There’s no question that at the start of 2012, the smartphone market is still being dominated by Google’s Android platform and Apple’s iOS; together they control over three-quarters of the total smartphone market share. However, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system intends to steal some of the two mobile giants’ users away with its critically acclaimed and uniquely designed interface. Microsoft began releasing full touch-screen smartphones around the same time as Google and Apple, but their early devices were no match for the usability of Androids or iPhones. With Mango, the most recent update released for WP7, Microsoft’s mobile platform is as visually impressive, high-powered, and user-friendly as any Android or iOS device. So what does the future hold for WP7? Can Microsoft succeed in the world of smartphones, even with Google and Apple’s seemingly perpetually growing market strongholds?
A recently leaked “road map” from Microsoft shows that they intend to release a minor update to WP7 in the second quarter of 2012 which has been dubbed “Tango.” Analysts expect this update to be devoted to smartphones on the lower end of the price spectrum, an area where iPhones are nowhere to be found and where Android powered phones are often criticized as cheap and buggy. If Microsoft can successfully release an update that allows for consumers to afford a quality-smartphone on a budget, they will be able to attract a large number of new buyers.
The road map also projects a late 2012 update called “Apollo.” Allegedly, this update will be more in a more similar vein to the Mango release in the sense that it will be a drastic and encompassing update. In fact, a Nokia vice president said that although it was only being released a year after the successful Mango update, it would be a “very different game” than the current build of Windows Phones. There are analysts who speculate that this could mean the new update will transform Windows Phone 7 into Windows Phone 8, utilizing the upcoming Microsoft operating system.
It’s incredibly unlikely that Microsoft will knock Google and Apple off the top of the mobile market overnight, but critics agree: the Mango update to Windows Phone 7 makes Microsoft’s smartphones into a legitimate competitor to the two mobile gurus. If the future updates to Windows Phone continue to improve upon the already critically hailed device, there’s no doubt Microsoft will continue to assert a share of the mobile marketplace and perhaps introduce an increase in competition for Google and Apple.