With the recent announcement at the World Partner Conference that Windows 8.1 is now free on any device smaller than 11 inches, Microsoft has made it clear that it has serious plans to dominate the mobile phone market place.
This is good news for the 4% of the global market already using the Microsoft devices as it means the app developers are more likely to develop for the platform than they have been.
Microsoft claims that they have replicated most of the popular applications already, as well as some applications that are unique to the platform, but the reality is that they are still playing catch-up with the competitors and many of the smaller companies are not creating tools for the Windows 8 phones as yet.
I have been using a Nokia phone since January and I am very happy with the device and I love the quality of the camera with its 41 megapixel capabilities. Knowing I have a good quality camera with me all of the time saves me grabbing a camera before I head out on any excursion. The device works well and performs its duties reliably and quickly.
However, I am frequently disappointed by the little applications I used to be able to use that are not yet available. I am not a gamer so I can’t offer advice on that, but the ski run tracker or the Priority Pass airline lounge advisory app or the Mount Hotham Skiers app or the app for Les Trois Vallées in France just have not been created yet. The quality of the weather apps is not up to those available on other platforms either, and Bing Weather seems to come up with numbers that are close but not the same as local reports anywhere.
There are some great applications, like the NAB banking app, and some of the live tile tools that keep me up to date with share prices work pretty well too. The email and calendar tools are OK too.
Certainly when I pick up an iPhone these days I find its screen is too small and its features a bit clunky compared to the Nokia. The social media apps on the Nokia are very good and keep me well connected with my networks. Having the Office suite available on the phone certainly is a benefit as I am able to open documents on the run to see reports for my business and keep things on track. So, as much as I complain about the missing apps, the real functionality of the phone is keeping me on the platform.
I hope the free operating system offer attracts more phone makers to adopt the Windows 8.1 phone and that applications are rapidly ported across to support these phones. If you are an app developer who is not yet creating a Windows version of your apps, it is time to consider adding it in.
David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that is known for solving business problems with IT. How can we help?