back to article Microsoft's in-store Android looks desperate but can Google stop it?

To survive in an increasingly mobile-first world, Microsoft needs the kind of regulatory intervention it fought so hard to avoid in the 1990s and 2000s. Only this time, imposed on the dominant mobile OS, Google's Android. Microsoft imposed an iron look and feel on Windows, preventing PC builders from customising and branding …

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It's dead, Jim

Its own platform is still around: but notably in Windows 10 briefings for journalists this week, the Creators Update mobile edition due wasn't mentioned – nor was Continuum.

Can Windows Mobile 7/Windows Phone 8/Windows 10 Mobile be used as a case study in universities to show how to piss away the best part of a decade and billions of dollars and have absolutely nothing to show for it?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's dead, Jim

Yeah it should. As an owner of Lumia 640 myself, I'm reconciling myself to doing the unthinkable when it dies; Yes cross over to the dark side and get an iPhone! (not a new one, a 2 generation old hand-me down will suffice and and least someone else will have paid Apple's margin tax). Why not Android then? In a word, security! Ever since I read about dodgy Chinese manufactures loading spyware into the firmware of new phones, my confidence in this Linux distro has declined, and continued to do so with every security issue I have read about since. So damn, an iPhone it will proably be. Which is a pity because I actually like Windows Phone and the Lumia hardware has been solid.

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Re: It's dead, Jim

@AC I still have a Lumia 950 at home, running Creator's Update, but for every day, I switched to a Nexus 5X last autumn. I don't particularly like it and it is a bit sluggish, compred to the Lumia, but the two apps I used most (WhatsApp and FitBit) were unreliable under Windows 10.

WhatsApp would sometimes go a couple of days, before noticing that there were a dozen messages waiting to be read. FitBit would complain at least once a day, that the connection had been lost and to restart the phone! In fact, it was quicker to deinstall and reinstall FitBit. The problem seems to have had nothing to do with the phone or the connection, but poor programming on FitBit's side of the fence.

I still miss the Lumia, the UI is better than Android and much better than iOS, but the apps just aren't there, or they aren't reliable. Windows Phone seems to be Microsoft's V2000 to Apple's Betamax and Google's VHS...

I would class WP as the best of a bad bunch, for mobile operating systems, but you just can't deny Android's popularity - heck, iPhone is now sinking to the martket share levels that Windows Phone enjoyed at its height!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's dead, Jim

"Why not Android then? In a word, security!"

UnaOS is reported to be released in April https://unaos.com/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's dead, Jim

If you want security, iPhone is a bad choice. The people who break into devices professionally reported a 100% success rate against IOS devices (Apple IOS, not Cisco IOS).

When you add in the fact that it is pre-compromised with respect to privacy by Apple, and way overpriced, with lock-in a design criterion, it's not a good choice for almost anything.

There are various mitigation strategies that can be employed, such as having an Android phone that is turned off most of the time and with very very few apps with almost no privileges, and carefully segregated from any personally identifiable accounts, and a carefully chosen feature phone for phone calls and texts. Never, ever use the gmail address the app store knows your phone by for any other purpose than accessing the app store.

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Facepalm

Re: It's dead, Jim

I just had to come back to this article to check the date.

Nope, I'd not been taken in.

Let me get this straight. Microsoft really has been reduced to trying to persuade salesdroids, at the point of sale of a top end shiny, to right there and blow out its brains with their own crapware, before the "customer" has even left the store, and right in front of them? And if they have a problem later on with it and pop back into carphonewhorehouse or whatever they'll be happy the salesdroid won't just blame Samsung/Google/O2 ?

About that date - perhaps I shouldda gone to Spec Savers?

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Re: It's dead, Jim

Quote:-

iPhone is now sinking to the martket share levels that Windows Phone enjoyed at its height!

And in other news, Apple has ordered 70Million OLED screens from Samsung.

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/apple-places-order-for-70-million-oled-iphone-panels-from-samsung.2040058/page-3

{and plenty of other sources}

If 70 million sales (for this year) is sinking to Windows Phone levels then WinPhone was once a best seller.

Apple will sell more top end phones than Samsung. I can't see how that is sinking to WinPhone levels of popularity.

