Stephen Elop wants to avoid Android-like fragmentation with Windows Phone

Daniel Bader

January 19, 2012 1:03pm


Windows Phone cannot, and will not, go the way of Android, if Stephen Elop has anything to do with it. The vocal Nokia CEO made that very clear during an interview with Pocket-lint during CES last week where he said, “Our first priority, always, always, is to differentiate our experience from Android and iPhone. That is job one, two and three quite frankly.”

Android has shown itself vulnerable to allowing multiple versions of the operating, often more than two years old, to permeate the market. Even during CES, months after the introduction of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, companies were introducing Android devices loaded with 2.3 Gingerbread. As a result, app developers cannot take full advantage of many of the new APIs and design features built into ICS.

Elop said that once consumers are sufficiently educated on the benefits of an “alive” homescreen — not the rigid set of grid icons we are used to in iOS and Android — they will come around.

“People are most familiar with a grid of applications icons that don’t do anything. They aren’t used to things that are scrolling, that are alive, that are presenting information. So as we introduce them to that we are confident that we will see some good momentum.”

It’s easy to see why Elop is so up on Windows Phone. The platform received a huge boost after Nokia debuted the Lumia 900 at CES, and once the app situation is sorted out (which won’t be easy) it’s safe to say Nokia will be riding high as the top manufacturer of the third most popular platform. But Microsoft has also done some damage recently in changing the way it offers iterative updates to carriers; leaving the onus on the carrier to update your phone often leads to delays.

But Elop knows, and so does Microsoft, how damaging fragmentation can be: “We don’t want fragmentation being introduced into Windows Phone because we are beginning to see how in a certain other eco-system that fragmentation becomes a problem.”

As we near the launch of the Lumia 710 and Lumia 800 in Canada, let’s hope he’s right on both accounts: that Windows Phone can prevent fragmentation, and that it can pierce the market in a big way.

Source: Pocket-lint

  • kenypowa

    Unfortunately, WP7 has 1.3% market share in US in the most recent quarter. It seems consumers are just fine with Android “differentiation”.

    • Mark

      Unfortunately it’s not the consumers who are fine, it’s the carriers. They get large ranges of android phones with different skins and pricing and they push those before windows phones.

  • Rio

    Lol I love the android loyalty here.

    What he is doing is a huge step in the right direction and I hope they follow through with this.

    • Me Ted

      Lol! I love bs. What Elop is saying is purely defensive and a lie basically.

    • Rio

      Yes it is a lie, everything one that doesn’t talk positive about android are liars. Surprise!

  • XER

    With the way MSFT is charge 23 to 31 per phone compares to Google it is free, WP7 is not flying too high!

    • t

      MSFT charges $5-10 dollar per Android phone sold on royalities. WP7 will not fly at all.

  • Jay

    All I have to say to Elop is, it’s not possible. The android phones being released with Gingerbread are not top of the line phones. They aren’t capable of running the superior software services that Ice Cream Sandwich brings. It would be like putting Windows 7 on a Windows 98 machine, it’s not practical. Elop is in computer mode. When computers come out they always have the “latest features” to remain competitive in the marketplace. With cell phones it’s not so. Some people want flip phones, some want keyboard phones, some want good cameras while some don’t care. This is a pretty bold announcement, because by saying this basically what they’re saying is in order to streamline WP7 all Windows Phones will be the same and have the same features.

    • Jay

      In addition, I find that fragmentation is much better than down-right breaking apps. When I go to the Android marketplace it shows me the apps that are compatible with my phone. Going back to the “computer model”, if you take a good look at Windows 7 there are a lot of old, and still well used, software packages that flat out DON’T work with it (but will work with Vista/XP). Microsoft is far from experienced in avoiding “fragmentation”.

    • andy c

      “The android phones being released with Gingerbread are not top of the line phones. They aren’t capable of running the superior software services that Ice Cream Sandwich brings.”

      tell that to a SGS owner

  • howitzer

    I still can’t get why “fragmentation” is a problem ??

    Hey your the guy with the money, if that handset is released with a 2 years old OS version just don’t buy it if you care !?

    Your OS version is getting old ? Get the newest Cyanogenmod, MIUI ?

    And with the apps compatibility thing. 98.3% of android devices in use are on 2.1+ that means almost everybody have acces to almost every apps on the market !

  • Me Ted

    I guess when you’re not even big enough to be considered a bottom feeder, the term “fragmentation” gets thrown around a lot as a defense mechanism. For the record Mr. Elop, that was so 2010 and quite the red herring even then. I’d also suggest that you don’t confuse “fragmentation” for “choice” as well.

    Well done on the Microsoft takeover of Nokia btw. They didn’t even have to spend a dime. When will you be leaving Nokia to rejoin the boys at MS anyway?

