Someone once said that review of Windows Phone 8 handset just has two parts, phone pics show and camera review, and for the system part, one sentence would be enough, X-branded X phone with WP8. Although it’s a little bit overstated, anyway, it reflects the state of Windows Phone from different brands.
Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8 in 2012. In order to keep positive ecosystem, Microsoft made strict rules on WP8. Qualcomm only CPU; three resolutions; three buttons (back, home and search; Metro UI. Actually, all those rules guarantee a good user experience and apps compatibility. However, the success or failure of the affair is all due to the very same person.
First, it’s just half a year since WP8 was released. Hardware requirements Microsoft made then is still the mainstream. But mobile devices develop so fast. CPU has gone to eight-core, and resolution has up to 1080p, while both of them aren’t supported by WP8. That’s why HTC announced that they won’t make large screen Windows Phone.
Second, because of strict rules on WP8 from Microsoft, homogenization becomes a severe problem on Windows Phone devices from different brands. Same CPU, resolution, UI, IE10, and even maps. And Windows Phone 8 devices from Samsung, HTC and Huawei are not so different actually.
Third, dated WP8 hardware would make high-end users switch to Android devices. Users can buy Android phone with quad-core CPU, screen larger than 4.5 inches with resolution larger than 720p.
Forth, users who pursue cost-effective products prefer cheaper Android devices. MTK make cheaper Android phone possible by their CPU. And developers would prefer to develop apps in mature platform. However, ecosystem of WP8 is still need to be improved.
Fifth, makers have to pay licensing fee for every Windows Phone device to Microsoft. And, customers pay those licensing fee in the end actually. So, with same configuration, Windows Phone 8 device is tens or even hundreds of dollars higher than Android devices. For example, Huawei Ascend W1 with S4 Plus MSM8630 1.2GHzCPU, 4.0 inches 800x480 IPS screen, 512MB RAM and 4GB ROM is 260$. But Huawei 8813 with S4 MSM8625 1.2GHz CPU, 4.5 inches 854x480 IPS screen, 512 RAM and 4GB ROM is just 160$.
In general, Windows Phone 8 devices are not so much. And WP8 users are also quite small. How to keep Windows Phone platform more attractive is a big issue for Microsoft.