Does hardware mean more than software when it comes to Windows Phone?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: April 14, 2012

Did you hear? The Nokia Lumia 900 is out. That's right, you can buy it right now if you really wanted to. And, in all honesty, if you are even kind of interested in Windows Phone it is probably the perfect device to pick up and check out what all the rage is about. Plenty of the reviews out there would suggest you make the effort. But I have a question:

When did hardware start to completely outshine the software?

Other than a few key applications, if I were to pick up a Samsung Focus and put it next to the Lumia 900, there wouldn't be any meaningful differences to point out. Windows Phone is the same from one device to another, no matter the manufacturer. But even with that in mind, I am truly kind of surprised that hardware is playing such a huge, almost singular role with Microsoft's mobile operating system.

If we compare this to say, Android, we see a strange similarity, but in a different way. Hardware plays a huge role in the Android world. Huge. But here's where the difference rests: Android manufacturers have the luxury of using both hardware and software to differentiate themselves. As I said earlier, other than a few random applications, Windows Phone is all the same.

So that's why the Lumia 900, and the device's superior hardware, is doing such a good job at standing out and garnering so much attention. But since when do we rest everything on the aspect of one feature? If we did that, I don't imagine many manufacturers or versions of software would be around all that long.

But for some reason, the Lumia 900 is doing just that, and no one seems to mind. Yes, the Lumia 900 is the best Windows Phone out there right now, but that's just based on hardware. If we look at software, then there really is no discernible difference between it and the Arrive by HTC, which launched for Sprint's network last year.

It would seem to me that Windows Phone is getting a free pass at this point in time, all because Nokia did what they (usually) always do: make a phone with superb hardware. I mean, the Titan 2 launched on the same day as the Lumia 900, and I still haven't heard anything on that phone since its launch. It may as well have never launched, from what I can tell.

Samsung and HTC have made great Windows Phone devices, but I feel like it doesn't matter anymore. Nokia has raised the hardware bar for Microsoft's mobile platform, and all manufacturers have to play catch-up. Can they succeed? I honestly don't know. But, I guess it would be safe to assume that they are still happy they have Android to do what they want with.

How do you feel about Windows Phone at this point? Are you using it? Did you pick up a Lumia 900? 

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