For years I have watched Microsoft complacently sit back and let their foothold on the mobile market slip away. Mobile innovation from Microsoft has been conspicuously absent for the past 5 years. If it were not for the rugged space I suspect Windows Mobile would have already gone the way of Palm – a slow agonizing death. And even the rugged mobile space is asking the question “When will you support Android?”

Windows 8 is Microsoft’s last chance to resurrect Microsoft as a long-term viable mobile player enabling Microsoft to recapture marketshare.

Potential Windows Phone 8 Impacts on Business

1.Built-in Development Community, Tools and Resources

Microsoft has a built-in community to develop and deploy applications. Microsoft has the resources and community to promote and encourage development of applications. The tight integration of Windows 8 and Windows 8 Phone will be an attractive choice for CIOs and IT Managers who are looking to fully integrate mobile devices and internal systems.

2.Unique UI 

Windows 8 Phone provides a very unique and functional user interface.  Unlike Android where each manufacturer’s implementation is so varied you wonder if you have the same OS installed.

Microsoft wisely signed licensing agreements with Apple for some of the mobile technologies in their development of WP8. This offers some protection to the device manufacturers. I’m sure manufacturers will consider this as they watch the Samsung vs. Apple court battles continue.

3.Opportunity to Earn a Piece of the Rugged Market

I know that many rugged mobile device users are clamoring for a better device experience. They are tired of wrestling with a needle-sized stylus to enter data and an OS that hasn’t been significantly updated for 5 years. Many are even reconsidering the rugged versus consumer grade ROI argument in light of providing a more fluid way of collecting and recording information in the field. I have also noticed a culture characteristic that has underlined some purchasing decisions. This may seem petty but a reality, many rugged mobile device users I’ve talked to want the iOS experience but they see the iPhone as a “preppy, costly, elite user” mobile device. They see the Android as a blue collar, affordable mobile device option that could play very nicely for Windows Phone 8 adoption.

4.Built-in Printing

This could be the Trojan Horse for Windows 8 Phone business and field service adoption. Printing in the field from an iPhone or Android is a three-ring circus. The hoops you have to jump through to print in the field is largely dependent upon third party intermediaries or full connection to a wireless network.  If Windows 8 Phone provides direct printing this will serve as a dark horse feature that will help the adoption especially in the service sector.

5.Tablet Form Factor

Can you say Coup de Tat? The Surface, scheduled for release Oct. 26th, could be the device that accelerates Microsoft’s recapture of lost ground in the mobile space. Many people want the larger form factor provided by a tablet device. I’ve especially noted this in the field service industries where they want a mobile device that accommodates fat, grubby, man-sized fingers and a full set of mobile functionality.  Add the dual functionality of switching between Windows 8 and traditional Windows mode and Microsoft has provided nice transitional step for many potential users. This coupled with the promise of easier mobile printing could kick the door wide open for Windows 8.

The field is ripe for Microsoft to recapture its place as major mobility contender. Question is will Windows 8 have enough punch to excite mobile users and resurrect the sleeping giant?

Jody Sedrick
Follow me on Twitter: @jodysedrick and @zenewareinc
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Zenware is a Boise Idaho based company that specializes In custom mobile software development, custom iOS development, custom Android development, ipad software development, iphone software development, custom web development, web hosting and Saas based work order management software.