When you hear the words “Windows Phone”, what is the first thing you think of? For me, my mind associates the word directly with “Nokia”; not only has Nokia stuck like glue to Windows Phone since the beginning, but the company has now officially been acquired by Microsoft. The two go together like biscuits and gravy, and while there are other manufacturers that make Windows Phone devices, none seem as dedicated to the platform as Nokia is.
We know that some pretty major changes are coming Windows Phone this year. With the Windows Phone 8.1 update on the horizon, we get to look forward to new features like Action Center (which is Windows Phone’s notification center, like on Android or iOS) and Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Siri and Google Now. While these changes might seem minor in comparison to the fact that other platforms have been toting these same features for quite some time already at this point, it’s still a pretty big deal for Windows Phone users.
But while things are changing on the software front, what can we expect from OEMs from this point forward? Up until this point, it would seem that people get the biggest advantage on Windows Phone by going with Nokia given their huge focus on camera quality and exclusive Nokia apps that are available only to Lumia devices. Although Samsung and HTC don’t necessarily make bad Windows Phones, it’s clear that both manufacturers’ main focus remains with Android at this point. After looking at the specs and features of the Samsung ATIV SE, I can’t help but wish that Samsung had tried just a little bit more to make the release of their newest Windows Phone count.
The ATIV SE is actually a pretty good phone, because as Alex put it, the phone is pretty much a Galaxy S4 running on Windows Phone 8 (presumably Windows Phone 8.1 before long). There are also some features that the ATIV has over some comparable Nokia models, like a microSD card slot and a slightly bigger battery. Overall, however, the price of the ATIV SE ($199) is what makes it such a debatable purchase for me. This phone - which again, is comparable to a Galaxy S4 - is going on sale at the same price as the Galaxy S5 is. I get that the specs are good, especially for Windows Phone, but there’s still the issue that you’re probably going to get more for your money by going with a lesser priced Nokia phone.
I think I’m a little more forgiving with HTC given that they’re still struggling a bit with Android, but I do still hope that they plan on releasing an M8 for Windows Phone. Given that Microsoft recently announced that they're a little more lax on hardware requirements at this point, it’s a very possible situation we could find ourselves in.
My point here is that while Windows Phone has different manufacturers under their wing, only one of them is really standing out at this point. When it comes to Android, each manufacturer seems to have major strengths that play in to what makes each flagship so great; with Windows Phone, it seems like Nokia is the only one really trying to better the Windows Phone experience. Maybe there’s no real incentive right now to try that hard with Windows Phone, but perhaps with the release of Windows Phone 8.1 we’ll start to see more tempting choices added to the Windows Phone lineup.
Readers, when it comes to Windows Phone devices, what have your thoughts been thus far? Do you think more manufacturers should step up to the plate to compete harder with Nokia, or do you think they’re doing a sufficient job as is? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!