Offtopic: empire of tiles, version ten

Does the mobile version Windows 10 have a bright future or is the takeover of the mobile world postponed once again? About launching iOS and Android apps on Windows Phone, 'unified user experience' and missed chance.



First of all, I want to remind you that initially this section was conceived as a series of notes about things and events that concern Android only indirectly. On the one hand, it seems to be really offtopic. On the other hand, considering Android solely on its own, without noticing other mobile operating systems, is also completely wrong. Moreover, in the world of mobile devices, everything is interconnected, developers of different operating systems closely monitor the successes and failures of competitors and learn from other people's mistakes, and users constantly compare these systems with each other.

You don't have to go far for an example – in almost every major article on AMR, there will certainly be someone who will again reduce everything to a comparison with a mobile OS Microsoft. This dispute continues from article to article, with arguments repeated word for word. But since the disputants fail to come to a common opinion, the next day everything starts all over again.

About popularity and sales

If you notice that you are on the side of the majority, this is a sure sign that it's time to change.

Mark Twain

Smartphones based on the mobile version Windows have shown extremely low sales for several years. Opponents of WP see this as proof of the poor quality of the OS. Supporters of smartphones on OS from Microsoft are proof of the stupidity of the bulk of buyers who do not want to change their habits and will use smartphones on 'obsolete' OS to the last.


In fact, sales by themselves do not say anything about product quality. For example, it can be a very high-quality, but niche device that will initially only interest specialists in this profile. Or, despite all its advantages, it may simply be overvalued and not find buyers solely because of the exorbitant price. Do not be surprised that Vertu will always sell worse than 'dialers' for a thousand rubles, and a rare recording of a concert of classical music will never achieve even a hundredth of the popularity of Philip Kirkorov's songs.

But bad sales prove one thing for sure – the low popularity of the product among ordinary buyers. One can argue about the reasons for a long time, but the fact remains – they need something else. It is not so important whether we are really in front of us an ingenious invention ahead of its time, which no one was able to appreciate, or a useless invention of a narcissistic dropout engineer – the result is the same, this idea did not find a response from buyers, and no further sales in the near future to it it does not shine.

Working on bugs

Time is the best teacher, unfortunately killing its students

Mark Twain

This or that idea may really 'not go', this happens with absolutely all manufacturers. And if for tiny firms this can really become a serious problem that is quite capable of leading them to complete collapse, then for first-tier manufacturers everything is different. This is a normal working moment for them. None of them would even think to pull out their hair and sprinkle ashes on their heads, instead they will calmly try to understand what and where went wrong, so that next time they would not step on the same rake. Perhaps they will revise the concept of the device, try to position it differently, reduce the price, or even postpone the implementation of the idea until some technologies appear.

What does Microsoft do in this situation? Nothing. Instead of making adjustments to the original plan, the firm-faced company continues to do the same as before the previous failure. Are users unhappy? Their problems.

Some fans of the brand even have a special theory according to which the mobile division Microsoft is not interested in profit at all. Say, he has his own, special mission in this world, and the company is not at all interested in all sorts of base things like money. Let all sorts of Samsung and Apple think about how to make a couple of extra millions on gullible customers, and Microsoft is above all this.

As you might guess, I was not present at the MS board of directors, and I do not know for certain what the company's views on the mobile division are. But still, let me say that making a profit is the main task of any commercial organization. And when top managers decide to do charity work, they establish a separate charitable foundation for this (like, for example, Bill Gates), but not a new division in their company. Rather, another question arises here – how much should the manufacturer of the device generally listen to the opinions of users? And is it obliged to immediately wind down promising projects after the first “fi” by a semi-literate locksmith from a distant village?

The right to decide

It is really difficult to create a product based on focus groups. More often than not, people do not understand what they really need until you show it to them yourself.

Steve Jobs

The answer to this question is not at all as obvious as it might seem at first glance. On the one hand, a professional is a professional in order to be able to competently do his job without 'ingenious' advice from amateurs. In addition, even if you ask users in advance what exactly they want to get in the new OS, the answer will always be the same – we want everything the same as it was, only a little bit better. It is naive to expect that the buyer himself will be able to develop an innovative interface that will be more convenient than all existing solutions on the market.

Do not forget that people generally do not like to change their habits and are extremely skeptical about everything new. The same smartphones and communicators have long been considered a 'toy for schoolchildren and geeks', Android -' OS for those who like to poke around in their phone for days', and any device with a screen larger than 3.5 inches is' just indecent shovel ', which is ashamed to show people. But after just a couple of years, all this has become a kind of standard that suits the vast majority of users.

