There is an old saying that Microsoft needs three versions to get it right and ahead. I am not sure if Windows Phone 8 can count as version three, but it should, they have now gotten it right and are ahead.
I am not really sure Apple and Google have recovered from the sucker punch that was Surface before Microsoft landed a right hook revealing the near future of Windows Phone. With Surface they showed their true innovation potential and got to explain the full Windows 8 vision. With what they showed today, they clearly stated that the smartphone fight will last the full 12 rounds.
– “So you think you will be ahead in the hardware game? Let me show the full potential of a shared core and driver model between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8”, Microsoft started stepping into the ring dodging left and right.
– “So you want a voice controlled Phone? Cool. But we’ll just make it available to all applications not just one”, that jab they throw out landed hard.
– “So you want to constrain your developers on their business models? We’ll just allow in app purchases for more options”, Microsoft said while throwing a right hook.
Punch after punch, the key note at Windows Phone Developer Summit either put the Windows Phone 8 platform at par with the competitors or ahead. Sometimes far ahead.
Agreeable they should’ve probably had a strategy to upgrade all old phones, sales of Windows Phone 7.5 will probably drop a little bit now. But it is worth it. No doubt.
As an app developer I really like the shared browser experience across devices / form factors. This means that responsive design will be THE skill to pick up for web designers. I like that the features they add are really not apps, or in the case they are they are extensible, like the Wallet where you can add your own payment methods, or the maps API and NOKIA map data that is accessible, that voice commands is an API and not an app (even though I am still skeptical about its viability).
As a consumer I really like the VoIP integration that makes any VoIP call appear and function as any other call, another nail in the current business model of the operators coffin. I like that I get really good NFC support, I am not super psyched about the new home page but getting updates over the air and the background location feature will make me like my phone more.
As an enterprise user and enterprise mobility implementer, I love the fact that the enterprise app store and operations are not an app, but templates and frameworks to customize your experience. I applaud that we, finally, get encryption on the phones. Along with Microsoft Rights Management this will make the phone really secure.
Overall, this has been a good week for Microsoft. They’ve really shown that they haven’t given up. That they aren’t knocked out. That there is fight left in them and that they can throw a mean right. Google and Apple better look out.