Will a new Lumia device breathe new life into Windows Phone?Evan Selleck - Contributing Editor
A friend of mine still has a lot of hope for Microsoft's Windows Phone platform. He is absolutely certain that the mobile operating system from the Redmond-based company will see a big turnaround later this year, and that its adoption rate will see a generous uptick as a result. He "knows" all of this, despite the fact that he isn't using a Windows Phone at the moment. He's told me that's by design, though, as he's waiting for that turnaround before he makes the leap.
He's ready though. At least he says he is. I've known people in the past who've made the switch from one platform to another just to ultimately switch back, because the changes were too big from what they've grown accustomed to using over the years. Will that be the case for him when the time comes? Maybe. But for now he's excited for Microsoft's mobile future, and that has to count for something, right?
I can't say that I blame him. As I've said in the past, the potential that Microsoft has with Windows Phone is vast. The company is putting a real effort into combining all of their platforms as realistically as possible, so that your experience between your Xbox, Windows 8 computer, and Windows Phone 8 device is as seamless and feature-laden as possible. If you're a Windows user, this is something to get excited about. It's something to look forward to, when it does eventually turn into something worth using.
I asked him if he's interested in the Lumia 928, that device that has yet to be announced, but should see the light of day sometime this month. He told me that it's a great phone, in theory (because it's not official yet), but that he's still going to wait to pull the trigger on making the switch to Windows Phone. When I asked him why, he told me that hardware doesn't make a difference at this point.
The potential within Windows Phone isn't hardware related. It's all on the software side. The potential has to be unlocked there, before he'll ever seriously look at the phones.
Which got me thinking about the Lumia 928 a little bit more. As far as I'm concerned, the Lumia series of devices is Windows Phone's best family of devices. Nokia's efforts in these devices is second-to-none, and it looks like they're continuing that trend with the upcoming Lumia 928. If the rumors are true, that is. If they are, though, the Lumia 928 is shaping up to be quite an impressive device, especially if you're someone who takes your smartphone camera seriously.
First, let me just say that I think a high-end Lumia device on Verizon's network has the potential to light a fire under Windows Phone's you know what. If Verizon prices it aggressively, and markets it accordingly, there are a lot of subscribers under Verizon's umbrella that could be swayed to make the switch. Especially if the Lumia 928 is a thinner version of the 920, and with a better camera.
However, on the opposite side of the coin, I can't help but wonder if another piece of hardware is going to make a bit of difference right now. Yes, it will be good that Verizon has a pseudo-exclusive device like the 928, especially since I know there are a lot of Verizon customers out there who have been waiting for a high-end Lumia handset to land on their carrier. But will it be enough to make a noteworthy push in Nokia's direction? Or, for that matter, make a dent in the Windows Phone subscriber count?
For me, personally, I know that another Lumia device isn't going to make me switch right now. Why? Because I know that the Xbox LIVE experience in Windows Phone 8 still isn't all that great. It doesn't really give me anything more than what I can get on iOS, or Android. And, simply put, while applications like Spotify are indeed on Windows Phone, its functionality compared to the other platforms isn't where it needs to be quite yet for me to want to use it every single day.
Microsoft's hardware partners are obviously not going to stop making Windows Phone-based devices, and as long as they keep making handsets as impressive as the Lumia 920 (and potentially the Lumia 928), I don't think it will be hard to get plenty of people to switch. But it's still clear to me that Microsoft has to start tapping into that potential energy within the platform, before a large margin of users out there will be comfortable making the switch to the mobile OS.
But what do you think? Will Nokia releasing another high-end Lumia device make a big impact in Windows Phone subscribers? Are you planning on switching if the rumors of the Lumia 928 pan out? If not, why not? Let me know!