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Will Pundits Kill Windows Phone 8?

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#1 BajiRav

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 16:42

PCMag
(I have quoted first half of the article below).

Will Pundits Kill Windows Phone 8?

Windows Phone 8 is only doomed if we say it is. I've been losing patience with the growing meme among pundits that Microsoft's new Windows Phone 8 is a brave try, but not worth recommending because it doesn't have the most popular apps from other platforms.
Yes, that's true, right now. But it may not be true in six months. And those same pundits actually have a lot of control over whether or not it will be true.
App momentum is all about perception and zeitgeist. It's either a positive or negative feedback loop. Microsoft can prime the pump a bit, and it's doing so. If carriers want to absolutely shove a platform at users (as Verizon did with Android), that will also aid adoption. But in general, as long as the platform's SDK is acceptable (which it is), developers will write for a platform if they feel the users are there, and users will come if the developers are there.
That gives pundits an unusual amount of power, because they have some control over perception. If developers and users see everywhere that Windows Phone is up and coming, they'll give it a try - and it'll be up and coming. But if they hear that it's a damp squib because of a lack of apps, they'll stay away, maintaining the lack of apps.

Not Everyone Uses iOS
I've been seeing the "doomed" meme come up recently in the work of influential writers I respect, like David Pogue of the New York Times (unlinkable because of the NYT paywall), Chris Ziegler of the Verge and Todd Hasleton of TechnoBuffalo. They try to couch their words in conditional terms, but their columns all read to me like early obituaries. The underlying tone is that "Windows Phone doesn't have every iPhone game I love right now, so it's worthless."
Against that I'll hold Noah Kravitz's column, "The Windows Phone Problem," which goes more negative on desktop Windows 8 than I prefer, but at least acknowledges that Windows Phone is a solid offering with a fighting chance.
One thing I've noticed is that a lot of these guys tend to be iOS guys, at least to tell from their repeated references to some game called Letterpress. I have a whole half-column written in my head about how sick I am of hearing about this Letterpress thing, which seems to have become some sort of Twitter shibboleth for being a hipster iOS user. But not everyone uses iOS, and not everyone is surrounded by people who use iOS. iOS is vastly overrepresented among geeks and pundits, I suspect. Most Americans aren't suffering from an iOS network effect. Windows Phone doesn't have Letterpress, but it has enough apps to amuse, and if it gets more momentum, other apps will come.
In a nation where only half of the people have smartphones, there's still room for Windows Phone. But it will only survive if people believe there's room for Windows Phone, and that's where the pundits are key.



Some good and valid points IMO.


#2 +LogicalApex

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 17:00

The problem is although competition would be great when it comes to OSes the nature of them are anti-competitive. Similar to how theoretically we can have 20 different phone companies (landlines for the sake of this point) because they can all run a line to our house it is practically impossible due to the extreme costs of running the lines.

People eventually become locked into OSes because they have a huge investment of applications around that OS and not because they love or hate it. This is the biggest problem Windows Phone faces. Microsoft seems to finally be getting it to a point to compete, but the alternative platforms already have a dedicated following in terms of developers. At some point, people will ignore you because the industry is too invested in the competition. Any actual advantages at that point are moot.

Have we reached that point in the mobile race? We're too close to it for me to tell, but it will happen at some point. Just like it happened with PCs and there came a point where Windows mattered so much that no matter how good the competition they couldn't dream of uprooting Windows.

#3 spacer

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 17:01

I agree and disagree (with the OP quotes) at the same time.

Windows Phone does looks like a good alternative, but the "lack of apps" is mentioned or bulletted in every review I've read about WP8, the 8X, or the Lumia 920. That kind of consistent "bad press" will undoubtedly have a negative impact on consumer perception. However, what is the pressto do? They have to mention it in order to have a comprehensive review. But, they can't (shouldn't) out-right lie and say the apps are fine.

It's a catch-22 of some sort. The developers won't create apps for a platform with low market share. Market share won't increase until the platform has the apps people want.

In my opinion, developers need to bite the bullet and produce the apps along-side their android/iOS counterparts. If developers are too frugal to do it themselves, then Microsoft needs to incentivise development. Consumers will never be the first party to invest in a new platform. And no change will happen until the relevant parties realize that.

#4 airedwin

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 17:16

I agree. I saw a review on The Verge for Apple products where they average a score based on some categories. One of the categories is ecosystem and any Apple product automatically gets a 10. It is completely unfair since the ecosystem isn't actually part of the hardware. And they have a software score as well, I don't see how they can give an 8 to Apple products when they release a broken maps App. Android had a glaring December calendar issue. Can you imagine if Windows Phone 8 had such issues? Would they still rate it an 8?
And they rated the Lumia 920 camera an 8 and the iPad mini an 8. How is this fair? They are saying the iPad mini has a camera just as good as the Lumia's? Seriously?
I just can't understand how the Lumia 920 gets an overall 7.9 and the iPad Mini gets 9.0

#5 +Chicane-UK

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 17:23

It's a real catch 22 problem.. nothing is impossible on the Windows Phone, and all it needs is more developer support. Developers won't bother unless they have customers. Customers won't buy unless the applications are there that they want.

People dismiss "ecosystem" but it's become one of, if not the most important features. Microsoft need to somehow lure developers into working more aggressively on the Windows 8 platform but frankly I don't know what they can do to make it happen. Not sure if some huge week long, free technical seminar and open coding event, for all registered developers at various locations around the world - it would cost them a fortune but would it make them a fortune in applications?

