Current Windows Phone user will not be able to upgrade to the full Windows Phone 8, a decision that has already caused criticism by some. But neither Caughey nor Landry see this as a problem, and it may end up benefiting some prospective buyers. Caughey points out that the current generation of phones simply can't use many of the key features, such as the new high-def resolutions or NFC, and other new features could tax the current single-core CPU.
"Price-sensitive buyers might not want to purchase a high-end Windows Phone 8 device anyway and might prefer a very good [and less expensive] Windows Phone 7.5 handset," she says.
"I understand the initial negative reaction some may have, but they quickly forget how much worse the situation is for Android users," Landry says. "And looking at Apple and iOS 5 and 6, the same story is already happening [there], where Facetime, Siri and other features have been denied to iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4 users. Apple is just clever enough to hide it and not openly advertise separate versions. Microsoft is very honest about it. I do think Microsoft could have gone further and give more of Windows Phone 8 to current 7.5 owners, but I like that the essentials are there in 7.8. It just doesn't make sense to give support for more screen resolutions, NFC, storage cards and multi-cores when the current phones simply can't benefit from it."
Finally, both agree that new enterprise features in Windows Phone 8 could trigger much wider acceptance by the corporate market. The new OS version offers the "Company Hub" on each phone, which can feature applications published by the enterprise itself, bypassing the online Marketplace. And the next generation phones will have Microsoft's BitLocker data encryption and secure boot technologies, among other changes.
"I think Windows Phone 8 is particularly important for enterprise developers," Caughey says. "The new security features in Windows Phone 8 are what those people have been requesting for a while, and the new Company Hub will appeal to large organizations."
"For the last two years, the number one request I get from enterprise developers and companies is [for] the ability to provision their own applications to their workforce without publishing them to the public marketplace," Landry says. "Having your own ‘Company Hub' will also really make it easy for employees to discover those apps and get updates."
Despite the fact that Microsoft has so far failed to gain traction with Windows Phone, and that its global market share compared to iOS and Android remains in single digits, it actually seems to be gaining developer support. Landry himself was an iPhone user (and has an iPad), but abandoned it to grab one of the first Windows Phone handsets in 2010. "As a developer, the Windows Phone developer tools have been stellar since day one, which explains the rapid adoption by developers despite the lower market share," he says.
The Windows Phone Marketplace recently added the 100,000th app, with nearly half of the newest ones added since the start of 2012, reaching that milestone faster than Android did. [AllAboutWindowsPhone.com has a detailed analysis of the Marketplace.)
Flurry, which offers mobile application analytics and an advertising platform, recently blogged data that shows relative support for several mobile platforms between the second quarter of 2011 and the second quarter of 2012. Though the Windows Phone share is still in single digits, its growth rate is vastly faster: 521 percent year over year (albeit from a much smaller base), compared to 66 percent for iOS and 82 percent for Android.
"Year-over-year, developer support has shifted, with Microsoft's dent becoming more [much more] visible, now representing 4 percent during Q2 2012," writes Peter Farago, Flurry's vice president of marketing. "Whatever the reason, it's clear that Microsoft still knows how to attract third party developer support."
Landry and Caughey undoubtedly agree.
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World."
Blog RSS feed: http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/2989/feed
Read more about anti-malware in Network World's Anti-malware section.