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Manufacturers want Windows Phone 8 to be more like Android

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Manufacturers want Windows Phone 8 to be more like Android
Apparently, according to a new report by DigiTimes, Microsoft's manufacturer partners for Windows Phone are a bit disappointed with the adoption rate of the platform and are asking Microsoft for some changes in the way the system works. If we're to believe the report, manufacturers want more customization options built into Windows Phone 8 so they can differentiate and market the devices better, just like they do with Android. 

And, we all know what a double-edged sword that can be. Sure, manufacturers can customize the UI, and that leads to more marketing (because companies only want to spend money on marketing its own features, not the features of its licensed operating system), but it can also mean very long delays in software updates. Of course, if Microsoft were to add customization options, it seems likely it would keep manufacturers on a short leash, in order to avoid that issue, possibly even instituting the oft-suggested fix for Android's problems: an official theming option, so manufacturers don't have to mess with code, but could just plug in their layers.

It seems reasonable that manufacturers would ask Microsoft about this option, but we'd put that more on the parenthetical reasoning above. It's not that companies can't put more money towards marketing their Windows Phone devices now, because there certainly could be a lot more marketing done. The problem is that companies don't like to spend marketing dollars when they can't highlight their own features. Because of the tight restrictions on WP hardware, and no customization of the software, there isn't a lot for manufacturers to do (which may be why Nokia's big move was cyan polycarbonate.) 

DigiTimes also runs a bunch of numbers from its "industry sources" about the Windows Phone sales, but they all seem skewed to fit the argument presented, so we won't rehash them here. Suffice it to say that we think WP has been gaining at a respectable pace (both in the US and Europe), where DigiTimes wants to paint the platform as having stagnant sales. And, with RIM still floundering, Windows Phone has the biggest opportunity to gain moving forward. 

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posted on 29 Mar 2012, 20:45 1

1. nnaatthhaannx2 (Posts: 820; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


posted on 29 Mar 2012, 23:33

19. anywherehome (Posts: 971; Member since: 13 Dec 2011)

first to say: when people don't want it so manufacturers shouldn't buy it when Android is for free?

posted on 29 Mar 2012, 20:46 3

2. TROLL.ISAHA (banned) (Posts: 535; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)


posted on 30 Mar 2012, 03:50 6

29. Henrik (Posts: 141; Member since: 18 Feb 2012)

No, we wouldn't. You're not a genuine Windows Phone user, I guess. Don't bring that UI fragmentation over here, we don't want 5 different locked-down UI's of the same OS. If I want the Samsung hardware but a vanilla WP - I don't want that TouchWiz to get in my way. And that goes for the rest of the manufacturers too. And having to resort to nonofficial, unsupported custom ROM's don't cut it.

Though I could go for a theme overlay, yes - but only if it boosts sale and as long as the code beneath stays untouched. I would also like to be able to turn it off for the Real experience. I will pretty much ruin the unified experience and uniqueness of Windows Phone though, being marketed with questionable skinning on top, which is a shame considering how great the OS already is.

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 05:40 3

31. andro. (Posts: 1998; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)

From day to day customer hands on experience windows phones are selling so poorly principly because nobody is a fan of the blnd dated square block ui. Ive seen most customers instantly lose interests apon seeing it,and those with concerns for other reasons like poor quality app store,os limitations dont even take the demo experience at all.

The sales figures are quite poor and manufactures have no doubt done their homework and found this is one of the customers biggest turn off with windows and wants more customization to tackle the issue before its too late. From general public interest and conversation i dont think windows has a chance of becoming anywhere near successfull as all customers are asking about is the galaxy s3,new HTC one x and iphone 5 etc for their next upgrades

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 06:16 5

32. Henrik (Posts: 141; Member since: 18 Feb 2012)

Nobody is a fan? Well how come so many people love it then..? You can't charm everyone, and I certainly don't like the outdated looks of iOS or Android either, so ... am I the 100% voice of the people too then?

(copy paste the darn link, since it won't work here)

The users have spoken. Windows Phone even got slightly higher satisfaction than iOS. And Android is terribly far behind.

And that's still from the vanilla UI :-) So ...

