Microsoft came clean on its Tap to Pay solution for Windows 10 Mobile yesterday, there’s also evidence of a Handover-like service which will allow Windows 10 users to start a task on one device and finish it on another; and of course we already now that the Anniversary update will allow Windows 10 users to manage messages on their phones from the desktop.
We’re even starting to see the arrival of more and more Universal Apps and even apps converted from their iOS equivalents, reducing the app gap ever so slightly.
It’s all good, Microsoft finally realising that to realise the benefits of owning a mobile platform it needs to expend some effort to make that platform attractive to buyers rather than just enthusiasts.
However it all appears to be too little, too late.
Right now everything that Microsoft is bringing to the platform is available elsewhere. Where Nokia managed to build a niche (smartphone photography) that lead has been eroded.
There seems to be genuine excitement about the imminent release of the HP Elite X3, a 6” phablet that promises to become the platform’s range topper for the time being. There’s even a suggestion that a Surface Phone could make a success of things in the longer term.
The worry remains that Microsoft continues to equivocate on its commitment to Windows on phones. Understandably perhaps, it is bringing its new tools and services to iOS and Android first, because that’s where most users are. Sensible or not, that rather reinforces the message that Windows on phones is a platform without a future, because if Microsoft is unwilling to put in the hard yards building apps for its own platform first, how can it persuade others too.
And if Windows is the last platform to get new apps and services it means… well we already know what it means. Customers don’t buy and chasing volume at the lower end of the market becomes the only way out.
In a few weeks time we’ll start getting sales numbers for smartphones in Q2. I’m expecting them to make horrible reading for Windows Mobile. Just how horrible is the only thing that remains to be seen.