developers

The HTC One is one of Android’s best phones — it came second in our list of recommended flagship phones — and it is now available for Windows Phone. Windows Phone 8.1 is a mature platform and mostly on par with iOS and Android, and now it also has top notch hardware. The HTC One for Windows Phone is cheap too at $100 on contract in the US.

Unfortunately, it won’t be enough. This fair review from the Wall Street Journal sums it up best:

In the smartphone market, people tend to join in the biggest crowds. By the time Microsoft got its act together, the masses had chosen sides between iPhones and Android phones. For most, a switch would be like being uprooted from a comfortable home for a comfortable home across the street—it just isn’t worth it.

Microsoft probably has only two plays left before Windows Phone is dead for good. Maybe three: making Windows Phone free, utilizing apps from Windows 9 “Threshold” and waiting for web apps to become mainstream. But really it’s just two.

Read Full Article

Mary Jo Foley just posted a big rumour about Windows 9, aka “Threshold.”  We prefer to avoid reacting to rumors, but Foley is usually reliable and the thought experiment is irresistable.

The rumor is that unsurpisingly, the primary interface in Windows 9 is expected to align with hardware.  If you’re using a tablet, it’s the start screen.  If you’re using a laptop, it’s the desktop plus a Modernized start menu.

The juicy bit is that Microsoft may make this update free for Windows 8 users and…get this, Windows 7 users too.

This would absolutely be the right move.  Microsoft must win back user interest in Modern apps and regain developer support.  The strategic benefits of offering free Windows upgrades for consumers far outweigh the financial cost, which won’t even be too large.  Appeasing Windows 8 users who feel envy that Windows 7 users get to upgrade free is a simple matter of exclusive bonuses.

Microsoft is on the precipice — the threshold — of being made obsolete, and now is not the time to reticent.  Microsoft must move aggressively if it wants to stay relevant long-term.

Read Full Article