Tag Archives: Mobile

It’s Started…

3 Aug

So I made the first step towards moving back to Android. I ordered a Moto G5 Plus for my partner (one day before the G5S variants were announced, typically) to replace her two year old Lumia 640XL.

I managed to find an online store selling them for £50 less than anywhere else, but I’m not going to tell you the store name as it’s been a few days now and the order is still in “processing” status (so I’m beginning to get a little bit concerned about the site being just a scam).

For years I sold family members on Windows Phone/Mobile as I still genuinely believe that for non tech savy people it’s the simplest mobile OS out there. But Hayley was increasingly asking about apps that didn’t exist on the platform. These same apps are not going to magically appear even if the C-Shell variant of Windows ever appears either. And what with Microsoft yet again seemingly abandoning the platform, using an alternative is now regrettably a no-brainer.

Good work Redmond.

So now I find myself going into the Google play store and seeing what’s new, checking what I already have in my library, and what I can spend my money on.

That’s money that Microsoft won’t get to see…

The loss of my beloved OS will be a bitter pill to swallow initially, and I mourn the loss of the one app running everywhere future, but I’m actually starting to look forward to the change in some ways.

Right now I wonder if I’ll ever find a reason to go back to a Mobile Microsoft solution.

Perhaps if they really do have something magical up their sleeve. But right now I very much doubt it.

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Decisions, Decisions…

7 Apr

So I’m very happy with my Lumia 550 purchased at the end of last year…

…but it is starting to feel a little slow and underpowered.

Since it looks like Microsoft won’t be releasing any new Windows Phone hardware this year, it leaves me with a difficult choice:

1. Stay with the L550 for a while
2. Get a 950 XL (shopping around I’ve seen £299)
3. Get a Nexus 6P (more expensive than the L950)

So why option 3?

Well, I like to think Windows phone is hibernating rather than dead, and that once all those lovely UWP apps have built up with the introduction of Windows 10, Microsoft will go full throttle on this great phone OS…

But that’s clearly not going to happen in the near future, if at all.

So that leaves Android as my preferred alternative, and with the recent news around Xamarin, it could be useful to have an Android phone to develop against (and I’ll still have the 550 to test mobile UWP issues)

But then the L950 will let me play with Continuum… and I do love Windows Mobile.

I need more money so I can just by both.

The top 1%

1 Feb

Or to put it more accurately, the bottom 1%.

That’s where market share of Windows Mobile has plummeted to (worldwide, I see quite a few WM phones in the wild here), and it’s depressing. As one developer who is pulling out of Windows Mobile put it “the market share is falling, and Microsoft doesn’t seem to be doing anything to combat it”.

And finally, I’ve come to agree.

I think Microsoft does see a future in Windows Phone, but it doesn’t see it as anything other than rounding out its offerings and as an insurance policy if they get locked out of Android or iOS.

What a shame. Competition was good, and having a third player is better than having two competing companies for everyone involved. Plus, I do genuinely believe Windows Mobile has the better interface, but that’s now largely academic.

So My lowly Lumia 550 may well be my last Windows Mobile device, even if the surface phone was to arrive. This makes me sad as it feels like taking a step back.

So where to next? Well, probably Android rather than iOS, purely because I’ll probably be concentrating my development efforts there, now Windows Mobile is effectively dead.

Which itself is interesting. I spent some time refreshing my Android knowledge mid last year, only to switch back to Universal Apps and then ASP.Net/Knockout/Bootstrap as work dictated.

With Windows Mobile out of the picture there isn’t as much of a draw to develop Universal Applications, after all, they’ll be universal on what?

HoloLens? Brilliant. No good to me now though.

IoT? Very interesting. But not commercially any use for me.

XBox? I love my XBox. I’m not interested in developing for it.

There’s only one thing that Microsoft can do to reignite my interest in Universal Applications right now – add Android compatibility.

Microsoft dropped the Astoria bridge (or at least postponed it indefinitely) which bought Android applications over to Windows Mobile. Perhaps it is looking at the problem the opposite way around now – bring Windows Universal applications over to Android.

That would be great!

But what would Microsoft get out of it?