    Sincerely,

    Another satisfied Android user on phone #2

  • andy c

    the app issue will sort itself out soon. Microsoft is throwing buckets of money at developers to create apps for WP7.

    it would be funny if they money came from licensing agreements with android handset makers….

  • ile2010

    Who cares how much MS charges the developer for the phone? I care about just how much I’ll be paying for the phone.

    Android is not fine, not by a long shot. It has such a large market share mainly due to lower-end devices. Even if you are an Android fan, you should be rooting for Nokia and MS to succeed, because Android itself will get much better with increasing competition.

  • El Gordo

    Android Widgets >>> WP7 Live Tiles

    • Stimulator

      Hey, has anybody made an Android widget that emulates WP7 live tiles? You could set your home screen to be a fake WP7!

  • David

    @Jay, what are you talking about? My laboratory has specialized software that was written to run on Windows 95/98 to operate fluorometric and colourimetric spectrophotometers. It’s a crappy piece of software (it would still force 8.3 filenames) but I was shocked to see it running just fine on Windows 7 without a single tweak. Microsoft is many things, but they accomplish a lot with backwards compatibility, given the range of software written for it, of which any other platforms, including Macs, can only dream.

    Sent from my MacBook Pro

  • shaggyskunk

    I kind of like WP but the phones running it suck for the most part.

  • shaggyskunk

    @stimulator, yup just Google it.

  • mark

    1.Download laucher 7 on your Android 2.2
    2. ?????
    3. Profit

  • Slype

    I think he is really talkinga bout WinCE. How does Microsoft deal with fragmentation? They simply drop the platform as a whole and forget it ever happenend.

    Xbox 1 and WinCE are the two most recent platforms I can think of where they said “forget compatiblity”, back to the drawing board. Every phone suffers from fragmentation… I want to run Infinity blade II on my iPhone 3G, oh why can’t I? Yes, Android has it too. So stop talking, and release a phone that can compete with the big boys.

    Here is the new definition for Fragmentation.
    ——–
    a word used as a shield by those who used to be strong but are now irrelevant as result of their own inaction.

  • softwareden

    Don’t assume that everyone knows about software updates.
    Not everyone is tech-savvy and needs/know that their phone can be updated.

    Firmware updates are still relatively new to electronics.

  • garyc

    This fragmentation issue is a red herring pushed by Microsoft and Nokia.

    This year, nokia will be releasing Dual Core phones, mabye medfield, maybe tegra, then windows phone 8 is coming out, is elop seriously gonna tell me the experience and app compatibility is going to be the same for EVERY handset across every hardware iteration and softawre revision ??, and is EVERY app gonna be compatible with EVERY revision ?? no its NOT, already some devs have had to recompile to make their software work on 7.5.

    Fragmentation is INEVITABLE, but afaik if you use Android SDK 2.0 it is compatible with >90% of Androids out there.

    Look at how many iterations of windows there are, 3.1, 95, 98, 98se, me, 2000, xp, vista, 7. Mobile is the same only on a much accelerated time scale.

    Lets all Flop with Elop.

  • Big Ang

    I agree with softwareden. A friend of mine had an Android phone for less than a year, Rogers sent him an email saying he had to upgrade or Rogers will prevent him from using his phone for anything except phone calls.. He somehow found that very difficult to do, and was left with a brick running Android.

    He now has an iPhone and loves it.

    Sure, he’a bit of a ludite, but Rogers left him high and dry (but was more than happy to sell him another phone).

    Relying on the carriers to send out updates is like the kiss of death. Another friend had a BB Bold 9000. Somehow every other carrier on the planet eventually got OS 5.0, while Roger’s clients were waiting and waiting for some unknown reason. Then, when the Bold 9700 received the update for 6.0, all of the sudden the Bold 9000 got the upgrade to 5.0. Sounds like Rogers wanted all their 9000 clients to buy a new phone in order to upgrade to the latest OS.

    Microsoft (or Nokia at least) need to be a little forceful when dealing with the carriers, insisting that their customers get the upgrade when it’s available.

    • m1ndtr1p

      “A friend of mine had an Android phone for less than a year, Rogers sent him an email saying he had to upgrade or Rogers will prevent him from using his phone for anything except phone calls.. He somehow found that very difficult to do, and was left with a brick running Android.”

      Wrong, he could do everything with his phone except access Rogers’ data network until he did the update on his phone… And this was for a good reason, because the phone didn’t have access to 911/e911 service (which is mandatory unless you sign a waiver).

      And all your friend had to do was sign a waiver in order to have his data restored if he didn’t want to update, by either calling in or filling out the waiver form on Rogers’ website (which was all in the contents of the text he received about the update). But instead, he chose to ignore it, that’s HIS fault, not Rogers’ or Android’s.

  • Jesse

    Anyone who denies that Android has a fragmentation problem should step out from their little world of theirs and look at reality.

