartphones, get locked down into where we have spent our money on content, so we stay with either iOS or Android.  I’m not going to pay Docs to Go another $15-30 for the ability to edit on the Android.  I’ll use a free solution because I paid them for WinMo, and I paid them for iOS.  I’m just not shelling out more.  If they offered me a cross-platform discount and made it in the $5 range to get access to a new platform I’d do it, but that’s my limit.

        I suppose an app credit would help to ease the pain, but I can’t imagine having to do the whole “get it customized” to my needs & habits a third time, no matter what the hardware looked like.  I guess if the device was a gift, or I could get one free then I’d be willing, but it would very likely not be by primary device.  It might move up to first alternate though…I’d have to see one in my hands before I could make that kind of decision, and I’m just not willing to shell out for one that I don’t think will survive, which means that because I won’t shell out (and I’m not alone!) that they will have a much harder time in general finding a loyal customer base again.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hmmm…that dupe post ghost is out to get us both! 😉

        • Anonymous says:

          All great points and this is a good read. Thank you.
          I agree… Mostly. I likely would not have bought the device I am using initially but now having used it I actually might have considered it. Yes, it really is that good.

          I too was a devoted windows mobile user and, in fact, I made fun of the iPhone when it was first announced. Now… Well you know that story. My point is that this is a totally different experience than WM and has the finesse and polish that I find lacking in Android. Microsoft would be far better off if this came out with mango two years ago but it didn’t. Still, I can see this gaining traction barring the apps issue you so correctly raise.

          And don’t get me wrong. I love my iPhone. But if the iPhone didn’t exist this would make it all better. In fact there are some things it does MUCH better than the iPhone but that will have to wait for Judie’s and my post. 😉

          Sent from my Windows Phone
          ——————————

          • Anonymous says:

            LOL – I made fun of the iPhone too.  It was OK hardware, but it couldn’t do half of what my WinMo phone could do until the App Store came in, and even then it was about 6 moths before there were enough quality apps to make it viable as a business user.  And that reinforces the point about the apps & content driving the devices. 

            If you’re ever done playing with your Titan, feel free to send it along to CA…I’d love to get some time to play with it and see if it’s as good as you say!   😉

  4. Anonymous says:

    I think the reason why Android wasn’t talked about as much was that the biggest announcement has already happpened. CES is rarely about what will be hot now…but what will be hot in 2-5. Years. Case in point, Android tablets.

    If Microsoft can’t court developers, they will not be successful with Windows Phone no matter how good it is.

    • Anonymous says:

      Microsoft is doing just fine with courting developers. When I first tried Windows Phone The app offerings were few. Now, not all that much later,pretty much all the apps I need are available in some form or another. It isn’t the number of apps available but the types and quality and the platform is doing pretty well on that front.
      Sent from my iPad

      • Anonymous says:

        Interesting.  We’ll see.  Right now it sounds a little like Android a couple years ago.  Maybe they can do better. but I think Android has quite a few tricks left up it’s sleeve and a loyal base.  

        • Really?  How?

          Android has ALWAYS been fragmented, and no one who COULD do anything about it cares – Eric Schmidt did a double-speak where he both denied it and said it was a good thing.  Windows Phone is unified.

          But more to the point I made – DOES Android have a loyal base?  I would be intrigued to see what percentage of people have stuck with the same phone brand for multiple generations.  I think I have discovered I am pretty loyal to Motorola (original Droid, Droid Pro and looking at Droid 4), but I wonder about others.

          • Anonymous says:

            Well I will be leaving Motorola.  I went with the Droid 2 because I liked Moto hardware in the past.  The software they put on it is subpar.  Motoblur sucks.  Big time.  Which is why I will be going with the Galaxy Nexus or an HTC phone next.  I liked the G1 as klunky as it was.  The main reason is, even as klunky as it was, the HTC hardware was solid.  It also helps that HTC says you can do what you want with their phone and provided a unlock for the bootloader.  Granted, I am an outlier, but….

            Android has had a bad year.  The single thing that held them back was NOT fragmentation, but the non release of the 3.2 source.  This set back many a project and soured the core that loved Android, Open Source developers.  Plus it didn’t help that they released Honeycomb before it was ready.

            2012 is a new year and hopefully Android 4 devices will squash the big F word.  Android devices makers take note: you will have MORE freedom embracing Android lightly.  Android itself doesn’t need your stupid skins….it needs your help.  If the device makers want freedom, then they will stick with Android.  Going with Windows Phone gets them the exact opposite.

