Windows Phone

Poll: What mobile OS surprised you the most in 2011?

Developer Justin James reveals the mobile OS that surprised him most this year is Windows Phone 7. Share your thoughts on the topic.

2011 was a year of intense change in the mobile development world. A few years ago, decisions were easy: build for iPhone. Now, there are not just phones but tablets. Android has three major versions in the wild, the most prominent by far being the 2.X line, which is considered ancient. RIM's BlackBerry is struggling to land new customers and existing customers are weighing their options. Meanwhile, Microsoft has delivered a well-received (by critics) mobile OS that is still struggling to find traction in the marketplace.

Of all of the changes that surprised me, Windows Phone 7 tops my list; Microsoft managed to not only deliver an outstanding user experience, but completely reboot its development ecosystem and revitalize it at the same time. What mobile OS surprised you most in 2011, and why?

J.Ja

About

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

13 comments
authorwjf
authorwjf

The thing that is making me gun shy about WP7 as an app developer is Silverlight. Not that I think its difficult but rather I'm afraid to invest time converting apps when in my mind the future path for developers on the platform isn't clearly laid out. Windows 8 looks to be all CSS and HTML 5. I'm super impressed with the things I've seen on WP7. But based on the low market share converting my apps from Android and iOS seems like a lot of effort for a small market. I am fairly confident that market will grow. And I like the idea of getting in on the ground floor. But not if doing so means a year from now converting all my Silverlight WP7 apps to something else so it will run on future versions of the platform. Anybody out there have any thoughts or insights to share? I feel like while individual business units of Microsoft have been successful on a number of fronts this past year, as a whole they seem to lack a unified vision. I feel more like the approach is throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. I'm not a big enough shop to jump on every opportunity that shows some promise. I am really hoping for some more transparency and a real road map out of Redmond in 2012.

Slayer_
Slayer_

I expected Blackberry to do better.

beaverusiv
beaverusiv

None of them surprised me, really. They all improved; iOS a teeny bit, Android a significant teeny bit, and WP7 a good amount. I expect the same next year. I put 'Other' for webOS :'(

rhonin
rhonin

Because they had 16 months, a lot of testing, a lot of betas and really did little to nothing with it. It was all "let's catch up to Android and Win7+ and..... Very disappointed.

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

Suprising in that it is being dropped that is. Symbian was probably on more plain "feature" phones worldwide than any other system, and has a loyal following of users and app developers. Time was when you could always find a Symbian app at the mobile download sites, followed in numbers by Palm. There's another surprise...Palm and WebOS.

rhonin
rhonin

I was an original BB and Win6+ user...... Tried Android and found it to be fairly rough but once past 2.0 was okay (used on my Nexus One) Switched to iOS (3G) and found it enjoyable and smooth. Did end up jailbreaking it more and more to get the functionality I wanted... Then came iOS5 and the 4S. Too small and no 4G :( - had major issues with iOS5 on my i4 and some on my iPad2. So I went and looked at Win7+ and Android. Due to the hardware and LTE, I went with Android. Was I really surprised! Everybit as good as my jailbroke iPhone4 and then some. It had really matured! Dumped iOS without a second thought. When (if) Win7.5+ can get on a good duo core with LTE I may take another look at it. It has some things I like. But for now, the latest Android and hardware have really surprised me.

Gromanon
Gromanon

It seemed like the team behing development of Windows Phone had the most challanging task to accomplish in very short time period.They had to think differently and in one year period they had to deliever not only a mature platform but also ramp up app development very fast (40,000 over a year) to become a viable smartphone player in today's highly competitive mobile world. That team definitely deserves some respect!

Skruis
Skruis

Android's come a long way but I had always figured they'd have a leg up because they didn't have much of a legacy to break away from which is why I was most shocked by Windows Phone. I have a Windows Phone and I love it. Most things are either fairly simple or stupidly simple to do on the phone...simple to the point where you almost feel the phone is less capable and obviously, when compared to the flexibility of Android, Windows Phone is certainly less capable and thus less attractive to users who want to do absolutely everything... but not less capable in ways that would affect your traditional user. For example, the Facebook integration at first seems non-existant but when you start diving into all of the different built-in applications (Me, People, Pictures, Messaging, etc), you start to realize that the integration is incredibly powerful...it's baked into the OS in such a way that it's almost deceiving. Of course, there are other great features that are so subtle that you think they're missing at first but that 1 feature was the most surprising to me...it was an "Ah ha!" moment. Overall, it's a slick OS but I think it'll take a while to catch on and not just because most smartphone user's have already invested in the iOS or Android platforms (I think MS/Nokia are targetting new smartphone users rather than existing) but because it's an OS that you have to spend some time with to truly appreciate. It's features are so subtle that they don't jump out and grab you immediately like they do on an iPhone or Android device so it may be hard to "sell' the platform to people. To me, as a long time Microsoft user...like most others, this OS, Win7, Xbox 360 and the upcoming Win8 slate's have restored quite a bit of my lost faith in Microsoft. Microsoft has really been smacked in the face by the resurgance of Apple as well as their loss of control over the Web and I'm happy to see that they didn't just ride the trend to the bottom but have taken a hard look at what they have, what the market wants and are really trying to bridge the gap. Some people might have issues with that strategy (bridging rather than rebuilding) but I think it'll prove successful in the end. As long as they can integrate all of their products (xbox, live, windows, windows phone, slates, etc) into a seamless ecosystem with the cloud (either private or public) at the center for data sharing/migration between devices, they'll have a platform that's difficult to pass up.

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