ecosystem

Has Windows Phone finally come of age? Microsoft emphatically says 'yes'

With today’s announcement that Instagram has arrived for Windows Phone along with Waze (Mint and Xbox Video are still “coming soon”), Windows Phone as an operating system has finally reached a significant turning point. At least according to Microsoft.

We recently sat down with Todd Brix, General Manager, Windows Apps and Store at Microsoft, who walked us through some of the recent accomplishments. Brix and Microsoft are claiming that with the recent spate of app releases, a “critical mass” has finally pushed Windows Phone into the big leagues. Windows Phone now has parity on most of the top download apps found on iOS and Android with an “85% overlap” in top-25 titles, according to the company.

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The War

There was once a time when being a heavy Google services user and a Microsoft fan was the easiest choice on the block. The boys in Redmond could provide a robust and productive operating system platform while the Mountain View search cowboys could back you up with web services. Now, the two companies are going head to head and it might just be causing a hellish nightmare for consumers.

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During the Q2 2012 Apple conference call, CEO Tim Cook was questioned whether there's a possibility of the iPad and Macbook Air converging into one product, much like what Microsoft is doing with Windows 8 and their "three screen vision". Cook answered with a resounding "no", and went on to explain that he believes combining the experience of both the tablet and PC is a 'forced convergence'.

As well as commenting on why he believes this isn't a particularly good idea with regards to the user experience, Cook compared the PC and tablet combination in upcoming Windows 8 much like a "combined toaster and refrigerator". Microsoft has been actively aiming for a unified user experience when it comes to their next major OS release, as well as pulling the Xbox console and Windows Phone closer together. 

The Apple and Microsoft ecosystems are fairly different and this type of comparison (or dig - however you wish to take such comments) is interesting. Apple ensures that each device performs best at what it does, while Microsoft is set to ensure that devices can do more than what the user would usually expect. A Windows 8 tablet running applications in desktop mode is a good example. We'll of course have to see how the average consumer reacts to the changes in Windows 8. 

Source: iMore

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There has been a lot of talk today about Angry Birds Space and whether or not it will find it's way to the Windows Phone platform (see our earlier post). First we had reports from Bloomberg that Rovio were not bringing the new fowl-flinging iteration of the game to Microsoft's platform, information received from Peter Vesterbacka, Rovio's chief marketing officer. Analyst Richard Windsor speculated this meant that Rovio may not have confidence in Windows Phone looking into the future, more on that shortly.

However, the story has since been contradicted by Rovio's CEO, Mikael Hed as quoted on Reuters:

"We are working towards getting Angry Birds Space to WP7"

Whilst Mr. Hed's statement is somewhat lacking in detail one would be inclined to believe that the CEO's position on the company's intentions would be the more reliable source. No release date or expected time of arrival has been communicated.

Here at WPCentral we've been discussing this story in some detail, particularly around suggestions from the Bloomberg article that the lack of Angry Birds on Windows Phone would make it difficult for Nokia to "attract gaming-oriented users and persuade developers that [Windows Phone] is growing".

It's an interesting point, can one app make or break Windows Phone alone? The answer of course is no, but it is a very important game which will be seen as important to the average phone owner. Whether you're a fan of Angry Birds or not, the game is huge, successful and a marked influence in the rise of Smartphone popularity. Just look at what Rovio can afford to do for publicity:

Angry Birds Space is the first major innovation the game has seen since the original version found it's way on to mobile screens everywhere. The game is superb, new gravity mechanics genuinely do create a completely different experience to the game, this time it's not just some new textures or types of bird, it's an almost entirely new way to play.

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