Lost among all the hype about the new iPhone 5 was Nokia’s announcement that their upcoming phone, the Lumia 920, will be running on Windows 8. Nokia has taken a big risk in staking their future to the Microsoft operating system.
While the new OS is certainly intriguing, a lot of people rightfully doubt if it can be the difference maker for Nokia, whose Lumia sales can only be described as modest, if we are being generous.
Still, while these numbers cannot be attributed solely to the Windows OS, it certainly is a factor. And here’s why:
Full of Uncertainty
It remains to be seen if the Windows OS can provide an environment that can compete with Android and the iOS. Windows Phone 7 grabbed some attention with their beautiful interface and great features but was it enough to convince current Android and iPhone users to switch? Somewhat, but the demographic not that significant.
In addition, we really have not heard anything exciting about the upcoming Windows 8 that is not already in play with current flagship Android phones. Windows 8 promises to be better than the initial Windows 7.5 attempt, but it is still in doubt if it will be at par with some of the current Android phones like Samsung S3 and HTC One X.
Previous Windows Phone Not Upgradable to Windows 8
It turns out, the Windows 8 operating system is not compatible to previous Windows phones. So if you have a Nokia Lumia 900, you will not be able to test the new OS on your phone. You have to upgrade to the Nokia Lumia 920 sometime the last quarter to enjoy the new features. The hardware requirement for the Windows Phone 8 precludes any devices that are currently running in previous Windows OS.
Current users of the Nokia Lumia 900 can upgrade to the Windows Phone OS 7.8, which imitates Windows Phone 8, but it will lack the performance and functionality that comes with hardware integration.
Though it is understandable that Microsoft chose to go this path, it could have adverse effects on their sales. Analysts already expect the sales of the current models to taper off because customers will be waiting on the release of the new Windows 8 phone next quarter. And with no upgrades available for existing phones, it will be more difficult to spread Windows 8 to more customers and make it a household OS like the Android or the iOS.
Not enough Apps
Sure, there are a lot of apps that run in Windows OS, but compared to the number of apps available for Android and iOS phone users, it just pales in comparison. There are still a lot of apps that are available on the latter operating systems that are not available for Windows phone. Take my RingCentral App for instance; a lot of business owners who subscribe to the service will think twice to shift to Windows because they still don’t have an equivalent app for it that is similar to the Android and iPhone versions.
And to add even more limitations, the incompatibility of the new OS to previous OS means that the new apps designed for Windows phone 8 will not work even for fairly new Lumia 900.
Hopefully this issue can be solved once they release the SDK for the OS because unless they can match the Android and iOS apps wise, Windows will always fight an uphill battle.