Devil's advocates

He [Bill Gates] is a businessman. Winning the market was more important than making great products. As a result, Bill became the richest man in the world, and if that was his goal, he achieved it.

Steve Jobs

But this is only one side of the coin. When starting to talk about innovations and bad habits, you should always remember that any company develops devices not for itself, but for other people. The device must be convenient for end users, otherwise it initially makes no sense. A musician can consider himself an unrecognized genius as much as he wants, but if there is not a single person in the world who would like his playing, he is a bad musician. For playing for oneself is not a profession, no matter how much time, effort and money he invests in this occupation.

The device manufacturer can only act here as a lawyer trying to convince the jury that his idea has a right to life. But he cannot decide for them or explicitly impose his decision on them. Yes, you can try to cheat the jury by skillfully manipulating the facts and presenting an unnecessary 'chip' as the innovation of the century. Or banal to bribe, scattering promises of a bright future and bonuses from pre-orders. You can even try to intimidate by telling scary stories about the poor quality of competitors' products and the bloodthirsty NSA bloodhounds. But after the verdict is nevertheless passed, it will no longer be possible to ignore it. The maximum that can be done in this situation is to file an appeal once or twice, trying to start from scratch. Users can live well without any manufacturer on the market. But he is not without them. And if this or that company starts to bury itself, then the sales that have risen will very quickly remind it who exactly calls the tune here.

Conflict of interests

Nothing needs fixing like someone else's habits.

Mark Twain

As an example, consider the development of the desktop version Windows. Several years ago, the company released a new version of the OS called Windows 8. It differed from the usual Windows 7 with a completely redesigned interface, which, according to Microsoft, should have become a new milestone in the development of 'desktop' operating systems.

We saw some innovations in each version Windows. Sometimes they were successful, sometimes not very good. Some moments remained practically in the form in which they first appeared in the OS, while others changed and improved over time. What really matters is that the user is not often forced to use something new. Having tried this or that innovation, he almost always could choose whether to use it further or return everything as it was. If desired, the same Windows 7 can be made very similar to Windows 98 – switch to the classic 'Start' menu, select the usual window design, disable categories in the control panel, move the 'My Documents' folder to the root of the C drive, disable UAC, and so on. All this is described in the most accessible form on the site itself Microsoft, no one ever made any secret of this. The user had every right to work as it suits him, no one tried to impose spherical innovations in a vacuum. After all, he already bought a new version of the OS, so why complicate his life? Let him work as he sees fit, this is his sacred right.


With Windows 8, things initially went a little wrong. The company had a very specific goal – to provide the same 'unified user experience' that would push owners of computers based on Windows to switch to smartphones and tablets with the same OS. This is really a very interesting and beautiful idea, the only problem is that its implementation at that time was already very lame. It was a false start – but the company could not postpone the launch of the OS for several more years, or simply did not want to.


Naturally, just releasing a 'tiled' OS was not enough for this, it was necessary to make sure that users really use this interface. Otherwise, there could be no question of any 'unified experience'. In this case, the convenience of the end user was of no interest to anyone – the company was fighting for the future of its OS and did not greatly embarrass itself in means. With the words “this is all for your own good,” she dragged her users into a bright future by the collar.

As you might guess, the majority of users did not appreciate such touching concern for their own convenience. The app store Windows was littered with all sorts of replacements for the missing Start button, and the forums were full of stories about how to turn off the tiled screen and turn Windows 8 into a normal 7.

For a while, the company tried to talk users' teeth and buy them with an 'almost real' Start button at Windows 8. But when it became clear that there was no way to get away with cheap tricks, MS honestly sat down for a total redesign of the interface, completely rethinking the use of 'tiles' on desktops. And to emphasize the gap between Windows 8 and the new OS version, we even decided to jump over one serial number.

One of the early assemblies Windows 10 has been on my computer for quite some time. At first, I put it just 'to see', but literally a couple of days later I began to use it as the main OS. Despite minor flaws, quite forgivable for a non-commercial assembly, it is quite comfortable to work in it. The question of whether to switch to Windows 10 is simply not worth it for me – in fact, I have already switched to it. And I am more than confident that the sales of the desktop Windows 10 will be great – this is a really successful and thoughtful product. Unlike Windows 8, it was created not for the sake of capturing the mobile world, but for the convenience of users.

The most complete forward!

I am convinced that half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from losers is persistence.

Steve Jobs

If in the case of the desktop version Windows the company listened to the opinion of buyers and released a version that suits everyone, then with the mobile OS everything is different. I do not know what exactly this is connected with, perhaps for some of the top managers the success of the 'tiles' is a matter of principle, perhaps the company simply has nothing to offer in return. But, one way or another, we do not intend to give up in Microsoft. With perseverance worthy of a better application, they continue to promote the same 'tiled' idea, which users have long expressed very definitely about.

