There has been much ado about an alleged series of talks between Microsoft and HTC. It has been reported by other blogs that MS is asking the OEM to allow Windows Phone to boot alongside Android on their devices. This brings to the table many questions from several different angles. Here is my take on what this would mean, and how realistic this may be.
For starters, Bloomberg asserts HTC has no current plans to release further Windows Phone devices. This is a very key point going forward. If the manufacturer is not releasing Windows Phone devices, that means they’re not going to be paying the licensing to Microsoft. This would be a reason for Microsoft to approach HTC and offer a deal to add Windows Phone as a second operating system for their Android lineup.
HTC made some really nice Windows Phones. The 8X was of stellar build quality, size and power. Unfortunately, it seems folks at HTC aren’t selling enough of them to warrant producing further phones. If the Windows Phones aren’t selling enough (only around 3.7% of current market share), HTC will take losses on the units. This is something they simply cannot afford to do, and probably why they opted out of further manufacturing.
If these talks happened, I wouldn’t believe HTC would agree to such a deal. The manufacturer has already decided not to go forward with Windows Phone, thus negating licensing costs and paring down their overall lineup. This would allow for increased focus on their Android products that sell better. Further, they won’t have to manufacture several different phones that make up a minimal part of the smartphone market. This has the potential to save HTC a lot of money while increasing feature development on the units that actually make it to our hands. As long as HTC nixes the deal, nothing will change for either company.
So let’s say everyone at HTC was hitting the sauce really hard and somehow agreed to this (I’m talking entire company keg party here). How would this affect each company and their end users? This needs to be broken up into two categories: the average consumer and the kind of people who care enough about mobile technology to read this article.
The Average Consumer
Thinking about the average consumer I’m not sure they would even care. Dual booting isn’t a lure to them. Average end users want a phone that has features they want, not a divided experience.
People who bought a Lumia 1020 bought it because it has an awesome camera. Possibly because it has some cool colors. People who bought a HTC One wanted Zoes, highlights and amazing front facing speakers. They want the BoomSound.
I feel something of this nature will confuse the average buyer if not scare them into buying something else. It’s hard to believe there are still people in the world who are scared to turn on a computer because they might break it, but they’re out there. These types will not care to have an Android/Windows Phone hybrid. How many average users dual-boot operating systems on their PCs?
The Power User
Flipping the coin, power users and mobile fanatics will buy their platform of choice. I am obviously a die-hard Android user. When I walk into a store (or shop online) for a mobile phone, I’m looking at Android. If a die-hard Windows Phone user walks into a store they’re looking at Windows Phone devices. If you have a platform of choice that you love, you’re going to buy that platform. No ifs, ands or buts.
If I walked into a store and saw a device that booted into Android and Windows Phone, I’d safely assume I’ll never ever boot into Windows Phone. This will eat up the available storage. It will also force HTC to make them only in the largest storage options or leave their customers short on space. We all remember what happened when the S4 came out with a fraction of the advertised storage actually available to their users, right? Those customers were heated, and rightfully so.
Lastly, let me mention ecosystems. No matter which one you choose you’ve got some serious cash tied up in it. I have over a thousand dollars in Google Play apps and games alone. Factor in music, movies and TV and books and it’s sickening. Simply throwing Windows on an Android device isn’t an incentive to use it.
I don’t see these devices coming to light. I may be wrong, and I’ll admit it if it happens, but that’s how I see it. Android is a very robust and fun operating system to use. Windows Phone really isn’t all that bad either. I own a Lumia and I honestly enjoy the email app and keyboard more than I should. There’s just no reason to cram them together into one device.