In the span of 30 days the anticipation for Windows Phone 8 hardware has gone from neutral, at best, to eagerly anticipated. Thanks to the opening salvos by Nokia (Lumia 920 & 820) and HTC (HTC 8X & 8S) hardware is a hot topic and its mostly positive for the first time since Microsoft rebooted their mobile platform. If you’re reading this article you’ve probably been keeping up with how the Lumia 920 has fared in camera tests against the iPhone 5, HTC One X and current Android champ Samsung Galaxy S III. To put it simply the Lumia 920 is claiming victory after victory. The 8X has raised HTC’s profile among Windows Phone fans and positions HTC to gain marketshare if they actually put some oomph behind their marketing.
With the hardware showing itself to be quite desirable that leaves the software to push the phones over the edge. Correction, for the first time Microsoft is faced with the situation where the software has only to keep pace with the competitors. Do that and Windows Phone marketshare will rise dramatically. No this doesn’t mean the iPhone sales will start slowing down anytime soon. They have far too much brand loyalty to let a little thing like not having the best user experience get in the way of success. The jig is up amongst the tech crowd, no longer do you hear the phrase “iPhone envy” being tossed around. Today’s discussions center around what the iPhone does not have and how Apple is now comparing their newest phone to their old one. I digress.
Microsoft, the tidbits you showed off in June, if adopted by developers and told in a meaningful, connected way can lead you so far. People are actually waiting for the Lumia 920 and HTC 8X to be released. They have gazed at the iPhone and chosen not to drink the kool-aid. Even Android users rocking awesome phones like the Samsung Galaxy S III are looking at these beautiful pieces of hardware and giving strong thought to jumping ship. So I say to you, Microsoft, please deliver on the promise of Windows Phone 8. Bring us that far more customizable home screen, the enhanced and unique app conversation in all first-party apps and strongly encourage third-party devs to utilize whats available to them. Deliver an optimized user experience that takes advantage of dual-core technology to have my background audio and navigational apps doing what they need to do without me keeping an eye on them.
Please for the love of all that is right and just in this world make sure that SkyDrive is flushed out, the Wallet Hub is convenient, and notifications (toast, live tiles, and lock screen) just work. IE10? Just make sure its competent and renders right. Everything else is a bonus. NFC should be present but hidden. NFC functions like Tap + Send should be so easy to use that people don’t realize they are using cutting edge tech. Finally, please make sure Skype is a first class citizen that has best-in-class features and quality.
There you have it, Microsoft the ball is firmly in your court. Your hardware partners and competitors have tossed you a fastball down the middle of the plate. You have only to swing true and the bright future you envision for the Windows Phone platform will be in reach. Its taken 2 years but the future is now. Here’s hoping nobody’s sleep at the wheel.