Smartphones come in all shapes, sizes, and prices these days. If you’re looking for something on the higher end of the spectrum, you have plenty of choices between various Android flagships, the Apple iPhone, and BlackBerry. When you start looking for something more affordable, you can safely bet that Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone will have something right up your alley. But just like how I mentioned that it may (or may not) be time for Apple to considering entering the low end the market, on the other end of the spectrum you have Windows Phone, which has suddenly and mysteriously disappeared from the high-end of the smartphone market completely.
It’s kind of a confusing subject because I typically like to praise Windows Phone for how efficient the operating system is. Despite the fact that it doesn’t necessarily need those same high-end specs that are often needed to run a tight ship on Android or iOS, it’s still something that people hang on to and can appreciate. Maybe a Windows Phone doesn’t need 2 or 3GB of RAM, but it can can’t hurt to have it. And maybe Windows Phone doesn’t need a faster processor, but again - can’t hurt to have it.
The lack of flagships released for Windows Phone this year are particularly important to note right now because the 2-year anniversary of when the Nokia Lumia 920 arrived on the market has arrived. With those 2-year contracts up and many 920 users are likely looking to upgrade with something a little shinier and newer, the selection of flagship Windows Phones is not really anything to write home about right now. The newest flagship you have is the HTC One (M8), and even that isn’t necessarily special to Windows Phone users. Everything else is mid-range, low-end, or something that was released last year.
The lack of new flagships aren’t the only things that Microsoft has going against Windows Phone. It’s no secret that the app store is arguably lackluster compared to Android or iOS. Although Windows Phone’s App Store isn’t lacking in numbers, it is lacking in quality. When I asked whether people thought the lack of Google Apps available for Windows Phone was a main reason of why Windows Phone wasn’t really going anywhere or not, many people agreed that if Windows Phone did support Google Apps then they would heavily consider Windows Phone as an alternative platform.
So now we have two big problems going for Windows Phone, and it’s starting to get worrisome. The lack of many quality apps is one thing, but by not bringing in a flagship you’re throwing out a lot of potential buyers. Flagships are what generally make headlines the most, and are the most talked about phones in the tech business. Without them being talked about throughout various tech websites and forums, people tend to forget about Windows Phone entirely.
So why hasn’t Microsoft released a flagship recently?
Perhaps they’re just waiting until Windows Phone 10 comes out - that’s the only reason that I can think of that makes the most sense. Windows Phone 8 and 8.1 are arguably better than Windows Phone 7 ever was with more features, the addition of Cortana, and Nokia’s heavy involvement in app development, but obviously it never quite took consumers by storm. Microsoft seems to have big plans for Windows 10, though, so maybe that’s where they’ve been putting all of their focus lately. With Windows Phone 10, which is supposed to be a unified platform with the rest of the Windows 10 products (tablets, PCs) maybe Microsoft will try to win us back with that. But given that we’re not sure when Windows Phone 10 will hit the market, it’s kind of a sketchy bet to wait. Microsoft can’t realistically expect many current Windows Phone users to stick around until Windows 10 comes out.
I do think that Microsoft's lack of major flagships has negatively impacted Windows Phone growth for now. I’m just hoping that Windows Phone 10 is able to really win people over, otherwise this looks to be the start of a very steady downfall for Windows Phone - and that would be a shame.