Remember that Apple tells the SEC and the world every 3 months how many phones they have sold. Not shipped, sold.

There is a lot to hate about Apple but even the most rabid Apple hater must grudgingly admit that they make shed loads of money from their really inferior products. Now why can't the Android crew do the same? Then everyone would be happy.

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Re: It's dead, Jim

"UnaOS is reported to be released in April https://unaos.com/"

It was also funded by IndieGoGo. And their attitudes don't give a lot of people confidence in their ability to actually deliver (for example, they're reluctant to subject their code to scrutiny).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's dead, Jim

Agree, MSFT was never willing to give up the two things that Google gave the OEMs -

1) A free OS, to the OEMs (MSFT insisted upon their 1980s licensed OS model until it was far too late)

2) Customization rights over the UI, assuming the OEMs threw a Google search bar and Gmail in there (which was no prob for the OEMs as people want those apps anyway).

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@Steve Davies 3 Re: It's dead, Jim

You are mixing sales volume and market share.

The volumes of devices sold has been growing, so yes, Apple have ordered more screens for this year than all WPs sold in a year at their height, by about 20%. BUT at its height, WP had up to around 15% market share, the iPhone is already slipping into this territory - depending on whose stats you believe, they have between 13% and 18% market share.

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Re: It's dead, Jim

@Steve Davies 3

If 70 million sales (for this year) is sinking to Windows Phone levels then WinPhone was once a best seller.

WinPhone effectively owned the smartphone market with 47% market share in 2007.

A few tactical mistakes and a market can be lost very quickly. CP/M anyone?

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Re: It's dead, Jim

most of the client I see that have company Iphones use a 3rd party enterprise encryption platform that offers a sandboxed environment and active directory integration for authentication over company gateways for mail and such.

as above, you aren't truly safe on any platform, you have to take multiple steps to prevent and mitigate worst case scenario of your creds being robbed aswell as ur info.

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Re: It's dead, Jim

WinPhone effectively owned the smartphone market with 47% market share in 2007.

Windows Phone first came to market in 2010, so it would have been difficult to have 47% market share, before it was even a gleam in Steve Ballmers' eye.

You mean Windows Mobile 6, which was a very different beast.

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Re: It's dead, Jim

Whatsapp has been broken since the WP8.1 update came out. I vaguely remember it working properly on 8.0 when I got my Lumia 620, but it was definitely borked in the way you describe when 8.1 was used.

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Re: It's dead, Jim

> You mean Windows Mobile 6, which was a very different beast.

I think that Microsoft's 40+% of the smartphone market was before WM6 (there is a reason that the number 6 is there). But, yes, WM6 was a very different beast, as were its predecessors and successors, and that is exactly where Microsoft's phone problems lie. Every generation or two MS has thrown out the baby with the bathwater, has dumped the developers and the development tools and started anew. After that happened two or three times the developers knew it would happen again and so moved on.

Microsoft is trying to do that again with desktop systems. All Windows Win32 programs and tools are now 'legacy' as MS tries to get developers onto UWPs so that MS can collect 30% of all software revenue.

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Re: @Steve Davies 3 It's dead, Jim

> BUT at its height, WP had up to around 15% market share

WP (Windows Phone 7 and 8) never had more than around 4% of the world smartphone market. There may have been certain countries which did have market share above 10% for a short time. Before there was iPhone and Android MS did have a moderate share (40+% of the US market), the competition was Symbian and Blackberry. After iPhone, MS's market share dropped to 5% (with WM6.x) and it continued falling with brief small recoveries through the WP era.

15% for WP was IDC's and Gartner's failed predictions.

"""

Windows smartphone sales 2008: 20.9 million = 12.3% market share

Windows smartphone sales 2009: 16.8 million = 9.1% market share

Windows smartphone sales 2010: 15.1 million = 5.0% market share*

Windows smartphone sales 2011: 10.2 million = 2.1% market share*

Windows smartphone sales 2012: 17.4 million = 2.5% market share*

* includes both Windows Mobile and Windows Phone operating systems, combined

Source: TomiAhonen Consulting from public analyst and industry data

This table may be freely shared

"""

"""IDC reported that Windows Phone market share, having peaked in 2013 at 3.4%, had dropped to 2.5% by the second quarter of 2014.[135]"""

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Re: @Steve Davies 3 It's dead, Jim

Richard, you are correct. I messed up and used the Europe / German market shares.

