Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on
 

Can Windows Phone 8 mobiles compete with iPhone?

By Stuart Miles, Special to CNN
October 4, 2012 -- Updated 0856 GMT (1656 HKT)
HTC's Jason Mackenzie introduces the new 8S and 8X cell phones were unveiled at a news conference in New York.
HTC's Jason Mackenzie introduces the new 8S and 8X cell phones were unveiled at a news conference in New York.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • HTC, Samsung, and Nokia have announced Windows Phone 8 devices for October or November
  • Apple confirmed that it sold 2 million iPhone 5s, and retailers detail best ever pre-order records
  • Windows phone offers a very viable offering for consumers and business users keen to be secure

(CNN) -- The dice have been thrown; over the next couple of months consumers ready to upgrade their phone will be forced into making a decision. Do they go for a phone that is beautifully designed, will make them feel safe, and never for a moment make them feel out of their comfort zone? Or do they take a risk, a risk that sees them fundamentally change the way they use their phone, the way their phone looks, and even what their phone will be able to do? Decisions will have to be made.

In the one camp is Apple, in the other is HTC, Samsung, and Nokia. The latter three have all announced Windows Phone 8 devices that are expected at the end of October or the beginning of November. Apple's iPhone 5 went on sale around the world on Friday.

While Apple has already confirmed that it has sold 2 million iPhone 5s, and retailers around the globe detail best ever pre-order records, Microsoft is hoping people will wait.

It's a tough ask, do you go with the market leading smartphone now, and get what you expect, or wait for another couple of months and hope it has been worth it.

Those questions aside, Microsoft with the help of HTC, Nokia, and Samsung, hope you'll wait. If it can convince you to do that, it has a good chance of succeeding.

The operating system, not yet fully detailed, looks to have some really nice features above and beyond emailing or making calls. Take the People Hub that seamlessly manages your contacts and your social life, or the in-built Office Hub that makes writing Word documents or managing spreadsheets really easy. There's a kids corner feature too that locks out important features when you give your phone to your kids so they can't email your boss.

On the hardware front, Nokia and HTC have both gone for a colorful experience. Windows Phone 8 phones are Flame Red, Limelight Yellow and California Blue. They aren't just Black or White. That is likely to appeal to those that want to be noticed, the cool hipsters and fashionastas, that whether you like it or not, influence how you dress.

Nokia, to some outcry, has ditched a Cyan version of its new Lumia handsets. When asked why, it simply replied that Cyan wasn't this year's color. We haven't heard that from a phone company for a long time.

Likewise HTC's new 8X and 8S phones have an equally vibrant color scheme that will either appeal or appall. It's about thinking and being different, almost on purpose.

Get past the colors, the OS, and the spec sheet is just as cutting edge, untried and untested. Most of the new Windows Phone 8 devices will come with NFC, a new technology that will let you pay with your phone or connect instantly to other NFC devices. Apple has shunned the technology in the new iPhone 5. Microsoft is hoping that's going to be a mistake.

Nokia is hoping wireless charging will be a big draw, losing the need for cables all together even in charging and allowing you to just dump your phone on a pillow instead, while HTC has teamed up with Dr Dre's Beats Audio to try and win the battle for your ears. If it is good enough for Olympians, it is good enough for us. Both are pushing the camera at the forefront of the experience.

The elephant in the room is still apps. Nokia is doing its best to fill the gaps itself, but with momentum still to kick in, Apple has the upper hand.

Windows Phone offers a very viable offering for consumers looking for a change, and business users keen to be secure.

Against Apple, Microsoft and its new friends have to convince developers to get building, and convince consumers that there is a point to your phone beyond apps.

With such a competitive market that's no easy task. For Microsoft it has a great OS on its side, but the battle is only just starting and they have a long way to go before any of them can claim victory.

The question is though, are consumers willing to wait with them, or get their gratification before the race has even begun.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 8, 2012 -- Updated 1347 GMT (2147 HKT)
In the past 10 years we've seen cell phones transform into electronic Swiss army knives with a wild variety of functions and features.
October 9, 2012 -- Updated 1203 GMT (2003 HKT)
If you're like Derek Smith, you spend a lot of time on your smartphone. Then again, maybe nobody is quite like Derek Smith.
October 6, 2012 -- Updated 1403 GMT (2203 HKT)
I am part of a dying breed. I am among a quickly shrinking slice of Americans who have yet to step foot in smartphone land.
October 3, 2012 -- Updated 2224 GMT (0624 HKT)
If you're looking for a harbinger of the zombie apocalypse, look no further than all those people on the street pecking at their tiny, handheld windows into a private world.
October 2, 2012 -- Updated 1915 GMT (0315 HKT)
There are many ways to lose or ruin your smartphone. Forgetfulness, crime, gravity, anger, intoxication, acts of God.
September 28, 2012 -- Updated 0955 GMT (1755 HKT)
A Sumo wrestler talks on a mobile phone
It is a device that three quarters of the world's inhabitants have access to, but the words to describe it and etiquette of how to use it differ starkly across cultures.
September 27, 2012 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
While about a quarter of adults in the United States suffer from some form of mental illness, most of them are not getting adequate treatment, if any.
September 26, 2012 -- Updated 2024 GMT (0424 HKT)
There are millions of cell phone users in the United States. But one day last week, there was one less. Here's how comedian Dean Obeidallah survived it.
September 26, 2012 -- Updated 2020 GMT (0420 HKT)
In a world where people are glued to their smartphones every minute of the day, what happened to observing the people and places around us? And what is it doing to our brains?
September 20, 2012 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
Physical therapists have a diagnosis for the headaches, neck cricks and achy shoulders affecting smartphone users, gamers and e-mailers. They call it "Text Neck."
September 19, 2012 -- Updated 1549 GMT (2349 HKT)
Works of art photography aren't just for people with DSLR or film cameras anymore. Smartphones are helping create incredible art.
September 19, 2012 -- Updated 1539 GMT (2339 HKT)
What if you found yourself stuck alone at a faraway airport -- with no money, credit cards or ID? Never fear, all you need is your phone.
September 18, 2012 -- Updated 1537 GMT (2337 HKT)
China is on the verge of a smartphone revolution. For migrant populations, such technology has served to liberate workers, restructuring their social identity.
September 14, 2012 -- Updated 1802 GMT (0202 HKT)
africa mobile phone boys
A little over a decade ago there were about 100,000 phone lines in Nigeria, mostly landlines run by the state-owned telecoms behemoth, NITEL. Today NITEL is dead, and Nigeria has close to 100 million mobile phone lines.
September 14, 2012 -- Updated 1439 GMT (2239 HKT)
How does sleeping with your smartphone inches from reach affect your life? You might be surprised.
September 10, 2012 -- Updated 1617 GMT (0017 HKT)
They've helped ignite the Arab Spring and given people better access to education and health care. How smartphones are changing the world.
September 20, 2012 -- Updated 2021 GMT (0421 HKT)
From the Samsung Galaxy S III to the next iPhone, here's a look at some of the most popular new handsets.
Many parents complain that cellphones, computers and tablets are dividing families. But some experts disagree.
September 10, 2012 -- Updated 1426 GMT (2226 HKT)
Ten years ago, I helped work on the next great revolution in digital media. It was going to be wireless. Only most people didn't know it then.
ADVERTISEMENT