Here are two provocative and pessimistic questions I keep asking myself lately: Will HTC drop Windows Mobile soon? Why do they continue to support WinMo? Frankly if you think about it for a bit there’s no reason for them to stick with Microsoft OSes now that Android has matured.
First, let’s take a look at the hardware. HTC’s Android & WinMo phones are essentially the same (same SOC, same camera, same amount of ram etc..), besides the screen resolution and touch-panel technology (capacitive/resistive) you get the same device. Things are going to get even closer when the rumored HTC Dragon/Passion launches (the rumored “Android HD2″).
Now let’s look at the software. Take an Android and a WinMo phone (the HD2 for example) and place them next to each other. Do you see any similarity? Yup, they look nearly identical thanks to HTC’s SenseUI. Even more interesting is the fact that the two Oses have exactly the same feature set,only that Android does nearly everything smoother/in a more elegant and consistent way. I’m not going to talk about the appstore, which is currently a complete joke on Windows Mobile (374 apps available in the US and here’s a funny one: less that 40 apps in France! wth?). Some people are going to pull the “Android/iPhone suck at IT/Business” card on me. Well, maybe so, bu last time I checked 90% of the time people buy phones not IT and BlackBerry has been bitch-slapping WinMo left and right this past year so this is becoming a non issue even more so now that every mobile OS support Exchange and Office (via third-party apps).
What’s worse is that people hate WinMo so much that even great phones get trashed. I mean, what’s the point here? Why would HTC keep supporting a platform that only gets them bad press even though they bust their asses to tweak it like crazy and develop one of the best smartphone ever (the HTC HD2)? Why not release the HTC Dragon/Passion only instead of “wasting” money and time on the HD2 only to get comments like “Put Android on it” “If only it had Android” ? When I go to a retail store 90% of the time I’m going to be told to avoid Window Mobile phones. I even heard this straight from the mouth of Samsung and HTC reps during a Window Mobile event a few months ago! Come on, this is sad. Stop beating a dead horse and let it rest in peace. The icing on the cake: Android is free, Windows Mobile cost around $15 per license..
It seems like everything associated to WinMo is a joke. Look at LG for example, they are developing Android devices (and are rumored to build Google’s own Phone) even though they signed a deal with Microsoft to make WinMo their smartphone OS of choice. Sony Ericsson is dumping WinMo, Motorola who got burned by the constant WM7 delays ditched the OS and is finally back in the game thanks to the Motorola Droid (and Motorola CliQ). I’m not even going to talk about the horror that is WinMo’s marketing (did you see the TV ads?).
But what about Windows Mobile 7? Frankly given Android’s current momentum with OEMs and carriers, WM7 is going to have a really hard time saving Microsoft‘s mobile strategy. I can’t see how an OS that had such a troubled development cycle is going to be revolutionary. I said revolutionary because this is what it will have to be to win back marketshare. Microsoft blew it big time and handed everything to Google because of WM7′s constant design changes and delays. Google is pumping out updates on a regular basis and by the time WM7 gets released in Q3/4 2010 I fear that it will be too late. Did I also mention the iPhone? I better not…
So what are your thoughts? Why should HTC stick with Windows Mobile?