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Android is less than desperate

It's getting quite pitiful, no longer the little child of a few years, it's an annoying teenager now, drinking at the bar and soon to drive off into the sunset and a telegraph pole.

I'm getting totally fed up with Androids continuous twerking of its applications - features that worked and you got used to using and liked just disappear one day without warning. Do I sounds pissed off? Listening to Roy Harper at 7am in the morning can make you wonder about the sense in any of this. I hate the Google Man... and the app that turned him loose.

Problem is, there's no alternative.

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Re: Android is less than desperate

Welcome to the vicious cycle known as a Captive Market.

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Re: Android is less than desperate

And then just to add insult to injury, Samsung add TouchWiz.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Android is less than desperate

Like, please give us real world examples. I have a Nexus5x, and it's a superb mid range, and Google add some nice stuff. The Pixel C I have also also superb, and the envy of Surface owners everywhere (who thought they needed win32 compatibility and paid a fortune for it, only to discover the world had moved on and they really didn't need to run CorelDraw 3 anymore).

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Unhappy

The Maginot Line

"... But is it legal? Microsoft evidently thinks that Google's Maginot Line can be circumvented..."

"Evidently thinks"? Not necessarily. It may be no more that a tactic to overtly illustrate the current anti-competitive restrictions being applied by Google.

Many might smirk with schadenfreude given Microsoft's history of similar market abuse but, as immoral as Microsoft were, the rest of us do not benefit from another company applying similar tactics/morality in the mobile OS world.

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Re: The Maginot Line

This does indeed have stunt written all over it. It's probably legal but it probably voids the warranty and there's no way Microsoft is gearing up to handle this instead of Samsung.

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Yeah...

I think you might be right, there is no chance that this will be a successful product. Despite all the stupid mistakes Microsoft has made with mobile devices I can't imagine that they really think this could be a big thing. They're probably hoping to anger Google so they can start a lawsuit over it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Maginot Line

"... But is it legal? Microsoft evidently thinks that Google's Maginot Line can be circumvented..."

Doctrine of first sale, manu can't do anything after the phone is bought. The receipt will read one Samsung G8 + one MS feature pack. Do you want us to install that for you?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Maginot Line

"anti-competitive restrictions being applied by Google."

Google never said they they were going to buy Android for many millions and continue to develop Android for many millions more pro bono. They monetize it through search... and charge the end users, OEMs nothing for their software. So, yeah, they require the Google search bar on Android phones and the Play store, but that isn't anti-competitive.

Anti-competitive would be if they told Samsung and Lenovo that they can't use Android anymore unless they stop making Windows PCs. Something like MSFT forcing the OEMs to still pay for a Windows license for every Linux PC sold.

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Re: The Maginot Line

>but it probably voids the warranty

Only if MS actually install a custom ROM without Samsung's permission. From reading the two accounts (Mary Foley's & CokeRobot @ Reddit), I suspect this is either a simple instore pre-install of selected app's whilst the customer is waiting, or Samsung is permitting MS Stores to download a custom firmware update that consists of the MS apps and removes various standard third-party app's.

If MS really are installing a custom ROM we can expect people to be very interested as it may provide an alternative and potentially simpler way of rooting Android devices...

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Microsoft's Restictions

Try flashing a customized Android or another OS on a Windows 10 mobile device.

You CANNOT... because of Wintel's UEFI Secure Boot restrictions !

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Anonymous Coward

Android - bit of a toy OS, really.

I have recently encountered the following issue with Andoids "OK Google" feature.

As per the Chocolate Factorys suggestion, I have my digital pal enabled in all screens ready to assist.

I set my Sat Nav up and start driving.

Someone in the car (maybe the radio) says "Google", and up pops the search screen ... obscuring the Sat Nav.

Guess what ?

There is no way to close that screen without touching the phone and riskng the 6 points/£2000 fine.

Hardly a business-proposition feature ?

Googling (oh the irony) suggests that this isn't a big deal for the Android Fanbois.

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Re: Android - bit of a toy OS, really.

