Microsoft surprised many in the tech field when it entered the arena of smartphones several years back. With Windows 8.1 mobile being Microsoft’s most downloaded mobile Operating System, support for the OS has been officially terminated as of mid-2017. Microsoft-based phone users are now upgrading to the improved, Windows 10 mobile operating system. The Windows 10 operating system for smartphones doesn’t quite have the market share that Android and iOS enjoy, but is an important case study and prospect for many reasons. Software developers following trends in mobile operating systems and apps have been keeping a close eye on the Windows 10 platform, and many are joining in on development opportunities the familiar platform is providing.
Windows 10 Advantages over Windows 8.1 Mobile
Many smartphones running Windows 8.1 are able to make the upgrade to Windows 10, however some are not due to required CPU and other specifications. With the more stringent required specifications many features will open up to users able to make the update. The biggest advantage Windows 10 has over its predecessor Windows 8.1 is a host of new features not accessible to the former OS. Among these features is the return of the fan-favorite Start Menu that’s been with Windows since its inception, save for the 8 and 8.1 releases.
Another new feature is a smarter search bar that allows for super-quick location of programs, apps, and commonly used items on any smartphone or PC. The most cutting-edge feature found on Windows 10 is the inclusion of Cortana 3.0, an intelligent search and task assistant akin to Apple’s popular Siri app. Cortana alone has convinced many Android and Apple users to make the switch to a Microsoft phone, which is unsurprising given Microsoft’s recent investments in Artificial Intelligence.
Development Opportunities for Windows 10 Mobile
Along with less market share comes less competition on the development and app marketing side of the mobile industry. That’s why developers willing to take a chance for higher app-store index rankings find Windows 10 mobile so interesting. Whereas a simple run-and-jump style game may be buried in the search results on Apple’s App Store or Google Play, Microsoft developers find themselves at an advantage among the fewer titles listed in the Microsoft Store.
Since the platform is so diverse, many web developers are also joining the trend, converting their WordPress hosting into a jumping off point to mobilize their existing websites. This encourages entry-level developers or those who prefer CMS-based websites to start building apps to share their content more organically on mobile.
Windows 10 Market Share in the Smartphone World
Research indicates that Microsoft has only achieved a one-percent market share among smartphones, globally. Regardless, that fact hasn’t stopped developers and manufactures from catering to the tech-industry giant’s new UWP platform. Timing is everything in the world of smartphone marketing, and Microsoft has arrived a little late to the party.
Hopeful developers are betting on an increased market share over time, however, and continue to develop apps for the UWP. The fact that Microsoft has gained so little acceptance among smartphone users may also be an important lesson in technology branding. This unique case-study market entrance shows that regardless of brand size, users must find your mobile products appealing and perhaps trendy or fashionable, as Apple has enjoyed of their own reputation. So even if Microsoft left the mobile market after end of support comes for Windows 10 mobile, which is seen as extremely unlikely anyway, it’s strategy in the smartphone world is a timeless case study of marketing and user experience research.
Windows 10 Smartphone UX
User experience, or UX, is unquestionably important on the mobile platform. Experts seem to agree that Microsoft’s Windows 10 OS has a great UX factor, if slightly underwhelming in terms of UI design. The OS uses flat graphics, swipable menus, and buttons reminiscent of a desktop computer. This approach contrasts Apple’s more condensed and fashionable feel and appearance. Microsoft seems to be taking a more traditional, computer-inspired approach which does make for an easy-to-use system for anyone coming from a Windows-based desktop or laptop computer. There are debates among UI designers about the effectiveness of Windows 10’s designs, but with Microsoft’s efforts to create a singular, unified platform across all devices, it seems they’ve left themselves little room for mobilizing the interface.
Microsoft’s Windows 10 mobile OS is important as an up-and-coming development platform in the smartphone industry. It’s also important as a case study in smartphone software and marketing. Windows is considered beginner-friendly and their mobile platform’s ease has inspired new developers, web designers, those with WordPress sites on WordPress hosting, and dynamic development teams to create or convert their existing web content for the universal platform. This new mobile platform is definitely something to keep your eye on if you’re planning to keep up with smartphone trends and enter new markets as they emerge.