In a world being ruled by iOS and Android, Microsoft hopes to bring in a whiff of fresh air with Windows Phone 8 operating system. For the ones, who have'nt been paying attention to what Microsoft has been up to, Windows Phone 8 is expected to be the next major version of its mobile phone OS.
Talking about this new operating system, Stephen Baker, Vice President of Industry Analysis for NPD's Consumer Technology Market Research says, "I think Windows 8 phones definitely represent a new, strong and different competitor in the smartphone market. Not only does Microsoft take a different approach to the usage model with their tile based architecture but the ability to leverage the huge installed base of Windows PCs and Xbox game consoles should help them, over time, create a viable third path for smartphone users."
Most smartphone makers have already announced their front runners for the Windows Phone 8 operating system. The first major announcement was made by Samsung, when it unveiled its ATIV S. This smartphone has a 4.8-inch display coated with Corning "Gorilla" glass, an 8-megapixel rear camera and 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera.
Nokia soon followed to take the wraps off its Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 windows Phone devices. Nokia Lumia 920 comes with 4.5-inch PureMotion HD+ display, Wireless charging support and 2000 mAH battery. While the Nokia Lumia 820 is a mid-range smartphone that sports a 1.5GHz Qualcomm S4 dual-core processor, 4.3-inch Clearblack display and 8GB of internal storage.
Taiwanese manufacturer, HTC too expressed its love for Windows Phone by announcing the HTC 8X and 8S The HTC 8X comes with 4.3-inch 720p Super LCD 2 display, while the HTC 8S is a mid-segment smartphone, which has 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM and 4GB internal memory.
Though these were the major announcements from the big league, even Huawei has come out in support of Windows Phone 8 and is expected to launch the Ascend W1 on September 25 according to reports. The Chinese telecom company also plans to launch more devices running on Microsoft's latest OS by the end of this year.
We have already done a head-to-head comparison of these flagship smartphones from HTC, Nokia and Samsung to understand where each stands. Now we quiz the analysts in this business to understand which amongst these three has the most disruptive Windows Phone 8 line-up.
Robert Enderle, Principal Analyst at Enderle Group opines that, "Samsung currently looks the most disruptive as they have a full set of phones, tablets and PCs so they cover all use cases for the platform which is operating on a 'better together" meme". He also adds that, "They are also the most motivated to go after Apple at the moment thanks to that $1 billion judgment".
In 2007, Samsung was one of the first to get on the Android wave and its strategy on that front seems to have paid off well. Now it's trying to replicate the same with Windows Phone 8. However, the major difference now is that Samsung seems to be juggling three hats at the moment with - Windows, Android and its own Bada operating system. So, the biggest challenge confronting Samsung right now is to come out with a prefect balancing act if it plans to score in the Windows Phone 8.
John Strand, CEO of Strand Consult feels that Nokia currently has an upper hand with its Windows Phone 8 line-up. "I will say that Nokia's Windows phones are cool. Some of the specs that they are advertising are ahead of the new iPhone. Also, Nokia is 100 percent dedicated to WP8, while Samsung and HTC's focus it primarily on the Android platform." He further goes on to elaborate that, the fact that Samsung and HTC are offering Windows Phone 8 will only help Nokia. This is because Nokia and Microsoft will now have a better bargaining power with operators because if the operator does not want to stock Windows Phone devices, it will have to say no to three separate vendors.
Having said that he still feels that being a new operating system, Microsoft and Nokia have a long way to go. "From my point of view it is up hill and I think that it will be difficult for both the companies. On the brighter side, Microsoft and Nokia have the necessary resources to emerge as winners."
Baker too agrees that though Microsoft is trying to bring in a lot of differentiation in the market, it may not be smooth sailing for them. "The real issue is how aggressively they market their unified philosophy and how tightly they tie the different aspects together, and finally, of course, while the analysts and the industry likes their approach it remains to be seen if the consumer will also find the integration a valuable differentiator."