The 'tiled' version of the interface has not and will not become popular with a wide range of buyers – this is already clear to everyone. Judging by the available information (both official and not) about the mobile Windows 10, the 'tiles' will change slightly, but not too noticeably.

Below is a video that demonstrates a 'tiled' interface for compact tablets. It looks good, but it is clearly not a breakout. And given the current state of affairs, it is precisely a breakthrough that is needed here; the company clearly cannot get off with only cosmetic changes.

[iframe url = '//' width = '640 ″ height =' 360 ″ scrolling = 'no' frameborder = '0 ″ marginheight =' 0 ']

On the other hand, if the mobile version Windows really had some significant and important advantages for people, they could put up with 'tiles'. From a technical point of view, the same iPhone also has a whole bunch of disadvantages, some of which are simply inexplicable, but this does not prevent it from being popular.

In the company itself, the main advantage of its OS is called the same 'unified user experience', which will be provided to the buyer both on a computer and on a smartphone and tablet. Let's try to figure out what this means.

Unity is our strength

Noise proves nothing. A hen that has laid an egg often fusses as if it has demolished a small planet.

Mark Twain

First of all, we are talking about the interface itself, to which you do not need to get used to it again, having switched to a new device for yourself. In theory. But, firstly, tiles, as we have already said, to put it mildly, are not the type of workspace organization that is popular with users. And secondly, MS was late with these plans for many years. The interface iOS or Android, to which the owners of mobile devices are accustomed, but not the design Windows Phone, can be considered familiar now. WP has a very small market share, new users of these devices will switch to them from some other OS, where everything works there according to different rules.

The second point is the applications in which the user works. Sometimes it is not easy to find an analogue for your favorite computer program on your phone, to understand how and what works there – even more so. And you can often only dream of normal compatibility. Even an excel table with complex formatting can be problematic to open on a smartphone, and now there is no question of starting video editing on a computer and continuing on a tablet.


I don’t know if Microsoft would have actually achieved something like this or not. And it is not a fact that such an opportunity would be of interest to many users. A tablet, unlike a laptop, is a tool for consumption, not content creation. You can argue as long as you like that this is wrong, but in fact it is so. However, now it is no longer important in any case – judging by the latest news, it was not possible to convert MS application developers into their faith. This means that all these dreams of a mobile empire will remain dreams.

For those who did not follow the news, let me remind you that in Microsoft they announced the possibility of launching applications from Android and iOS on their smartphones. That is, in fact, they confirmed that the assortment of their own store is not enough for users.

Everyone had been expecting something like this from the company for a long time, so this news was not a big surprise. We even discussed this possibility a couple of weeks ago in one of the News Digest issues. What really surprised me was the reaction of the OS fans who considered this decision a good sign. Although not long ago they loudly assured everyone and everything that a) they already have everything they need, b) they don't need dumps of all these buggy programs with an incomprehensible interface from other OS.

At the same time, if someone decided that the application can simply be downloaded from Google Play and run on Windows smartphone, then he is mistaken. The developer of the program should take care of compatibility, it does not depend on the user.

It seems obvious to me that applications ported in this way will not perform better or faster than on their 'native' platform. And they will most likely have their own interface logic. As a result, what is the point of buying a smartphone on Windows becomes even less clear.

Link to news

However, Microsoft are not going to abandon the original idea. It's just that now the company will approach it from a slightly different angle. So, the other day, a special Continuum mode was announced, which should be another step in this direction. The smartphone can be connected to an external monitor and mouse with keyboard and continue to work with open applications on the big screen. The telephone interface then automatically adapts to the high-resolution monitor.


Link to news

Sounds great in words. In practice, many attempts have been made to implement such an undertaking, but this has not led to anything good. For the same Android it is not difficult to do it technically, you just need a special docking station and the corresponding application. From time to time, such games are played by well-known manufacturers (for example, Motorola) and many startups. An example is the Andromium project.


Link to news

I have always liked this idea very much, but I repeat, such things have not yet been particularly popular. This is more of a nice bonus than a 'killer feature' that can generate sales. In addition, the function will not be present on all smartphones with Windows 10, it may well be that only flagships will receive it. In this case, it turns out to be more of a feature of a particular device than of the OS itself.

alternative history

The only problem with Microsoft is they have no taste. Absolutely. I mean, not in small things, but in big things. They don't have their own ideas, their products don't have culture.

