Thursday, 22 October 2015

App Gap

I like the Windowsphone platform. It seems to me to be the most consistent interface that provides ease of use. Other platforms have screens full of icons that are at best confusing and at worst really fail to engage you. Windowsphones have excellent cameras in which almost every other platform is a poor relation and they integrate well into the standard PC ecosystem.

So I like Windowsphone.

The problem is that the modern phone is not a phone. It is a personal computing platform. Since Steve Jobs and Apple decided to let developers create apps for the iPhone the 'phone' has become a pocket computer that has the capability to make and receive voice communication.

This means if you want to do a computing task on the move you need a phone app.

The iphone is a developer favourite because it is a high quality fashion item. Developers find that if someone is prepared to pay anything up to £1000 for a two year iphone contract then 99p for an app is throwaway money. Even free apps that attract people to online shopping, buses and taxis are worthwhile because the iphone user spends money.

Android, and most often Samsung, are mass market phones that retail finds an easy sale and they go out the door by the bucket load. In that market app developers get to the mass market. Advocates of Android say it's not like nasty Microsoft or Apple because it's open source. Actually it isn't. Not only do most customers not even care the actual open source Android is ASOP whereas the variant most people use is heavily branded by Google in which the Google Play store and Google services are as embedded as any company.

Windowsphone has all the major apps. Facebook, Twitter etc are all there but unfortunately they are not updated as often as other platforms and are feature light. However this isn't the real problem. The real problem is the 'local' apps. Apps that help find local buses, etickets, parking, and banking apps. All of these and more stick to iphone and Android. Until this problem is resolved the Windowsphone user, like me, is a second class app citizen.

The danger for Microsoft is that even people who like their product may be forced, for reasons of utility, to abandon Windowsphone.

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