In a PCMag interview, Andy Rubin (a Google Engineer) made a statement in response to Windows Phone 7 in that “the world doesn’t need another mobile platform”. Of course, a statement like that is like rattling a hornets nest for fun and has certainly created some conjecture about the topic in general.
What has drawn most criticism is that Google could arguably be accused of creating multiple platforms in its relatively fast evolution of Android leaving early adopters stranded on older versions of the operating systems. Meanwhile, new devices may be released with older versions of Android with potential uncertainty as to whether or not an upgrade will be released. The mobile arena is a different kettle of fish compared to desktop operating systems where updates of between one to three years is acceptable. In contrast. competition in the mobile device space is intense and competitors need at least two or three refreshes to roll out security and performance patches as well as new features to keep ahead of the pack.
At least Apple has been able to roll out new features and maintain support for its devices for several years before hardware limitations started to factor into the equations. Microsoft seems set to provide regular updates through its “Windows Phone Update” functionality similar to the Windows Update function found built into Windows Vista and 7.
One of the benefits that Microsoft has had in releasing a new mobile operating system after Apple and Google is that Microsoft has had ample opportunity to observe what has worked well and what has not. Also, let’s face it, Windows Mobile flat lined long ago and companies that are still using it are either trying to maximise their investment in the platform and devices or unwilling to move to another platform.
Replacing an old and clunky mobile operating system with a brand new one designed from the ground up is not adding another platform at all – it’s replacing it.
At the end of the day, Microsoft could be panned for being late to the party (again) but sometimes it isn’t all about being first. Microsoft has decades of experience with developers and APIs but has had to rethink its approach to the user interface on the small screen. Shrinking a desktop operating system to fit on a mobile device ultimately failed so Microsoft has done its due diligence and come up with what looks like a suitable replacement.
So Andy, pull your head in and take your stones back inside your glass house – you’ve got your own problems to sort out.