I like Windows Phone; I think it is an innovative OS with a distinctive design. I love Metro as a design for interfaces. I will be getting a Windows Phone device as soon as I’m able. But as God is my witness I do not want Windows Phone and its version of Metro on a tablet. I know some like Mary Jo Foley, J. Peter Bruzzese, and Matthew Baxter-Reynolds want it but I say Nay, I say hell to the Nay.
For me if tablets are supposed to sit between a Smartphone and a PC then I think they sit closer to PCs. I mean I look at Android and at least part of its issue is that the hardware manufactures treat it like a Smartphone. You want the next version of Android? You have to wait. New devices come out and they may have ICS or they may not. Now you’ve paid your hard earned money (I hope) and expect an experience similar to buying a PC (now if you are a techie you may not but I guarantee if you’re a regular user that’s what you expect ). What you get is an appliance with no clear way sort of rooting to upgrade. Now that is the Android experience more or less.
And people want Microsoft to follow suit? I mean I remember seeing a concept video and image that showed someone taking Windows Phone 7 and putting it on a tablet (it was cool but it was no Courier). Now again I like Windows Phone, but going the mobile rout is a mixed bag; short story it only Worked for Apple.
The way I see the WP7 tablet idea being implemented; Microsoft would have to do what Android did; take Windows Phone 7 and fork it to make it fit a tablet form factor and hope to get app makers and OEMs on board. Now, yes this would allow it to be priced competitively against the iPad, the Android army, and the booksellers (Barnes& Noble and Amazon) but it also leaves open the question; Why would I buy this instead of an iPad? Now Windows 8 has to answer this question now but it would be harder if the OS used was a mobile OS in the basic sense. Microsoft would be joining the pack with no discerning difference, no hook to its melody. I mean imagine an Asus or Acer WP7 slate which wouldn’t be hard because they would take their left over Android tablets and slap on a Windows logo.
The other issue and this is one faced by everybody (except for the company which name begins with the letter A) is getting proper tablet applications. Tablet applications are not phone apps; you can’t just blow them up. Remember Apple saying you could run any iPhone app on your iPad; remember what happen when you did?
(let’s pause so you can compose yourself)
Remember Tim Cook talking smack about Android this week? Now imagine him showing off a WP7 tablet program (maybe he would have given it a backhanded compliment). My point is how do you get developers to rethink an application for a tablet form factor. Some of us joke about iOS but the applications on the iPad don’t feel like phone apps.The Windows side has a lot of developers but most are utilitarian in their designs; they are not designers. That’s why Microsoft has templates they can use to make programs. But what we need to see are programs that push and exemplify Metro. And we also need the Apps that Apple have; the Zite’s, Flipboard’s, and the Infinity Blade’s . Right now nobody has found the right mix to make them leap over to their side and I don’t think a Windows Phone tablet would help. And don’t think that Metro on the phone wouldn’t need a redesign to fight a tablet.
Think about WebOS. People love that thing. It’s the closest in style, look, and function; it scaled well to a tablet. But it did not significantly evolve from when it was first seen to the TouchPad. The Metro on Windows Phone is version 1 it can and does need to change and evolve. I don’t want an OS to get big and stop maturing in look and function. My problem with the very concept is in part because I want people to push touch as a way to interact with computers. People bitch about Fisher-Price systems but they keep overlooking the interesting things you could do with touch.
The way I see Microsoft using Windows 8 is as a mobile first OS. What I mean is that for new devices (tablets, notebooks, and ultra books) Windows 8 provide a highly portable experience. Windows 8 especially in beta is not an upgrade for people who sit at a desktop all day; the desktop is an app. Windows 8 is aimed directly as a way to counter the iPad and even Chromebooks. A Windows Phone tablet doesn’t give you the hook a Windows 8 tablet can. See Windows 8, I believe, can be priced similar to an iPad.
Right now if you asked somebody about tablets they would most likely refer to all of them as an iPad. They may also refer to them as PCs (I have seen this happen twice). Now (again personal observation) if you are in a store and you want the most bang for your dollars what is more attractive; a Windows Phone device (its like an iPad) or Windows 8 (it’s a PC). The desktop is a hook; its an added extra like a sunroof. On Windows ARM tablets the desktop is added functionality; you can dump files without having to go through hoops. Another plus is that Metro has been rethought for tablets; it forces app makers to make applications built for a wider screen not just blowing up a phone app.
Now while I think this is a good strategy it may not be the right one; I mean just sticking to a phone OS worked for Apple but it didn’t work for Palm and HP; and it’s a mixed bag for Android. What I do know is that Microsoft is getting press and coverage and attention something I hardly think they would get if they stuck with giving us a ten inch phone.
Note: I do not hate Android or WebOS (so don’t Troll me bro)
Posted originally on The Verge Forums