Windows Phone was a complete failure

It is almost a tragic story for  Microsoft. As Apple unveiled its latest iteration of iPhone and the brand-new 10th anniversary edition dubbed iPhone X, Microsoft did actually shot its foot despite its multi-year head start in mobile business.

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Traced back in 2000, Microsoft embarrassed the notion of mobility with the introduction of the Windows Mobile for PDA and smartphones. But no one saw Apple coming from the ashes and ate it its market share slowly but surely when it unveiled iPhone in 2007.

It was a real threat. And it was too late.

It was too late for Microsoft for a simple reason. When Windows Phone 7 was revealed in 2010, three years after iPhone, the mobile ecosystem was dominated by Apple and Google. Despite the steady improvements of Windows Phone and the doomed acquisition of Nokia, consumers yawed and were bored by the lack of a rigid ecosystem from Microsoft. Windows Phone Store was a complete disaster. Flagship apps from iOS and Android were not even available on the Windows Phone Store.

Despite Microsoft’s vast resources, they simply couldn’t compete in a mobile oriented market that had quickly pegged them as irrelevant. Indeed, even as Windows Phone launched, many were quick to proclaim that the initiative was doomed from the start.

Another reason is that Microsoft was focused on Windows and Office products, which are simply the company cash-cows. While Apple focused on hardware and Google on the search engines and mobile ecosystem.

The Longhorn project that Microsoft embarked back in early 2000s, was amid the reasons that Microsoft missed the boat to get into the mobile business. By the time Longhorn was completed and renamed as Vista, iPhone in its first iteration hit the shelves. Microsoft needed to refocus on how to correct the Vista mistake. By the time Windows 7 and 8 hit the computer landscape, Apple and Google enjoyed their two house race, as Microsoft was seen from their rear view mirror.

If Microsoft engineers and executives had experienced that same type of urgency, the smartphone market today might very well look a lot different than it does today.

Sofiane MEROUANI

 

Bill Gates jettisoned Windows Phone in favor of Android. He shows no interest in an iPhone

Everybody knows that Bill Gates is an ardent supporter of Windows Phone platform. He even worked on an note-taking apps to showcase the power of that platform. However, everybody knows that Windows Phone was one of the greatest debacle after Windows Vista.

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The platform, which was heavily criticized due to the lack of premium apps and solid ecosystem was left lagging behind iOS and Android.

And in a surprise move, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft found it naturally to follow the trend, as he still keep his promise not to use the iPhone (not let his kids to use Apple products) but to jump into Android bandwagon.

As far as the device he uses, Gates likely owns a Samsung Galaxy S8 filled with ton of Microsoft apps like Office, Azure…etc, as the company decided to migrate most of its apps to iOS and Android stores.

Welcome to the club Bill!

Sofiane MEROUANI

I will stick around with my HTC Desire 628

When it comes to opt for a smartphone, HTC is a no-brainer. I have owned at least five models in the past five years, spanning a Windows Phone powered Mozart all the way up to HTC One and One 7.

And here is my latest acquisition. The mid-range HTC Desire 826.

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Sorry Mondi Ess. I will stick around with my HTC.

Sorry Mondi Ess. I will stick around with my HTC.

Desire 628 is HTC’s midrange offering to take on the growing competition from various Chinese and Indian brands. Instead of opting for the usual phablet form factor that most brands are offering, HTC has kept the Desire 628 as a compact device with a 5-inch display.

HTC has continued the same design language as the previous Desire phones including the dual colour scheme. The 628 doesn’t look any different from the 626 or the 820, except for a different style speaker grill. Looking from the back, you can’t tell the difference between the Desire phones as the camera placement is exactly the same.

The back panel has a glossy finish on the Desire 628 which is a fingerprint magnet and requires constant cleaning. Also, the power and volume button sit flat with the frame on the side – when pressed they don’t give the satisfying clicky feel of a button. Even though it’s an all-plastic body, the phone looks and feels premium for its price.

It has a 5-inch display with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels which keeps everything pin sharp. It has slim bezels on the sides and the on-screen navigation keys can be customised with up to 4 buttons). You can also adjust the colour temperature as well as enable three finger gestures for ease of use.

Inside is a 1.3 GHz octa-core Mediatek MT6753 processor, 3GB RAM, 32 GB storage and a 2,200mAh battery. With day-to-day usage, the phone impresses with zippy navigation.

Image quality from the rear 13MP camera is surprisingly good with minimal noise in daylight as well as indoors. You get a plethora of modes to shoot including a full manual control mode. The shutter speed is zippy although the focus does take a sec \nod to lock on the subject in landscape photos. The front 5MP front camera is a letdown; we got grainy photos with soft details.

There are a few other issues with the phone as well :

First, the in-ear speaker volume is on the lower side – we had trouble hearing the person on other end while travelling on a road with traffic around us. Second, it doesn’t have a fingerprint scanner – this is now commonly available on a number of phones that cost less than this.

As a mid-range offering, the HTC Desire 628 has its share of pros and cons. However, it faces strong competition from cheaper devices that offer much more features such as the LeEco Le 1s, Redmi Note 3, Yu Yunicorn and Asus Zenfone Max.

Sofiane MEROUANI