HTC Corp (TPE:2498) is taking a big chance on Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Windows Phone operating system. The company will offer the popular HTC One handset on both Android and Windows Phone in a David versus Goliath battle that may offer a better gauge for what consumers think of Windows Phone. For now, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) will be the only carrier to offer the Windows Phone version of the HTC One.
HTC pits Windows Phone against Android
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Android and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iOS are the two mobile operating systems that rule them all. Within Android, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) has held the lion’s share of the sales, although the HTC One is seen by many as the one phone that might put a chink in Samsung’s armor.
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Now that the HTC One will be available in both Windows Phone and Android, it will be interesting to see whether Windows Phone can get a foothold in the smartphone market. Unfortunately for Microsoft’s beautiful operating system, people tend to be creatures of habit who don’t want to change, but maybe, just maybe, those gorgeous live tiles will catch their interest.
Until recently, Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) was the sole player on the Windows Phone operating system. Microsoft then bought the company’s devices division, which some see as a mistake. But with only one company offering smartphones that run Microsoft’s operating system, it’s questionable whether people don’t like Nokia or whether it’s actually the Windows Phone operating system they don’t like.
But with the HTC One being offered on both Android and Windows Phone, we could see a clearer picture of whether Nokia’s design or the operating system itself is to blame. After all, the HTC One has become arguably the most popular non-Samsung Android phone, so by offering the exact same phone on two different operating systems, it levels the playing field.
Discovering new apps on Windows Phone
Perhaps the biggest complaint on Windows Phone is the lack of apps, which is something HTC is going to battle too. Google has essentially squashed the mobile operating system by providing horrible versions of its apps to the platform. However, there are other solutions to that issue. In fact, there are other apps that run better than Google’s apps on the Windows Platform. The big problem is going to be educating potential buyers about the other apps.
For example, the popular Waze GPS app works better than the Google Maps app does on Windows Phone. Bing Maps is also a good option, as it’s powered by Nokia’s HERE maps, which are seen by many as being just as good as Google Maps. The Google search app is pretty much a waste of space on the Windows Phone, but Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) and Bing are catching up rapidly in terms of quality. Even Cortana, Microsoft’s version of Apple’s Siri and Google Now, is improving rapidly to become just as good as them. Microsoft also automatically backs files up to its One cloud storage, just as Android backs things up to Google’s offerings. And for those who want to bring their Google contacts over without entering them into their new Windows Phone, it’s also possible to link a Google account to the phone.
But with all the bad press Windows Phone gets, there’s going to be a bit of a learning curve. If the Windows Phone version of the HTC One has any chance of survival, salespeople will have to be willing to dispel the bad reputation. For now anyway, it seems that many aren’t willing to do that. However, with the popular HTC One giving Windows Phone a chance, that might change. It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out.