Possibly sales of its development tools, which is not to be sniffed at.

If the apps go in the Amazon or Google Play stores they won’t get a cut of the revenue there, but licensing apps developed with the technology could also produce a revenue stream (although be unpopular I’d imagine). Or launch their own store, which would be silly.

Or perhaps the best thing they would get is more apps in the Windows 10 store – both desktop and mobile. That would be one hell of a Trojan horse. Possibly even enough to make Windows Mobile a viable proposition again if enough apps were released this route…

That’s one hell of a long shot, based on zero evidence. It’s just flights of fancy from a disheartened developer. But my god it’s appealing!

But that’s not where the company is going. They are more interested in seeing people using their services on whatever platform these days, and that is a good thing for them. The days of Windows being king are long gone, as well they should be in this new world.

But a unified development platform could also be potentially good for Microsoft. They too would benefit from the develop once run anywhere model that Java never quite achieved. But it’s a lot of work with many compromises…. which they have already worked out how to address with the current UWP implementation.

So come on Microsoft – make Universal Apps that little bit more Universal, and restore my faith!

Until then, I’m going back to the web.

Developing for Android…

27 Aug

So with the exciting times ahead now that Windows 10 has released with all its UWP goodness, I’ll be concentrating on getting up to speed with this as a priority, no?

Erm… well I was, but unfortunately I also have to pay the bills. As a result I’m buried in the second edition of The Big Nerd Ranch’s “Android Programming” book for work and hoping to get onto an Android project at some point (unless anyone else wants to make me an offer?)

I’ve done a (very) little Android programming before, and I have plenty of experience in Java, so this book can seem a little simple at times, but it’s probably what I need. So far I’m quite enjoying working through it.

Whilst I’d rather be concentrating on UWP right now, I think it’s healthy to have an understanding in Android too (that’s why I also work in both C# and Java). If iOS could be programmed in Java or C# (yes – I know about Xamarin, but it is very expensive to use if you fund it yourself) I’d be all over that too, but I think picking up iOS and either Objective C or Swift would be spreading myself too thinly right now.

So I’ll just restrict myself to the 81.1% + 2.9% of devices for now.

Futuregazing…

26 Aug

IDC also forecast that Google’s Android platform, which will own 81.1 percent of the smartphone space in 2015, will retain the same share through 2019. Apple’s iOS share is expected to end 2015 at 15.6 percent, but ultimately fall to 14.2 percent in 2019 as Microsoft’s Windows platform steals some share and rises from 2.6 percent this year to 3.6 percent in 2019.

With this in mind, why do so many people believe Apple are still the number one player?

Partially that’s because Apple make more money out of smartphones than anyone else, and partly because per user more apps are sold on iOS.

Android is still the biggest Market for eyeballs though, and that’s worth remembering.

For what it’s worth, If I weren’t into app development with a Java history I’d be more tempted to get an iPhone than an Android device.

Then again I don’t own either as I’m still captivated by Windows Phone, and more recently Mobile 10. I find the figure of 3.6% by 2019 likely, but two things come into play here which I think get overlooked:

  1. Despite the FUD, Windows 10 looks set to be adopted in the enterprise, unlike Windows 8.x. That offers a lot of potential for the Universal Windows App strategy.
  2. … Which in turn may end up pushing addition of Windows Mobile.

Is the game over for Windows on the phone? I don’t know, ask Nokia and their Symbian partners, Blackberry or Palm. Of course the Market is more mature now so its a different ball game, but history has a habit of repeating itself. Who saw tablets becoming such a hit after Microsoft’s failed attempts?

The post PC world was also a certainty too, but look what has happened there. The tablet market is shrinking as devices become more mature, and now the growth area is 2 in 1 devices like the Surface and the many alternatives.

This is partially good news for Microsoft (but also for Android and other players), which in turn could also drive Windows 10 adoption, etc.

But increasingly the OS is becoming less important… isn’t it?

Possibly for many situations, especially as services become cross platform or cloud hosted. But just like Windows Phone which is brilliant until the app you need isn’t available, there are always exceptions that make the OS as relevant now as ever.