Yesterday, I saw something out in the wild that, up until that very moment, had never happened before: I saw one. Out there, being used by someone that, I would assume, didn't have to for one reason or another, was an actual Windows Phone. I felt like I had just caught a Tasmanian Wolf out there on the streets, just hiding in plain sight. I even had to take a double take to really accept what I was looking at.
But when the truth of the situation finally sank in, I was actually happy to be looking at a Windows Phone 8X again. It has been a long time since I've seen one. It feels like a couple of years by now, and this would be the first one that I had ever seen in the wild. And, just to be clear, this was the first Windows Phone in general that I had ever seen in someone's hand that wasn't at a mobile convention or conference, or in a review video.
I was happy, and I'm still happy to have seen it, because I still have this huge soft spot in my heart for Microsoft's mobile operating system that could. The company has been working tirelessly over the years -- what, since 2010?-- to make its mobile platform a serious contender in the crowded-not-crowded-market, and I honestly have no idea if they've succeeded in any meaningful way or not.
Yes, Windows Phone is the third operating system in the Tower of Platforms, and considering BlackBerry had to be knocked from its post to get that title, that probably counts for quite a bit. But it's not like Microsoft *made* that happen. BlackBerry fell on its own. Microsoft is just the lucky benefactor of missed opportunities.
It isn't like Microsoft is resting on its laurels though, and just giving micro updates to its platform and letting it coast along. In fact, when compared to Google or Apple, Microsoft is arguably trying to do a lot more all at once, and doing everything it can to make sure that its mobile aspect is involved every step of the way. Microsoft has been talking about a "unified ecosystem" for a long, long time, and now with Windows 10 it is finally around the corner. Windows 10 isn't just for a computer anymore; now it's on your phone and tablet, and even your Xbox.
The best part of that eventual outcome, though, are the possibilities tied to this huge ecosystem.
Microsoft wants your app to work from one device to the next, from your computer to your Xbox to your smartphone, and this is huge. It has been a long time coming and I can't wait to try it out. I'm hoping it works as they have been advertising (I'm still kind of salty about the differences between the advertised Xbox One and the final product).
Windows 10 is a huge release for Microsoft, and there is a lot to love there. My question is: Will any of it matter? Is Windows 10 the release that you have been waiting for (like me)? The one that will finally sway you away from Android or iOS? Or, after avoiding it for all these years, are you simply too invested in another platform to make any kind of switch?