            As for Windows Phone, there’s still a lot of soreness from some users.  I was one of them.  Yeah I DO realize that Windows Phone is different than Windows Mobile and is better, but it still left a sour taste in my mouth.  I wanted to believe in Windows Mobile.  I bought the Toshiba e740, The HP iPaq 5555 and the 4355 and loved them all and saw some of what Microsoft could do well.  It was little things that just soured me.  Activesync, ROM support on past devices (still an issue on Android phones now…but getting better) and just general jankiness with Windows Mobile.  So Windows Phone is good now, but what’s to say they won’t do the same thing with it?  No Phone OS is perfect.  In a version or two, we’ll see if Microsoft fixes the ills of Windows Phone or do like they used  to in the past and ignore it.  So far, it seems like they aren’t with what I have read about Mango but we’ll see.

            • doogald says:

              Honeycomb source was released with the ICS source in mid-November. 

              In my opinion, consumers do not care one iota about whether an OS is open source or not. Many want iPhones because they are iPhones, or because they love their iPods and want to continue with Apple, or are just following the crowd (something we all do in some category of consumer spending), many choose Android phones because they were there when iPhone was not (T-Mobile, Sprint or Verizon), or they dislike Apple, or perhaps they (mistakenly) believe that you need a Mac to use an iPhone. Not many people chose the Palm Pre, despite having a great OS. Part of that was that it was unreliable hardware, but part of that may simply have been bad luck. 

              Sometimes it pays to be lucky in business, and I think that Android has been, WebOS has not been, and whether WP is lucky or unlucky is only a story we will learn with time. My guess? There is not enough to convince enough phone buyers to try it. Saying that, Microsoft can afford to be patient; perhaps if they are patient enough, WP will succeed. However, the experience of the Zune and the Kin suggest that even a good-enough hardware/software combo will fail if it enters the market too late (Zune, Pre/webOS), and that even megadollars of market development funds to push a platform will not always lead to success (Kin).

          • Anonymous says:

            Well I will be leaving Motorola.  I went with the Droid 2 because I liked Moto hardware in the past.  The software they put on it is subpar.  Motoblur sucks.  Big time.  Which is why I will be going with the Galaxy Nexus or an HTC phone next.  I liked the G1 as klunky as it was.  The main reason is, even as klunky as it was, the HTC hardware was solid.  It also helps that HTC says you can do what you want with their phone and provided a unlock for the bootloader.  Granted, I am an outlier, but….

            Android has had a bad year.  The single thing that held them back was NOT fragmentation, but the non release of the 3.2 source.  This set back many a project and soured the core that loved Android, Open Source developers.  Plus it didn’t help that they released Honeycomb before it was ready.

            2012 is a new year and hopefully Android 4 devices will squash the big F word.  Android devices makers take note: you will have MORE freedom embracing Android lightly.  Android itself doesn’t need your stupid skins….it needs your help.  If the device makers want freedom, then they will stick with Android.  Going with Windows Phone gets them the exact opposite.

            As for Windows Phone, there’s still a lot of soreness from some users.  I was one of them.  Yeah I DO realize that Windows Phone is different than Windows Mobile and is better, but it still left a sour taste in my mouth.  I wanted to believe in Windows Mobile.  I bought the Toshiba e740, The HP iPaq 5555 and the 4355 and loved them all and saw some of what Microsoft could do well.  It was little things that just soured me.  Activesync, ROM support on past devices (still an issue on Android phones now…but getting better) and just general jankiness with Windows Mobile.  So Windows Phone is good now, but what’s to say they won’t do the same thing with it?  No Phone OS is perfect.  In a version or two, we’ll see if Microsoft fixes the ills of Windows Phone or do like they used  to in the past and ignore it.  So far, it seems like they aren’t with what I have read about Mango but we’ll see.

          • Anonymous says:

            And I come back to this. It is just my opinion and experience but…
            I have tried a bunch of android devices. I really really wanted to like them but could not get there. When I went back to the iPhone it was not just running to the iPhone but running away from what I had been using.
            I may go back to the iPhone at some point but it will not be because I am running from this Titan but because I want the tight ecosystem and siri. The phone is excellent. The speeds are fast. I have not had one hiccup with the Os since I started using it. The app offerings are good and getting better. The camera, once I learned how to use it, is spectacular. I feel positively about it in a way I never felt about an android device after the first day or two.

            Sent from my Windows Phone
            ——————————

  5. Anonymous says:

    I have to say that this time around, I like what I’m seeing with WP.  I have not had the opportunity to play with one, but I’d really like to.  The problem with Android was that it followed, in too many ways, the model that MS took with the original PPC devices and Windows Mobile and as a result suffers from many of the same problems.  The most significant problem isn’t fragmentation but rather the lack of guidelines/restrictions on the manufacturers and carriers.  The end result has been few decent devices and MANY sub-par devices.  Many interface issues, odd pauses, etc. that the manufacturers think they will solve with more memory or faster processors rather than fixing the problems with the OS and the interfaces that are causing these oddities.  Worse – the diversity in screen resolutions has lead to a HUGE problem with many many apps – especially in niche markets like foreign language study (a favorite of mine – lol) that don’t work correctly because of the inconsistent implementation of keyboard/language/character sets, and apps that don’t display right on any but a subset of devices out there.  Not good.  WM had many similar issues – remember having to PAY for language sets?   Apple got that stuff absolutely right.  And WP is now heading in a good direction by setting device specs and guidelines for manufacturers and developers to follow that don’t allow nearly as much silliness to creep into the equation.