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 11:44 2

40. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

I sell quite a few Nokia wp7 sets. maybe its how you position it. do some homework on them as they consistently have the highest over all customer satisfaction ratings. the only phones that score that high in android land are the galaxy series

high satisfaction = low returns.

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 17:24

48. bon87 (Posts: 10; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)

Just wait until Windows 8 comes and they unify the entire platform..People will get more used to the so called "square block ui" and soon the ones on iOS n Android will be the one that'll look outdated. Performance wise WP is currently on par with iOS if not better and dat too with a single core. Just wait for Apollo n we'll see..

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 20:42

49. frydaexiii (Posts: 1444; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)

Just wait, just wait, just wait...Windows 8 is only coming at the end of the year or even only early next year, a hell lot of time for both Android and iOS to keep up sales. And the block square UI is still boring, even in Windows 8..

Of course WP7 is on par with iOS, they both have almost the same limitations, except iOS has way more apps than WP7...

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 21:22

50. TROLL.ISAHA (banned) (Posts: 535; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)

Atleast we dont want you'r lock-down.....
Atleast we have freedom
atleast windows can be free unite like Android
Atleast ios is much better than windows
Atleast there is custom roms
atleast you can root
atleast we dont use zune
atleast bluetooth file-sharing
atleast hard-ware is better
atleast software is better
at last it took 6 years to reach 70.000 apps

posted on 29 Mar 2012, 21:06 9

3. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

As long as its an overlay, like we've been begging for on android.. just a simple app that changes the look, not a code change, that would be cool. If they want the ability to mess with code changes, then they can just go to heck. MS needs to muscle carriers (and so does google btw) so they can have direct downloads for updates like apple does and bypass carrier stupidity. That would really help MS win disgruntled android customers.

posted on 29 Mar 2012, 21:27

6. nyamo (Posts: 274; Member since: 19 Mar 2011)

So remix? Your next phone going to be a flagship android or a wp7

posted on 29 Mar 2012, 21:30 1

7. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)

my bet is on android, so far there are android features we love and ICS is delicious, plus we have spent money on the ecosystem, that makes it hard for us to leave

posted on 29 Mar 2012, 21:34

8. nyamo (Posts: 274; Member since: 19 Mar 2011)

I completely agree. Loving cm9 but at the same time I keep getting drawn back with the new wp7 commercials. Like I keep saying kill of zune requirements and give me a USB mount and I would consider going back again

posted on 29 Mar 2012, 21:44 3

9. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

My mind has been set on an SGS3 for quite some time. Its going to take a miracle to get me off of that choice.

Besides, I already own an HD7. I won it at work. Currently my daughter uses it as her personal entertainment device. She loves it.

Will I buy another one? Yea, when its base features (camera, GPU, ect) match or exceed whatever my favorite android device is at the time. Im an addict of change, which is why android holds me so well. Since I've discovered the WP7 mod scene and secondary modder's app market, it had me playing with the OS again.

If nothing else, i have full intentions of buying a WP8 tablet that has the desktop compatibility mode in it.

posted on 29 Mar 2012, 22:38 2

14. denney (Posts: 98; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)

I like WP7 and I appreciate that MS has stuck to their guns. I hate that manufacturers and carriers blame the OS for the lack of sales. It has nothing to do with how it looks or works, it has everything to do with how late it was to the market (a market presaturated with millions of android and iOS devices), lack of available models (totally the manufacturer's fault), and lack of carrier marketing.

While I love WP7, unfortunately I've made the decision that if they do not take hold of a viable market share before long, I'm probably going to get the next iteration of the iPhone (so long as they increase that stupid screen size).

posted on 29 Mar 2012, 22:50 1

15. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)

MS is not exactly in the strongest position to be dictating to manufacturing partners what they will and will not provide. If WP7/7.5/8/whatever were selling at volumes it would be one thing. But when the sales volumes after removal of Nokia handsets are in the 5 digits territory for a year, that doesn't give you much ability to dictate. The manufacturing partners can always pass on making more WP# handsets. Then where is MS?

posted on 31 Mar 2012, 14:48

53. Whodaboss (Posts: 176; Member since: 18 Nov 2011)

I agree with your "...selling at volumes.." point. But it hard to sell in volumes when most of the manufactures only have one phone on a network - Sprint 1, Verizon 1, TMo 2, and thank goodness for AT&T 4. Think about it 1 or 2 phones on a network? That doesn't give the consumer many choices does it?

