Tag Archive: Microsoft

Really interesting interview by The Verge – Joshua Topolsky – with Microsoft Design Director Steve Kaneko covering the company’s moves to create a unified design voice. Starting with Metro and where it may go from there.

I’m a Windows Phone 7 user – used to be on iPhone, tried Android but I’m more taken with the Windows Phone. I think it has a better UI, it’s a better UX and despite there only being 40k apps, I’ve not really missed anything from iPhone or Android.

The homescreen with live tiles, integration with Outlook (handy for work) and incremental improvements in speed, multitasking etc mean I’m always a little disappointed when I try out the new Galaxy on Android etc. Mind you, I’m going to try the iPhone 4S soon, so maybe I’ll be swayed by Siri.

Will it be a breakthrough year in 2012 for Microsoft and Windows Phone? It’s a hard road and the 800lb gorilla is the iPhone and Google now has 52% market share with Android but Windows Phone 7’s existence should force Apple and Google to look at their own platforms and at least match or better Microsoft’s efforts. It would be foolish to dismiss Microsoft, especially given how much money they and Nokia are going to spend. At the very least 2012 will be great for the mobile customer as the competition heats up.

Mashable thinks there’s something to be told in this story too.

I never thought I’d be a fan of a Microsoft-designed product but hey, delighted to be surprised. Now, a tablet with an OS like Windows Phone 7 …

A three-horse race?

There have been some interesting debates going on online as to whether Nokia’s partnership with Microsoft to use Windows Phone 7 is a smart move (and good for developers) or the death throes of the Finnish giant.

It does make great sense to me.

Nokia only had a limited hand to play. It could stay on its present course, weighed down by an RnD budget that was producing nothing of any consequence as far as the market was concerned, amazing when it’s spending more than $4bn and three times that of Apple. Keep faith in Symbian and pin hopes on MeeGo, which despite Marko Ahtisaari’s (VP of UX) fine set of skills, was looking more and more like the product of a moribund giant. So, a slow death.

An alternative was Google and Android. However, the opportunities to differentiate for Nokia would be limited in such a diverse and crowded space. The upside would be apps and developers galore but the hardware battle would be extremely tough, even for a fighting fit company, not something you say about Nokia presently. And the uplift in marketing from Google would be limited at best. So, better than slow death but definitely relegating it to second or third tier in the mobile world.

Finally, the choice the company did make.

The marketing power from Microsoft alone makes this a good choice. The software giant is desperate to gain a significant foothold in the mobile space, which will become the most important platform for consumers and business alike over the next 3 years. In Windows Phone 7, it has made a great start. In my opinion, it’s the leading mobile OS in terms of UX and design and presents a credible challenge to Android and iOS. That makes two big plus points.

The rest is down to Nokia itself. If it can get back to making fewer and better handsets, powered by Windows Phone 7 and cheaper to boot, then with its installed base the company could pull itself out of the mess. However, handsets have to now be one of two things: Really simple and cheap or beautifully designed and integrated with the OS. Nokia can do both but it has to stop making such a diverse and often crappy range of handsets and focus.

Apple, Google and Nokia/Microsoft should make for a great battle and hopefully consumers will be the winners!

What future for Nokia?

Nokia handsets are designed for the pre-iPhone era. In their day, great and with sales to match (1.3 billion) but times have changed dramatically. The iPhone, Android handsets and now Windows Phone 7 have crossed the rubicon and helped to create a new era of mobile use, where the phone/device does many things – camera, email, instant messaging oh and the odd phone call. And, once a customer has crossed over, they won’t be going back.

Promises are being made by Nokia and an acquaintance of mine heads up their UI and UX, so have a listen/watch of Nokia’s Marko Ahtisaari, I’m underwhelmed by what he had to say sadly. With no product, promises of a new design pattern and drawing on old, tired Europe vs US battlelines, my gut reaction is that Nokia has buried its corporate head in the sand and thinks that its market share will buy it enough time to catch up with Apple, Google and Microsoft, and that everyone is waiting for what Nokia has to offer.

I’m unconvinced, the lifecycle i.e. how quickly people change their handsets means that by 2011 the new Nokia UX/UI design could well be irrelevant as customers have moved to other manufacturers and platforms, and winning people back is much harder than getting them the first time. 2010 could well be the jumping of the shark for the Finnish mobile giant.

Found this very interesting as my opinion was/is/maybe that Apple sucks at the web but more accurately I think Apple sucks at websites. Some elements, design, usability and content usability are strong and often copied but iTunes on the web, no mobile version of Apple.com and other elements point to a lack of cohesion/planning.

I’m an unabashed Apple fanboy but it’s nice to know that the Californian giant has very visible flaws and it’ll be interesting and stimulating to see how it deals with these flaws.

I do agree with a lot of what John Gruber has to say about Apple’s embrace of the web and it makes me giggle as it reminds me of Microsoft’s laughable “embrace and extend” statement that loosely translated meant ‘railroaded towards our business aims’. Apple still seeks to influence web standards in its favour but at lease honours those standards.

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