It is no secret that Microsoft has kind of screwed up the Windows Phone launch, lifespan and penetration into the mobile market. Microsoft REALLY missed the boat with their attempt at entering the smart phone market. Badly. There were many missteps along the way but most people cite the lack of “key” apps being the biggest reason to not switch to, or even add to their cell phone arsenal a, Windows Phone. My question is, could Microsoft implement Android in a winning strategy with their Windows Phone platform?
Microsoft are not new to Android. They have plenty of their key apps available on Google’s devices. Personally, I think this is a big reason Windows Phone failed – the exclusives they had were quickly ported to iPhone and Android (check my article on some of those apps here). Anyhow, Windows Phone 10 offered support for “some” Android apps if you went through a convoluted process involving a computer and you owning a Windows Phone with one gig of RAM or more. That was too little too late and it seems Microsoft knew it. Microsoft has dabbled in the Google operating system with many apps, quite a few exclusive to Android even. Could this be foreshadowing of something bigger, or what might have been?
What if Microsoft were to fork the operating system much like Amazon did for their Kindle Fire tablets (and their own failed Fire Phone)? Imagine if developers were able to simply check off a box when compiling their Android apps for Google certified devices- a box that simply was to make a Microsoft powered device version. Would more developers have supported this, could we have seen more apps and maybe Microsoft gaining a larger portion of the mobile market? Probably so.
Since that is probably not going to happen as Microsoft continues to push Continuum and other Windows Phone 10 and Windows 10 based options, it looks less and less likely that Microsoft would follow Amazon’s path. The next best thing that we might see is if Microsoft were to port the Metro interface to Android. Sure, there are more than a few launchers that emulate the feel but they all fall short in key aspects. Microsoft porting Metro to Android could turn more people onto the interface could be a great thing. Metro is almost unanimously accepted by Windows Phone users as being a great interface.
Since Microsoft is intent on putting their key apps on Google’s platform– a side effect of becoming a software company – it just makes sense to either fork Android and give mobile another try or port Metro to Android. Android could be the answer to Microsoft’s Windows Phone problem but will they attempt it in the future?