The problem as I see it MS should have gone the Apple direction. They should have created their own damn phone! But unlike Apple they should have created multiple devices with different designs. But I'm sold on Nokia anyway. As far as I'm concerned all the other phone companies could close shop because I'm not interested in their devices anyway.

And for all the money MS gets for each Android device they should purchase TMo and make it a dedicated MS phone and X-box stores.

posted on 29 Mar 2012, 21:22

4. speckledapple (Posts: 892; Member since: 29 Sep 2011)

Well it is a problem that when manufacturers start messing with the UI, delays delays delays. Microsoft can help that by imposing some strict changes that would allow only a certain amount of time after a release, etc. I can see them lightening up a bit but these producers shouldnt expect much as Microsoft does not want them to have too much control; which is a good thing if a consider how slow they are.

posted on 29 Mar 2012, 21:26 1

5. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)

I though that, every manufacturer want their experience to be unique, not just a generic experience, android skins exist to show the interest of manufacturers in certain areas, from usability to look and feel, WP feels the same everywhere witch in terms of manufacturers is not such a good idea because the same devices with different brand names are competing against each other. people want a reason to buy that windows phone device from the other, and feeling is a reason to let one device and pic another.

its why we see fans of HTC because they find sense has lots of features, or TW fans because it feels nice and fast, and motoblur fans because its got one or two tricks before.

skins also helps the OS grow, many introduced android features where skin exclusive before. when they felt vital they became part of the Stock OS. yeah skins cause trouble but help companies aim for a certain public, and help and OS grow faster and better

posted on 29 Mar 2012, 21:54

10. TROLL.ISAHA (banned) (Posts: 535; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)


posted on 29 Mar 2012, 21:57 1

11. smartphone (Posts: 160; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)

More customization is great but they should be careful not to make a mess of the simplicity of wp.
Better remove the restrictions of wp first becoz they are holding them back in developig countries.

posted on 29 Mar 2012, 22:17

12. rnk.khch (Posts: 86; Member since: 30 Jan 2012)

This is the second PhoneArena article with a positive tone for Microsoft/Nokia/Windows Phone. I don't know what happened that they changed their views overnight!!! (I hope I won't see any more negative/biased articles.)

posted on 29 Mar 2012, 22:21 5

13. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

The trouble is that just like with iOS, there just isn't a whole ton of room for customization. You'd have to fundamentally change the OS to allow for that.

Think about it: iOS is basically some rows of icons. Windows Phone is basically a bunch of widgets. Android is like an open pallet with the option to do both or neither. You could only get into true customization in the native apps. For Windows Phone or iOS, there's only so much messing with their UIs before they just aren't WP or iOS anymore.

posted on 29 Mar 2012, 23:28 2

18. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)

exactly! there is no point changing wp as it already has a growing identity and the part they wish to change acts as the central part of the whole os…

personally i think manufacturing customization is winding down-- even android looks nice enough now it doenst need manufacturers beautifying and funstionality

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 11:46

41. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

the good news is that there Is an active mod community that has made strides in changing and adding things. just like Android,if u know where to look u will find the answer.

xda is my friend. lol

posted on 31 Mar 2012, 01:17

52. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)

oh believe me when i had my focus it was filled to the brim with xda material-- what i really wish is that they would unify it a little more to make a more cydia-like experience… cause cydia and jailbreaking on ios is ssooooooooo much less complicated… at least when i had it last year

posted on 31 Mar 2012, 16:08

54. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

They did. There is a WP7 hacker's app store that u can install directly to your device. It works just like the regular app store. All your neat apps in 1 spot :)

posted on 29 Mar 2012, 23:03 3

16. rsiders (Posts: 915; Member since: 17 Nov 2011)

Like Android, eh? You mean new phones that still come shipped with Gingerbread 2.3? Yeah, we'll pass on that.

posted on 29 Mar 2012, 23:07 3

17. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

At least Gingerbread is a complete build of an operating system. Windows is still missing some features.

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 00:31 4

22. Jillsandwich (Posts: 62; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)

Too bad it's still so slow compared to WP7.

