Microsoft’s mobile business has finally hit the surface (pardon the evil pun) as Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore recently admitted that there won’t be any more developments for its Windows 10 Mobile platform in terms of hardware and software (except for security patches for existing phones). With Microsoft being a leader in the desktop computing industry, no one would have expected that the company’s phone business would come down to this state, failing to keep up with Android and iOS.
Now, everyone is talking about what or where everything went down for Microsoft and what could it point at other phone OS platforms such as Tizen that is in the race to grab that third spot in the smartphone industry. We will have a look on some of the major reasons for Window Phone’s failure and how Samsung has been going about with its Tizen smartphone strategy to avoid Microsoft’s fate.
Apps are the oxygen for smartphones
When it comes to hardware, Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform had a lot of OEMs making smartphones for their OS. Microsoft even went on to acquire Nokia’s mobile business to further ramp up their smartphone development that resulted in some really amazing Lumia smartphones. Thats not all, Windows phones were spread across all budget categories from entry level to even flagship devices.
So, clearly hardware wasn’t a problem for Microsoft, but the lack of good quality apps is what most believe is the primary reason for the failure. When the devices cost almost the same as Android phones, users expected all the popular apps found on Android and iOS to be made available for Windows Phones as well. But sadly that didn’t happen at a rate that Microsoft hope it would.
According to one of Joe’s tweets, Microsoft did all it could shelling out a huge amount of money to bring developers over to their platform he says they never showed any interest.
We have tried VERY HARD to incent app devs. Paid money.. wrote apps 4 them.. but volume of users is too low for most companies to invest. https://t.co/ePsySxR3LB
— Joe Belfiore (@joebelfiore) October 8, 2017
On the contrary, Samsung are currently the only ones making Tizen smartphones despite Tizen being an Open source platform. And the Korean giant haven’t dedicated their full resources to Tizen smartphones as they still are going very strong with their Android based Galaxy smartphone business. But still, Samsung have been actively promoting the Tizen OS to bring developers onboard to make apps for Tizen phones. Samsung has also hosted partner programs and even incentive programs to help indie developers to make a living out of their Tizen apps.
That is not all Samsung has done to promote Tizen app development, the company has also partnered with Microsoft itself to let C# developers build Tizen apps using .NET and the development is not limited to just Tizen smartphones. Developers can make use of .NET and Visual Studio Tools to build applications for Tizen TVs, wearables, etc.
Know your market
Samsung has sold over 4.5 million Tizen smartphones to date but whats interesting is that Samsung only has a total of 4 Tizen smartphones released for its consumers. Another interesting aspect is that all the four Tizen smartphones belong to the entry level budget category. Despite that having such high sales number is only because Samsung knew exactly what its market needed. Samsung started selling its handsets in India which has a lot of takers for the budget category smartphones, even more the brand value of Samsung is very high in the country.
Hence, with a careful study of the market Samsung has made a decent business with its Tizen phones and are now rolling out to more markets such as Indonesia, Africa, Nepal etc with devices coming to additional fertile markets such as Iran and Pakistan.
Linux is the differentiator
One of the major problems that developers faced with Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS was that in the early stages the platform didn’t play completely well with the ARM chipsets that were leading the Mobile electronics business like the way linux based Android phones did. Microsoft couldn’t bring its legacy apps to the arm architecture until 2017 when it started making x86 emulators for the updated Windows 10 mobile platform. But by then the windows phone platform had lost a huge portion of its userbase to Android and iOS.
Tizen on the other hand is based on Linux and hence it makes it easier for developers to port their existing apps from Android over to Tizen a breeze but that wasn’t the case on the Windows Phone platform.
Tizen for the future
But down the line Samsung can’t continue with this strategy of budget handsets and will have to consider making mid-range Tizen smartphones, which a lot of our readers and developers do want. Hopefully with more native app support on the Tizen store we will continue to see the Tizen Smartphone ecosystem expanding and being less of a barrier to potential new users.