“Windows will be on top”

Android may be making waves for now, but experts believe its popularity will die out soon

What do you think about the future of Windows-based platform for mobile devices in the fast growing Indian market?

As per IDC’s projections for India, the market for Windows-based phones (OS 7 & 8) will definitely grow and will be primarily among the top platforms in the mobile space in next three years or so and from which Nokia will benefit immensely. Nokia wants to shut down Symbian and focus more on its core strength with updated hardware devices. It wants to ramp up its app store simultaneously. Windows-based OS is more consumer-oriented, in sync with the market and Microsoft has much more to gain considering the market share it holds in the PC category. It is just a question of replicating the same level of competence and consumer engagement on a portable communication device.

Nokia did not latch on to Android. Instead, it tied up with Microsoft for its WP 7 & 8 OS. Wasn’t this too late a move on Nokia’s part?

Yes, with reservations I can say that Nokia is a bit late. Late movers seldom succeed in a market like India. Look at Apple. Despite its terrific positioning, and targetting the premium segment, the volumes that Apple is recording is not healthier than those of HTC or Samsung or even Blackberry. So to grow with the WP OS, Nokia faces an uphill task. At the same time however, I would add that Nokia’s choice of WP OS over Android may not be wrong altogether.

And why so?

I don’t think Android can be considered a better OS platform from a multiple-device usage perspective. Today’s environment is about catering to enterprise customers as well. The independence of OEMs to use the Android OS platform may be curbed in future given Google’s acquisition of Motorola. This is a big warning for the likes of Samsung and HTC, who would have to start looking out for alternatives to find the right OS partners or develop their mobile platforms in-house. Given that Windows OS the only other alternative for smartphones at present, you might find handset makers going back to Windows in some years from now. For example, a couple of years back, HTC announced that 60% of its devices over the next few years would be available on Android. By end-2014, the situation might change and HTC might be forced to return to the initially trusted Windows platform. My guess – by 2015, Windows will be at par with Android in terms of OS sales in the mobility space.

How do you forsee the app market growing over the next few years in India?

There would be many local apps mushrooming in the near future. By local, I mean those that cater to regional languages and are relevant regionally. Games, productivity apps, content construction and many more… developers and mobile users in India will have an engaging time over the next few years.