I hope manufacturers don't add a bunch of their s**t on WP7. If I have to see an ugly TW UI on a Focus or a bloated Sense on a Titan or whatever, I'll personally go to Samsung and punch everyone in their mobile division in the face.

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 00:50 1

24. frydaexiii (Posts: 1444; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)

How would you define slow? Gingerbread is pretty responsive and fast in launching apps on my SGS2. Just because you use Gingerbread on one weak budget Android and the experience was horrible, doesn't mean it's slow...

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 12:45

43. Pdubb (Posts: 248; Member since: 08 Aug 2011)

I think that is the conundrum for WP7. It may not be able to withstand a few phones that don't work well. They have to hit everything almost perfectly. One or two phones that people could point to or single out as not good could be a huge setback. Once there is a number of good devices and a standard has been set; then it may be time to allow a small amount of skinning by the OEM's.

posted on 31 Mar 2012, 19:35 1

55. shadez10 (Posts: 427; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)

thats why WP7 is great because they are well optimised to the hardware... unlike android they put the OS on budget devices and runs really bad and laggy...

look at the lumia 610 even its a budget device its runs smoothly as the higher end WP devices...

posted on 29 Mar 2012, 23:45 2

20. shadez10 (Posts: 427; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)


posted on 30 Mar 2012, 11:36 1

38. mrmooresince19xx (Posts: 12; Member since: 17 Nov 2011)

@shadez10 that and the option to tranfers music and other media without zune.. also usb storage support..

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 11:47 1

42. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

mod the phone. problem solved

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 00:14 1

21. jove39 (Posts: 1859; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)

For f**k sake...let WP be WP...if manufacturers want Android...then get yourself Android!

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 00:31 1

23. Gusto (Posts: 28; Member since: 20 Mar 2012)

I can understand why they want to do that. It is pretty obvious that if they continue to market a windows phone they will lose. Most will think why buy a phone from another brand if they can't offer anything different?
All of them will be pretty much the same(almost identical hardware), the same experience. So all will boils down to which manufacturer i prefer or the one with the lower price( if the price compensate the change to a brand that the person doesn't know).
In the end, the manufacturers will have to slim down their profit, or have no leverage to steal client from other brands.

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 08:13 2

35. rsiders (Posts: 915; Member since: 17 Nov 2011)

That's why they should make better use of their own personal hubs like the HTC Hub and Samsung Now. They can customize those experiences more with personal content. Also like Nokia, they need to develop exclusive apps in their separate market place areas that other phones will not have like Nokia Maps for example.

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 13:45

44. Gusto (Posts: 28; Member since: 20 Mar 2012)

HTC Hub is nice, but why i should go to a menu to access it?
Why not be able to get it when i turn my phone on, make it my home??
The users and manufactures should be able to make the home screen more pleasant to them. Maybe the possibility to change skins (alowing to change the disposition of the tiles, not only colors).
About separeted markets, do you understand that WP is not widespread?
It is only a good move if you have a good base, if not, a deep pocket to create exclusives to you brand.
Nokia did that because they bet everything on WP, but others are not willing to do that.
If MS want more manufacturers to join WP, they need to nake concessions, like google, or stay at only one,similar to Apple.

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 01:05 2

25. twens (Posts: 978; Member since: 25 Feb 2012)

User interface or skins from manufacturers are not the selling point of different android phones. The real competition is the hard ware differences.if WP manufacturers want to compete they should do that with hardware just like its done with android. I buy a Samsung android device because they mostly pack mind blowing hardware,aside from that the OS is always android on every other phone.no matter what skin is on it it's still an android and does everything the other android does.

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 11:41

39. mrmooresince19xx (Posts: 12; Member since: 17 Nov 2011)

@twens good point they should let manufacturers have their own option to use the hardware they see fit as long as it plays well with the os..

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 01:56 1

26. trollface (Posts: 10; Member since: 17 Jan 2012)


posted on 30 Mar 2012, 02:04 1

27. trollface (Posts: 10; Member since: 17 Jan 2012)

there is point in changing android because it looks crap but windows phone??? METRO is the core of windows now. MS don't give in please!

