8.11.2016

Why the Surface Phone Should Run Android

Windows Phone has aged poorly and Android is where the apps are at

Credit: https://www.facebook.com/PhoneDesigner

Time and again we’ve heard whispers of a Microsoft Surface Phone. To capitalize on the premium Surface brand, the argument goes, Microsoft should release a companion device for our pockets. None of this conjecture goes as far as to speculate on what mobile operating system the purported smartphone would run; they assume it would be Windows Phone. But that’s a horrible idea.

Windows Phone not only lacks most new apps, getting them months after iOS and Android, but is actually losing the few decent ones offered on its app store. This so-called app gap has long plagued WP and the matter is getting worse due to what has rightly been called an app exodus. The Surface Phone would be dead on arrival if it were powered by Microsoft’s third-rate, albeit beautiful, mobile OS.

As a Windows Phone expatriate, I have long been disappointed with the favoritism MS shows Android. Windows Phone’s distinct user interface, together with its stellar first party apps: Cortana, Office Mobile, and MSN Weather to name a few, made it special. Many of its best features have been ported to the world’s most-used OS, leaving little incentive for users to stay with Redmond's mobile platform and even less reason for developers to make apps for Windows Phone.

Credit: Gartner, Inc.

Considering the prevalence of Android and Microsoft’s hardy support for the platform, it is only natural that the Surface Phone run Android Nougat and not the Windows Phone 10 Anniversary Update. Not to mention, competing head-to-head with smartphone OEMs is something that Microsoft can actually do without disrupting its core business, unlike midrange laptops (i.e., not the Surface Book).

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