Microsoft developed and launched the Windows Phone 7 (WP7) mobile operating system in October 2010. While the earlier mobile operating system from Microsoft, Windows Mobile was more focused on the enterprise market, Windows Phone 7 has been developed primarily for the consumer market. Unlike Android and iOs (operating system of the iPhone), WP7 doesn’t use icons but instead makes use of larger, more user friendly tiles as the base of its user interface. Just like the other mobile operatingsystems, WP7 also supports a variety of games and applications.
Low Market Share
Google’s Android mobile operating system and Apple’s iOs for iPhone have been dominating the smartphone market for quite some time now. Just these two operating systems have cornered over 75% of the entire smartphone market share. However, with a uniquely designed and user friendly interface, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system is expected to make significant inroads into the smartphone market which could result in the two leaders losing some of their market share.
Is Microsoft Catching Up?
While Microsoft has been in the smartphone market for longer than Google and Apple, its full touch-screen smartphones were not as user friendly as an iPhone or an Android phone. This has changed with the most recent release of WP7, named Mango. With this release, the WP7 operating system has become just as user friendly, high powered and visually appealing as any iPhone or Android device. However, we have seen that better products don’t necessarily mean more success. So will Microsoft be able to make any significant inroads into the smartphone market, which Android and iOS seem to have a stranglehold over?
Microsoft Gold Certification
A lot would depend on how quickly the developers embrace this platform. While a lot of developers and software development companies have started offering mobile solutions for WP7, those with a Microsoft Gold Certificate will have a distinct advantage over the rest of the developers. This certification would ensure better understanding and working knowledge of the frameworks and software technologies that Microsoft offers. These include:
- Microsoft Silverlight
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2012
- Microsoft .NET
- Microsoft ASP.NET
Software companies who have acquired the MS Gold certification will be better acquainted with these software tools and frameworks. These certifications also ensure that the developers understand the software development cycle irrespective of the platform or technology they use. The mix of the above mentioned technologies, which are a part of the WP7 SDK, allows developers to develop high quality applications and games for the Windows Phone 7 Platform.
Will Developers Bite?
One question that any developer or software development company would ask is “Why should we allocate a chunk of our resources on WP7 when Android and iPhone have such a huge market share?” WP7 is seeing an increase in demand and popularity which is currently higher than that of Android or iPhone. While this might be due to the lower existing market share, it is expected to grow consistently over the coming years. In addition, less competition in the WP7 market could mean additional profitability for developers and software development companies. Popular solutions that can be provided for the Windows Phone 7 platform include:
- Contact Management Apps
- Navigational Apps
- Utility Apps like PDF Reader, Speed Dialing
- Business Apps like Inventory Management and Industry Specific Apps
- Online Shopping Apps
- News & Weather Apps
This is by no means an exhaustive list, as the kind of application you develop is limited only by your imagination. WP7 already has support for HTML5 and will soon be adding support for multi tasking and Flash 10.1. These technologies will allow you to create even more engaging applications that users will love.
The Bottom Line
While it’s highly unlikely that Microsoft will become the market leader in the smartphone market by overtaking Android and Apple, Windows Phone 7 will definitely give these two mobile giants a good run for their money. If Microsoft can continue to improve upon its already slick operating system, there is a good chance that the market shares will be altered significantly in the coming years. Microsoft has made considerable progress with Windows Phone 7—let’s see if they keep it up.