Some still view Siri as nothing more than a gimmick, and perhaps two years ago, that might have been a fair assessment. But with the launch of iOS 7, Siri sheds her beta baggage and is more useful than ever. So is Google Now, which Android fans would argue is an even more intelligent assistant. Regardless of which one is better, it's clear that this is becoming an essential part of the mobile experience, and it's Microsoft's turn to implement a personal assistant of its own. Well, meet Cortana.
Android's open platform inevitably leads to a wealth of designs, which is one of the reasons for its success. With Android, you can go big or small, fast or modest, and so forth. Microsoft's Windows Phone platform is almost the exact opposite, and certainly there are far fewer options for users to choose from. However, would-be Windows Phone shoppers hoping for a large size display may soon get their wish.
Sources close to Microsoft have confirmed that the tech giant is determined to prop up its Windows Phone 8 App Store, and it’s willing to bust out the big boy checkbook to do it. According to Business Insider, Microsoft has offered several top tier developers upwards of $100,000 to bring key apps to its mobile platform, and that’s in addition to smaller incentives currently open to anyone.
It does seem at times as though Apple and Samsung almost enjoy fighting with each other, doesn't it? A new ad promoting Nokia's Lumia 920 smartphone and the Windows Phone platform it runs on comes right out and says it, and then implores viewers, "Don't fight. Switch." The 1-minute ad spot does little to promote the Lumia 920's features or Windows Phone software, but you have to hand it to Microsoft for at least trying to get into the thick of things.
Android is by far the most popular smartphone platform on the planet, according to data by the IDC.
You can't really call it a smartphone battle royale when the only armies on the battlefield are Android and iOS. Google's open source platform closed out 2012 with a 70.1 percent share of the global smartphone market by way of 159.8 million handset shipments, making it by far the most popular platform. Next in line is iOS (iPhone), a distant second with 47.8 million iPhone sales to claim a 21 percent share of the market. Together, the two platforms accounted for just over 9 out of every 10 smartphones sold last year.
Google pulls a 180 on the decision to block Google Maps on Windows Phone, but we are starting to notice a trend.
Google has a somewhat complicated business model. Countless books have attempted to describe how the search giant makes money, and what drives them to live by the motto “do no evil.” Their motives aren’t easy to compress down into a few words, but if we had to try, it would be simply to say that they want you to use the Internet as much as possible. With this in mind, Google’s decision to block Windows Phone users from their map service made absolutely no sense. Windows Phone isn’t a competitive threat to Google, at least not yet, but between this move, and the company’s decision to cripple contact and calendar management for Gmail users, we can’t help but wonder what’s going on.
Only Android and iOS saw market share growth last quarter.
The latest data from the comScore MobileLens service suggests that Microsoft is having a rough time carving smartphone market share in the U.S. away from Google and Apple. It happened just the opposite, actually. Android and iOS were the only two mobile operating systems to see market share growth for the three month period ending in November 2012, while Microsoft's Windows Phone platform declined by 0.6 percent.
Whether or not Windows Phone can compete with Android and iOS will depend on apps.
As 2012 comes to an end, Microsoft finds itself in a reflective mood, looking back at what it's accomplished in the past year and what its plans are for 2013. One of Microsoft's biggest areas of focus in 2012 has been mobile, and towards that end, the Redmond outfit published 75,000 new Windows Phone apps and games to effectively more than double the catalog size, and over 300,000 app updates.
The good news for Windows Phone developers is that support for in-app purchases is being added to your platform of choice, helping to level the playing field with Android and iOS. Unfortunately, the same courtesy isn't being extended to Windows Phone 7.8, a move that will leave existing WP users and developers in the cold, provided they're interested in the whole upsell business to begin with.
Let's face it, Microsoft's Windows Phone platform isn't going to propel itself to the front of the pack, just like the Colorado Rockies aren't going to rally and win their division in the National League. In both cases, it's mathematically possible, but so is playing roulette and watching the ball land on 00 three times in a row. Be that as it may, Microsoft's Windows Phone platform is making personal strides, with the month of July marking its biggest growth month so far this year.