Clean slate again for Microsoft’s Windows (Phone) 9. Major rethink of Metro UI, one OS for tablets and phones
Almost 3 years after it started shipping, Windows Phone is anything but success. Microsoft’s mobile market share remains in the low single digits, and even a major OS redesign from WP7 to WP8 , failed to ignite sales. Their pure ARM tablet OS is even a bigger failure.
So what’s next for Microsoft mobile push?
Microsoft has now formed a working group to develop a blueprint for the next version of Windows mobile OS. And they are doing it from more or less clean slate, again. Group’s task is to create the new single OS for both smartphones and tablets, and everything is on the table. Including the Metro UI, which may either see a major redesign, on be scrapped for something else in Windows (Phone) 9.
Neither the new UI, nor the feature set for the next generation of the OS exist yet. Working group’s recommendations on both should be presented to company management in early fall, with the new OS scheduled to launch sometime in 2015.
Given the current lack of traction in the market, Microsoft has to do something about its mobile platforms. Merging Windows RT and Windows Phone ARM platforms into a single OS, sounds like a smart thing to do. As is a major soul searching of what’s wrong with Metro UI. Which may have won a lot of critical praise, but failed to ignite customer interest on smartphones, tablets and even traditional Windows laptops.
I just hope Microsoft is serious about those 36 months of support for current Windows phones, they promised recently. And that support does not mean only token updates, with a huge compatibility break when the next generation OS arrives. You know – the way things happened in transition from Windows Phone 7.5 to 8.
Windows Phone development is already too slow. Every new WP update/version release, when it ships, is at least a generation behind in chipset and other top of the line component support. When do you think the first 1080p Windows Phone on Qualcomm 600 CPU will ship? My guess – right about the time Qualcomm 800 WQXGA (2560×1600) Android flagships hit the market.
Microsoft has to close this feature gap somehow, and waiting until 2015 Windows (Phone) 9 to do that, won’t cut it. But if they can catch up to Android in the core Windows Phone 8.x capabilities within next 12 to 18 months, and then come out with the new, fresh looking next generation unified platform in a couple of years… Now, that, sounds interesting.