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 03:38 2

28. evolutionqy7 (Posts: 38; Member since: 27 May 2011)

Think they should concentrate on providing more exclusive apps and services that are useful rather than spending their time at whining that they cant make it look like sense or crapwizz.

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 05:11 1

30. Veigald (Posts: 290; Member since: 13 Jan 2012)

The Android fanboyism of this author is a bit annoying at times. I highly doubt any manufacturer has said they want WP8 to be more like Android. They have expressed that they want to be able to differentiate their WP phones, but that has absolutely nothing to do with Android.
What is great about WP is exactly that it is a radical re-think of the UI, not Symbian/IOS/Android/Bada/What have you-like icons on a picture background. The UI is also contributing to the incomparable fluidity of WP, and as soon as you allow manufacturers to start messing with the UI, WP might lose some its stronger selling points.
It's important that MS maintains control of WP, also as WP8 and Windows 8 will be closely linked into one eco-system, with a massive and possibly disruptive value proposition.

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 16:31

46. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Oh come now. I had a little fun with a more catchy title. If you actually read the article, I would say that I was very fair about why this wouldn't be such a good idea.

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 17:11

47. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

My title might have read "Manufacturers beg MS to implement fragmentation because they are lost without it" or something to that effect. lolz

michael, have mah baybai!!! lololol.

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 06:25

33. good2great (Posts: 1042; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)

They should just get HP to make their phones or just stick with Nokia only... Just like y'all are saying, u won't be able to tell the difference from a htc wp or a Sammy wp I agree 100%

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 08:11

34. Shubham412302 (Posts: 431; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)

Some changes in ui are really necesary

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 09:36

36. wendygarett (unregistered)

WP should be as simple as Facebook... Thats make consumer more confortable...

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 11:31

37. mrmooresince19xx (Posts: 12; Member since: 17 Nov 2011)

They should allow the option to have the pure windows os experience or have the manufacturers skin on top of it. Android should offer this as well. By doing this that increases the appeal of their phones and allows the users the option to choose between the two. Also, the stipulation should be if you use the skins that the updates would be limited to one or two major updates (depending on the hardware). While the pure experience would guarantee two to three updates in a timely fashion.. Can I dare to dream lbvs??

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 14:54

45. Jyakotu (Posts: 844; Member since: 12 Dec 2008)

The irony in this article is that a lot of Android users are asking for a "vanilla" experience when it comes to Android ICS. Manufacturers, like someone said earlier, need to learn to make different/exclusive apps for their phones in order to differentiate themselves. That's what Samsung, HTC, and Nokia have done, so I'm sure the other manufacturers can do the same. Also, manufacturers should look into making different form factors. I'd love for another Dell Venue Pro like WP device.

posted on 30 Mar 2012, 22:22

51. 7thspaceman (Posts: 1546; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)

One Major Problem Microsoft has is that they have not put big page adds in Newspapers and magazines that explain the Metro tile interface on their smart phones. some People do not like what they do not understand but once the Knowledge of how something works and how it is an advantage for them to use it is revealed to them they will respect and use that software tech to their advantage for instance I have been using the Windows 8 consumer preview on My desktop computer everyday with mouse and keyboard. I know the start Screen with it's Metro tiles is a screen the computer operator can set up to have their favorite Apps or programs or folders present for them to quickly access as soon as they see the Windows 8 start screen. this is a great idea I set up My Windows 8 start screen to my tastes to use the Computer the way I like it this is cool! Folks has Microsoft told you about this. I do not think so. When Windows 8 comes out a lot of people are going to get confused and hate the Metro tile start screen because they do not know how to set up the Metro tiles start screen to help them to use their Computer in a way that is an advantage for them. Microsoft had better have a free Video professor Disc computer disc or an on the computer video tutorial to show Windows 8 Computer owners how to use , create and rearrange metro tiles to make their Windows 8 computer experience great. Windows 8 is faster and better that Windows 7 but you must know how to use The Metro tile strat screen to your advantage then your up and running OK!

posted on 31 Mar 2012, 23:23

56. jack1059 (Posts: 72; Member since: 31 Mar 2012)

Digitimes produces sales numbers to back up their claim, and you dismiss it because 'you.....think......wp has been gaining'? So numbers don't matter, and its all hogwash because you think its fine. I shouldn't have to tell you the number of problems with this story.

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