    Will they succeed?  Don’t know.  But market analysts made the predication last year that WP would push Android down in about 3-5 years.  This is not a new idea.  Seemed almost silly when they said it last year.  It sure doesn’t look so silly now!   I’m really happy to see what MS is doing – and that is something I NEVER thought I would say.  I, for one, will be going to my AT&T store very soon to play with one of these new WP devices.  I doubt I will be switching from iPhone any time soon, but I will absolutely be watching WP very closely!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Well, I have to disagree with the “Android users aren’t loyal” point.  I think there is a percentage of Android users that simply got it because it was the only option on their carrier, and the phone was free or cheap.  However, there is also another significant percent that have bought in because of Android. If you aren’t talking about Apple, and their irrational loyal following, I doubt any mobile OS is going to have true loyalty for any amount of time. And that’s good for us, the consumers.  The other thing to keep in mind if you talk about people switching from Android to WP is that over the last couple of years both Apple and Google have done a tremendous job tying their cloud services to the mobile OS. If you have all of your music, documents, mail, etc. tied to one provider it makes it that much more difficult to switch, unless there is a monumental benefit. Heck, in my case I use Google Voice for all my calls and it integrates with Android in ways it never will on competing systems.

    I used Pocket PC and WM devices before it was cool and owned several of the early PPC phone devices. MS basically abandoned ship on all of us users by failing to improve and innovate for years and that has made me very skeptical of their ability or even desire to really compete in this space. Even the relatively slow development of WP7 has caught my eye. Don’t forget this is an OS that has been out for well over a year now and it is just now almost catching up feature wise with iOS and Android. 

    Then let’s talk about hardware. Yes, we are finally starting to see some higher end WP devices, yet even the highest end devices still offer lower resolution screens and less storage than the competition, yet are priced similarly.  Many keep talking about Android fragmentation, but that really is less of an issue than made out to be. Android was built to be screen-size agnostic, just like a web page, meaning if developers follow the proper guidelines they should properly resize to the screen. I know it’s not as simple as that, you have artwork, etc. to deal with, but the point is that the OS is much more flexible than either WP or iOS and because of that we will most likely always see advances, especially at the high-end, first on Android. It was the first to support WiMax, LTE, true HD screens, etc. 

    Funny, nobody talks about iOS and fragmentation, but it exists there too. How many of you non 4s owners have Siri, the biggest part of iOS5? There are apps that I can’t load on my 2nd gen iPod Touch because they require a newer OS that isn’t available for it. Anyone that tried to run iOS4 on there 3G complained about it’s performance.  WP is bound to end up with the same sort of “fragmentation” as hardware evolves and improves. If it doesn’t, then it will surely lag behind in terms of supported hardware and related features. Heck, if the message boards are correct, there are already issues with many apps not being updated to properly support 7.5, because if they do, they won’t work on 7.0. 

    I think the Nokia 900 is a fantastic looking and very functional device. I think WP, today is a good, non-complicated OS. However, the question remains, what in either the hardware or the OS would make today’s Android user switch. What’s the compelling benefit they get from moving? Sure brand new smartphone users may chose WP because it appears to be simpler to use, but even that is dependent on Microsoft’s ability to properly market the devices, and we have nothing to show that they have figured that out yet. But to the question of loyalty to Android, a user may not express their loyalty so much as show because Microsoft hasn’t provided a reason to change. 

  7. Anonymous says:

    Well, I have to disagree with the “Android users aren’t loyal” point.  I think there is a percentage of Android users that simply got it because it was the only option on their carrier, and the phone was free or cheap.  However, there is also another significant percent that have bought in because of Android. If you aren’t talking about Apple, and their irrational loyal following, I doubt any mobile OS is going to have true loyalty for any amount of time. And that’s good for us, the consumers.  The other thing to keep in mind if you talk about people switching from Android to WP is that over the last couple of years both Apple and Google have done a tremendous job tying their cloud services to the mobile OS. If you have all of your music, documents, mail, etc. tied to one provider it makes it that much more difficult to switch, unless there is a monumental benefit. Heck, in my case I use Google Voice for all my calls and it integrates with Android in ways it never will on competing systems.

    I used Pocket PC and WM devices before it was cool and owned several of the early PPC phone devices. MS basically abandoned ship on all of us users by failing to improve and innovate for years and that has made me very skeptical of their ability or even desire to really compete in this space. Even the relatively slow development of WP7 has caught my eye. Don’t forget this is an OS that has been out for well over a year now and it is just now almost catching up feature wise with iOS and Android. 

