Prediction: 2012 Will be the Year of Windows Phone

Windows Phone 7.5 is running fast out of the gate for 2012. The stunning mobile operating system from Microsoft was the talk of CES in Las Vegas this year. The accolades streaming in from the world’s most influential newspapers, magazines, reviewers, and tech bloggers are unprecedented.

The Nokia Lumia 900 won the Best of CES award in the Smartphone category and it’s no surprise. Before listing off the impressive specs, just look at this gorgeous piece of hardware. Looks matter…trust me. Windows Phone is already the most elegant mobile operating system. Breathtaking industrial design is the other half of the equation. When paired with iconic hardware, it’s like pairing your favorite Walla Walla Cabernet with your favorite steak.

Nokia Lumia 900

I can’t count the number of reviews and comments stating that Windows Phone on the Lumia 900 has surpassed the iPhone. If you follow the U.S. wireless market, then you know that things like 4G LTE network speeds, large screens, front-facing cameras, and dual-core processors are the current drivers of smartphone sales. The Lumia 900 addresses three of those drivers with support for AT&T’s 4G LTE network, a 4.3-inch AMOLED ClearBlack display, and a front-facing camera for video calls. It’s powered by a single 1.4 GHz processor and if you’ve paid attention to all the reviews in the press, you’ve heard that Windows Phone runs circles around its dual-core competitors. Better software design, better engineering, more efficient algorithms, and optimized coding techniques means you can do more with less. Last but not least, the Lumia 900 comes with an amazing 8MP camera with Carl Zeiss optics.

The HTC Titan II came to the CES party guns-blazing with a monster of a smartphone. It tics all the required boxes needed for sales by delivering a massive 4.7 inch screen, support for AT&T’s 4G LTE network, and a front-facing camera. The 1.5Ghz Snapdragon 2 processor gives this superphone all the horsepower it needs.

HTC Titan II

Joining the camera arms-race with the Lumia 900, the Titan II comes equipped with a whopping 16 megapixel camera that can capture 720p video. If you’re looking for a giant phone that can go head-to-head with the Galaxy Nexus, this is your device.

2012 is already shaping up to be a great year with compelling hardware matched-up with Windows Phone 7.5, but what else does this platform need to make my prediction come true? Oh yeah, apps. Do you remember back in the 80’s when DOS-based PCs from IBM and Compaq gave Apple IIs and Macs more than they could handle? It might not have been eye-catching, but DOS had more apps that allowed consumers and companies to be successful. In the 90’s, Windows ran away with the computing market with the Mac, Linux, NeXT, and OS/2 unable to compete in the app department. Why do you think this was the case? I know a big reason was because Borland and Microsoft made better and easier-to-use development tools for Windows.

With 50,000+ apps in the Marketplace, Windows Phone is surging forward and now sits in third-place behind the iPhone App Store and the Android Market. Aside from developers betting on the success of a platform, they need development tools, emulators, and programming languages that make it easy for them to be productive. When I look at the velocity at which new apps are being added to the Windows Phone Marketplace, it tells me that Visual Studio is making a big difference.

Visual Studio

In my job, I have to work with the development tools for all the major smartphone platforms and I can tell you without drinking any Kool-Aid that the competition isn’t even close. Most iPhone developers I know find that learning Objective-C from the NeXT operating system to be a daunting task compared to modern, high-level languages like C# and VB. While the world is full of Java developers, the complexity of cobbling the necessary tools together needed to build for Android apps is a real productivity killer. Just running Eclipse on JDK 1.6 sucks the life and performance out of my fast Windows 7 laptop. Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone is free and the emulator + SDKs all download and install together making the whole process fast and simple. Apps get access to all phone sensors, a local database (SQL Server Compact), and Metro design.

Better productivity means faster time-to-market which means more apps for Windows Phone.

If you’re a web designer/developer, Internet Explorer 9 is alive and well on Windows Phone 7.5. This means you’re no longer held hostage to the highly-fragmented WebKit mobile browser platform. You get a hardware-accelerated, amazingly fast browser with support for more “fully-baked” HTML5 standards like Web Storage, Geolocation, Canvas, Audio and Video.

HTML5

The lightning fast-Chakra JavaScript engine supports ECMAScript 5 which means your DOM interactions and Ajax web service calls will blur the lines with native apps. When you retrieve data from the cloud or your on-premise servers via Ajax, you’ll now be able to persist it offline in Web Storage. Support for CSS3 means things will be beautiful, 2D transforms will occur, and media queries will give you responsive design.

So here we stand with the best smartphone operating system, best hardware, best development tools and the best mobile web browser. I’m certain that Windows Phone with its army of app developers, OEMs and Mobile Operator partners will be marching to victory this year.

Be fearless,

Rob

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