Steve Jobs

In the gaming industry there is such a sign – if this or that game positions itself as a “killer of such and such a hit”, then nothing good should be expected from it. Everything will be secondary, not very thoughtful and not too interesting.

Despite all these 'tiles' and tales of 'one user experience', MS's goal is very simple – to squeeze some market share from iOS and Android by releasing roughly the same. only in a different wrapper. Moreover, the wrapper is very peculiar.

It would seem that since the plans for a lightning-fast takeover of the world have still not been crowned with success, what prevents you from stopping and looking around? There are a lot of interesting, but undeservedly forgotten ideas in the world that no one from other companies wants to take on.

For example, push-button monoblocks or clamshell smartphones. Convenient QWERTY sliders. In the end, just functional and convenient 'dialers' that would live on charge for at least a week. I'm not nearly a fan of WP, but I could buy a clamshell smartphone. Moreover, it may well be that the same 'tiles' will be much more convenient there Android, which is not particularly designed for such a form factor.


But no, the very thought of something like that is considered sacrilege. Either the company is aiming to create a 'killer iPhone', or not worth talking about. And there are all sorts of 'dialers' – it's just a shame. The only thing that can be produced is monotonous bricks that cannot live on a single charge for 2-3 days. Everything else is undignified.

Why it is customary to think so, I have no idea. But one thing is for sure – you can forget about the abundance of form factors, unusual design in the style of the old Nokia and original ideas. On this issue, all manufacturers are in complete solidarity with each other.


A stranger among his own

Everyone's secret motto: It's better to be popular than to be right.

Mark Twain

If you have ever read comments on smartphone reviews or news about mobile OS, you may have noticed that many commentators take a very simple view of the situation. If sales are big, the device is good. If the sales are modest, the device is of poor quality, morally outdated and completely worthless.

In other words, if you have chosen not the most popular device for yourself, you are simply stupid, and the only way to somehow defend your honor is to immediately convince everyone that the company you have chosen will soon conquer the whole world. Otherwise, you seem to sign your own incompetence.

This point of view is not only very naive, but also downright harmful. There is no right or wrong choice. There are good and bad choices for you personally. And trying to understand which is better, Malevich's Black Square or Morning in a Pine Forest, relying on the sale of reproductions, is an absolutely dubious occupation.

For some, tablets on Windows are an ideal option that allows you to abandon a laptop. For some, the 'tiled' interface is pleasant and convenient. Someone crazy about Lumia's design. The choice of each person is his own business, and if someone has found a convenient smartphone for themselves, then one can only be glad for it. And what sales he has at the same time does not play any role at all.

Another thing is when the owner of some interesting, but clearly niche device for some reason begins to try to convince everyone and everything of its enormous popularity. Or, even worse, he tries to invent beautiful fairy tales on the theme that everything will be just fine, you just need to be patient. And he invents from year to year, as if not noticing that during all this time, in fact, nothing has changed. If you want to help someone with a choice, tell us about your use case, describe the real pros and cons of the OS. But do not try to do the work of marketers of this or that company, passing off wishful thinking – this will not change the current state of affairs, and it will not help you, your interlocutor, or the manufacturing company itself.

Instead of an afterword

Once in a lifetime, Fortune knocks on the door of every person, but at this time a person often sits in the nearest pub and does not hear any knocking.

Mark Twain

I tried to explain why, in my opinion, devices on Windows in their current form will never become mainstream. But at the same time, in no case am I going to say that Windows does not suit anyone or is inconvenient for everyone – of course, it is not. Freedom of choice is a great thing, and competition will benefit everyone. Another thing is that from Microsoft I would like to see not just another attempt to revive a half-dead idea, but something much more. The company has the strength, the time, and the necessary resources for this. But there is a feeling that the main forces are going to fight the “enemies” in their own departments, each of which is trying to pull the blanket over itself. As a result, the efficiency is approximately the same as that of the Swan, Cancer and Pike. It seems that everyone is doing something honestly, but the cart has stood still for a year. And this is really offensive.

I would like to believe that the company has saved all the most interesting things until the official announcement of the first smartphones on Windows 10, but the chances of this are slim. Although MS still has time, the announcement of the mobile version Windows will take place only in the fall.

Link to news

Several years ago, the company had a real chance to change the world. Prove that Windows Phone sounds as proud as iPhone or the flagship at Android. Make the lazy gods of the local Olympus seriously start worrying about their place and hastily restore their former form. But after all these years, you have to start almost from the beginning – with rethinking the idea of ​​'tiles' in a desktop OS and timid attempts to somehow attract developers of applications for a mobile OS. But the reputation of the company is not the same, and the train is long gone.


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