    The regular, everyday consumer isn’t going to go and root their phone and flash a ROM on it. Honestly, that’s unnecessary. People shouldn’t have to root and flash their phone to get new updates for a phone that is maybe 2-3 months old. Android is going to go downhill if they don’t get their stuff together because people are paying pretty top dollar for these “premium” handsets with loads of hardware that have potential to be supported for at least 2 years.

    ROM flashing should’ve been something to demonstrate what can be run on the hardware and should’ve died there. Carriers are to blame too, but why it took forever for Gingerbread to get onto the Desire due to hardware issues when it’s twin brother, the Nexus One got Gingerbread on day one without any hassle.

    The first-gen Windows Phones are guaranteed to run WP8 later this year. If that isn’t dedication towards the platform and consumers then I don’t know what is. The next step for WP is to have a lineup of drastically different phones and not just built on the same Android chassis, but that’s really up to the OEM and the OEMs aren’t really trying that hard aside from Nokia.

    • m1ndtr1p

      No one denies that Android has some fragmentation, but those who actually understand it don’t think it’s a problem… Fragmentation isn’t necessarily a bad thing, those who think it is are the ones using it against Android every chance they get because they have nothing else to use against Android.

      You’re right, the regular, everyday consumer isn’t going to root their phone or flash custom ROMs, but more than that, they don’t even know about official firmware updates in general, period…

  • Stuntman

    Can someone please, explain to me what live tiles can do that widgets cannot?

    • m1ndtr1p

      There is nothing that live tiles can do which widgets cannot, but widgets can do many things that live tiles cannot.

  • J

    Live tiles are like Widgets that are gateways to your application. They are typically more focused on animating and presenting core information, but also allowing you to go right into the application. A live tile “IS” your application icon and vice versa.

    Not saying what is better or worse (Don’t want to be an ignorant fanboy now), just the difference. If you use an Android phone a lot and then use a Windows Phone a lot without being cynical and biased it’s a bit easier to tell the difference. Same core idea different implementation, which is better is purely subjective.

    • Stuntman

      Thanks for your explanation. I have been unable to find a working Windows Phone ever since its release over a year agot to try it out first hand myself. Based on your explanation, the only difference it seems between a live tile and widget is that a live tile is more animated. Looking at the widgets on my phone, I do have a widget that can change and update information on the fly. It may not be as flashy as some live tiles I have seen in videos, but I cannot see why you can’t also design a widget that can. Perhaps an Android developer can talk about what a widget can do.

      In all, it just sounds like some marketing spin Elop is putting on regarding live tiles. I still do not see a big difference. All I see is that Elop wants to make live tiles look superior with his quote in this article.

      I’m still awaiting for some phone store provide a working model of a Windows Phone device, so I can try it out first hand for myself.

  • Ribbys

    Live tiles are just icons that update slightly, similar to the Calendar icon on iOS.

    Widgets are far superior as they can do anything, and that is what the Android homescreen allows.

  • Trey

    Ribbys, you are wrong. Live tiles are essentially hybrids between icons and widgets.
    And btw what the hell does ‘update slightly’ mean? Is that like getting ‘slightly pregnant’?

  • A$$ Titties

    Elop has an attitude problem. Consumers want choice in handsets; it is the responsibility of OS developers to make an OS that runs on the greatest variety of devices. Android answers this need, though it needs to continuously improve. Elop will not dictate the devices consumers will buy. I am shocked at his failure to understand that the consumer is king, and he must respond to the consumer’s needs, not the other way around.

  • Mark

    obviously elop’s job and reputation is on the line… good luck nokia… i hope that you dont follow the fate of kodak…

    sent from my google nexus one

  • freestaterocker

    Seriously? Dusting off an article from August of last year? What are you gonna do to compensate next? Buy a Porsche? Perhaps start wearing skinny jeans to make it look bigger? More than 90% of WP devices are running mango last time I checked, and that was over a month ago. Including my 1st Gen HD7 that has IDENTICAL HARDWARE SPEC TO THE ORIGINAL GALAXY. Also, efficiently coded software doesn’t need gobs of power to keep it running. Actually try a WP7 before you cry “outdated hardware!” My HD7 smokes alot of the “hot” new Androids out there, and it runs even faster since I got mango.

  • m1ndtr1p

    @freestaterocker

    “More than 90% of WP devices are running mango last time I checked”

    Exactly, that’s not 100%, so it seems that WP7 already has just as much fragmentation as Android considering 91.4% of Android phones is running Froyo or later versions of Android.

    And I did try a WP7 phone, the Samsung Focus, and it doesn’t even begin to compare to Android’s features, usability, hardware, openness, customizability, quality of apps, number of apps and so on… I could go on, but I think you get the point.

    There’s a reason why WP7 only has 1% of the smartphone market over a year after it was released, because no one wants to use or pay full price for a subpar product.