    Then let’s talk about hardware. Yes, we are finally starting to see some higher end WP devices, yet even the highest end devices still offer lower resolution screens and less storage than the competition, yet are priced similarly.  Many keep talking about Android fragmentation, but that really is less of an issue than made out to be. Android was built to be screen-size agnostic, just like a web page, meaning if developers follow the proper guidelines they should properly resize to the screen. I know it’s not as simple as that, you have artwork, etc. to deal with, but the point is that the OS is much more flexible than either WP or iOS and because of that we will most likely always see advances, especially at the high-end, first on Android. It was the first to support WiMax, LTE, true HD screens, etc. 

    Funny, nobody talks about iOS and fragmentation, but it exists there too. How many of you non 4s owners have Siri, the biggest part of iOS5? There are apps that I can’t load on my 2nd gen iPod Touch because they require a newer OS that isn’t available for it. Anyone that tried to run iOS4 on there 3G complained about it’s performance.  WP is bound to end up with the same sort of “fragmentation” as hardware evolves and improves. If it doesn’t, then it will surely lag behind in terms of supported hardware and related features. Heck, if the message boards are correct, there are already issues with many apps not being updated to properly support 7.5, because if they do, they won’t work on 7.0. 

    I think the Nokia 900 is a fantastic looking and very functional device. I think WP, today is a good, non-complicated OS. However, the question remains, what in either the hardware or the OS would make today’s Android user switch. What’s the compelling benefit they get from moving? Sure brand new smartphone users may chose WP because it appears to be simpler to use, but even that is dependent on Microsoft’s ability to properly market the devices, and we have nothing to show that they have figured that out yet. But to the question of loyalty to Android, a user may not express their loyalty so much as show because Microsoft hasn’t provided a reason to change. 

  8. Anonymous says:

    Well, I have to disagree with the “Android users aren’t loyal” point.  I think there is a percentage of Android users that simply got it because it was the only option on their carrier, and the phone was free or cheap.  However, there is also another significant percent that have bought in because of Android. If you aren’t talking about Apple, and their irrational loyal following, I doubt any mobile OS is going to have true loyalty for any amount of time. And that’s good for us, the consumers.  The other thing to keep in mind if you talk about people switching from Android to WP is that over the last couple of years both Apple and Google have done a tremendous job tying their cloud services to the mobile OS. If you have all of your music, documents, mail, etc. tied to one provider it makes it that much more difficult to switch, unless there is a monumental benefit. Heck, in my case I use Google Voice for all my calls and it integrates with Android in ways it never will on competing systems.

    I used Pocket PC and WM devices before it was cool and owned several of the early PPC phone devices. MS basically abandoned ship on all of us users by failing to improve and innovate for years and that has made me very skeptical of their ability or even desire to really compete in this space. Even the relatively slow development of WP7 has caught my eye. Don’t forget this is an OS that has been out for well over a year now and it is just now almost catching up feature wise with iOS and Android. 

    Then let’s talk about hardware. Yes, we are finally starting to see some higher end WP devices, yet even the highest end devices still offer lower resolution screens and less storage than the competition, yet are priced similarly.  Many keep talking about Android fragmentation, but that really is less of an issue than made out to be. Android was built to be screen-size agnostic, just like a web page, meaning if developers follow the proper guidelines they should properly resize to the screen. I know it’s not as simple as that, you have artwork, etc. to deal with, but the point is that the OS is much more flexible than either WP or iOS and because of that we will most likely always see advances, especially at the high-end, first on Android. It was the first to support WiMax, LTE, true HD screens, etc. 

    Funny, nobody talks about iOS and fragmentation, but it exists there too. How many of you non 4s owners have Siri, the biggest part of iOS5? There are apps that I can’t load on my 2nd gen iPod Touch because they require a newer OS that isn’t available for it. Anyone that tried to run iOS4 on there 3G complained about it’s performance.  WP is bound to end up with the same sort of “fragmentation” as hardware evolves and improves. If it doesn’t, then it will surely lag behind in terms of supported hardware and related features. Heck, if the message boards are correct, there are already issues with many apps not being updated to properly support 7.5, because if they do, they won’t work on 7.0. 

    I think the Nokia 900 is a fantastic looking and very functional device. I think WP, today is a good, non-complicated OS. However, the question remains, what in either the hardware or the OS would make today’s Android user switch. What’s the compelling benefit they get from moving? Sure brand new smartphone users may chose WP because it appears to be simpler to use, but even that is dependent on Microsoft’s ability to properly market the devices, and we have nothing to show that they have figured that out yet. But to the question of loyalty to Android, a user may not express their loyalty so much as show because Microsoft hasn’t provided a reason to change. 

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