Speaking from my own experience of Windows Phone, whilst the majority of "big" apps I use are now there (Spotify, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter), independent application support is still woeful.. podcast applications for example are a total disaster. The platform really needs a big injection of quality applications.

#6 airedwin

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 17:32

I think most people think ecosystem = # of apps. I don't think that is correct.

#7 Astra.Xtreme

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 17:33

I agree. I saw a review on The Verge for Apple products where they average a score based on some categories. One of the categories is ecosystem and any Apple product automatically gets a 10. It is completely unfair since the ecosystem isn't actually part of the hardware. And they have a software score as well, I don't see how they can give an 8 to Apple products when they release a broken maps App. Android had a glaring December calendar issue. Can you imagine if Windows Phone 8 had such issues? Would they still rate it an 8?
And they rated the Lumia 920 camera an 8 and the iPad mini an 8. How is this fair? They are saying the iPad mini has a camera just as good as the Lumia's? Seriously?
I just can't understand how the Lumia 920 gets an overall 7.9 and the iPad Mini gets 9.0


It actually does have comparable issues. The Maps app is absolutely atrocious. Even worse than Apple Maps.

#8 airedwin

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 17:37

It actually does have comparable issues. The Maps app is absolutely atrocious. Even worse than Apple Maps.

Are you talking about Bing maps? Because the Lumia 920 comes with Nokia Maps.

#9 theyarecomingforyou

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 17:46

Are you talking about Bing maps? Because the Lumia 920 comes with Nokia Maps.


But the discussion is about WP8 as a platform, so it doesn't matter whether Nokia has their own app or not.

#10 Dashel

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 18:36

I just love how most reviewers ignore the greater cloud ecosystem question (or why GMail loving monkeys keep reviewing the WP's). Frak apps, MS's cloud ecosystem is the shining centerpiece that few touch on.

#11 airedwin

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 19:04

I just love how most reviewers ignore the greater cloud ecosystem question (or why GMail loving monkeys keep reviewing the WP's). Frak apps, MS's cloud ecosystem is the shining centerpiece that few touch on.

Ya, I'm not sure how people discount MicroSoft's ecosystem. Some of it is new but a lot of it is already established.
Xbox Games
Windows Store
Xbox Music/Video
Windows PC
Microsoft web services
Windows Server, Exchange

#12 PGHammer

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 19:13

It's a real catch 22 problem.. nothing is impossible on the Windows Phone, and all it needs is more developer support. Developers won't bother unless they have customers. Customers won't buy unless the applications are there that they want.

People dismiss "ecosystem" but it's become one of, if not the most important features. Microsoft need to somehow lure developers into working more aggressively on the Windows 8 platform but frankly I don't know what they can do to make it happen. Not sure if some huge week long, free technical seminar and open coding event, for all registered developers at various locations around the world - it would cost them a fortune but would it make them a fortune in applications?

Speaking from my own experience of Windows Phone, whilst the majority of "big" apps I use are now there (Spotify, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter), independent application support is still woeful.. podcast applications for example are a total disaster. The platform really needs a big injection of quality applications.


I wonder if anyone realizes that the same can - in fact, should - be said about the WinRT API. (It's even newer than the API for Windows Phone 8, and borrows heavily from it.)

It's something that I have, in fact, been posting about since way back with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

The competing ecosystems (iOS and Android) are doing their hardest to suck the developer life away from both the Windows Phone 8 *and* WinRT APIs; they can't afford to target just one OR the other because the Windows Phone and WinRT APIs have too much in common, and even can share development toolboxes. (Haven't the workshops in the last two BUILD conferences shown this?) Android has the biggest problem, as most Android development isn't done ON Android (or even Linux), but on (egad) *Windows*; iOS is relatively safe because iOS development still requires a Mac (or Hack) and thus a contribution to Apple. The punditocracy is feeding into user impatience with a decided degree of malice aforethought because they are realizing the "giant" (Microsoft) is awake - they don't want their beloved Apple and Google ground into flour and baked into bread.

#13 ThreadAbort

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 19:21

One of the things that will help the apps issue is that Windows 8 apps are pretty easy to port to Windows Phone 8 apps.

This to me is what will fix this issue in the long run.

#14 PGHammer

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 19:45

One of the things that will help the apps issue is that Windows 8 apps are pretty easy to port to Windows Phone 8 apps.

This to me is what will fix this issue in the long run.


It works the other way as well.

And the Android and iOS developers are quite aware of this, thank you - it's basically the same paradigm used by Android and iOS.

The last thing they want is for that same paradigm to get ANY sort of success outside the loverly niche they have carved out for themselves.

They are playing up the FUD for all that it's worth.

#15 OP BajiRav

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 22:12

It's a real catch 22 problem.. nothing is impossible on the Windows Phone, and all it needs is more developer support. Developers won't bother unless they have customers. Customers won't buy unless the applications are there that they want.

People dismiss "ecosystem" but it's become one of, if not the most important features. Microsoft need to somehow lure developers into working more aggressively on the Windows 8 platform but frankly I don't know what they can do to make it happen. Not sure if some huge week long, free technical seminar and open coding event, for all registered developers at various locations around the world - it would cost them a fortune but would it make them a fortune in applications?

Speaking from my own experience of Windows Phone, whilst the majority of "big" apps I use are now there (Spotify, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter), independent application support is still woeful.. podcast applications for example are a total disaster. The platform really needs a big injection of quality applications.

Android doesn't have a tablet ecosystem or at least not much larger than Windows 8 but still I don't see these pundits marking it down for it.