How well do other mobile OS behave in the same situtation? I really hate using Android (spent a weekend with my Mum's Samsung), but not sure any of them manage well in-car. My Windows Phone has great sat-nav, but an incoming call takes over the screen hiding the directions.

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Re: Android - bit of a toy OS, really.

"There is no way to close that screen without touching the phone and riskng the 6 points/£2000 fine."

If you are not hand holding the device, surely you are OK to touch the screen. Otherwise, how can I legally dismiss notifications on my Garmin or answer the phone using the steering wheel button?

I'm asking for clarification, by the way. The way English law is being drafted at the moment I'm prepared to believe almost any idiocy, but I have always understood I'm allowed to press a button on my fixed user interface.

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Re: Android - bit of a toy OS, really.

I'm not surprised that saying "thank you" to cancel doesn't work for you.

What I *am* surprised at, is that you managed to get "OK Google" to work in a car in the first place. I've long since given up on that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Android - bit of a toy OS, really.

Your making this up...

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Re: but an incoming call takes over the screen

But with Windows Phone, once the call has ended, the previous display comes back. As does Android - or certainly if you're using the Drivemode app.

I've just tried the ACs setup and get the same result. Once the Google Search Screen pops up, it won't go away. Saying "Thank you" cancels the search but leaves the screen up, so if you were to be relying on your satnav, you'd need to touch the screen which can be interesting at 70mph.

Just a thought, AC, but maybe look at Macros ? See if you can setup a macro to close the search screen from a voice command.

As we are seeing with Alexa, OK Google, SIri, and Cortana, voice control is starting to be big. Not because it's gimmicky, but because people like my boss - who is getting on for 70 - won't give up their iShiny until they're dead ...

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Re: Android - bit of a toy OS, really.

I checked with the police because I was confused too.

The phone must be mounted on the dashboard, not in your hand - thats essential.

As long as its mounted, you can touch it - as long as it doesn't affect your driving. In that respect its no different to the distracting touch screens that now come in all new cars.

By the way - the Android Auto app is great - and yes I have i disabled the "OK Google" command.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Android - bit of a toy OS, really.

"As long as its mounted, you can touch it - as long as it doesn't affect your driving." and that's the $64,000 question.

It's not going to stop them charging you for a minor infraction after operating your phone in the last half an hour. You were distracted by the operation or the thought of the operation of the phone and that would have affected your driving. Points for you laddy, you can challenge the points but then you'll have more points added and maybe a fine too.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Android - bit of a toy OS, really.

"OK Google" are you tracking my journey?

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Thumb Up

Re: Android Auto app

I'm hoping that all motor manufacturers give up on their attempts to "innovate" in car IT, and just make cars which have a space for the owners tablet/smartphone of choice to fit.

I have a Citroen - not even a year old. The Sat Nav is shit. The audio functions are shit. And the clowns wanted £299 *plus* £30/month to provide me with what I already have in the shape of HERE maps, and a 4G connection.

The *only* saving grace is I didn't pay extra for them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: get "OK Google" to work in a car

Seems to work for me.

The fun bit is when someone on the radio (or more likely a podcast) says "Google" and trips it accidentally.

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Re: Android - bit of a toy OS, really.

You can touch the screen if the phone is mounted in a holder.

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Bronze badge
FAIL

Re: Android - bit of a toy OS, really.

Errm, you say cancel.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Android - bit of a toy OS, really.

Works really well for me, and Android Auto is superb.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Errm, you say cancel..

Nope - the search screen still stays in front.

Just had an email from Googles product support on this. Currently, they don't see it as a problem.

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Re: get "OK Google" to work in a car

I believe you can change the activation word/phrase to something other than "OK Google"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Android - bit of a toy OS, really.

The mistake here is not using a dedicated GPS for navigation purposes, which provides reliable network free navigation while not broadcasting your location to the world in real time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Android Auto app

My next car may require wire cutters to permanently and verifiably fix the security and privacy flaws of connected cars.

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Re: Android - bit of a toy OS, really.

change the activation phrase then if its such an issue. http://www.wtfandroid.com/change-google-now-command-from-ok-google-to-something-else/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Car Supplied SatNavs

Totally agree.

My 'motor' also uses a SatNav with 'Here' (here today, gone tomorrow???) maps.

it is a 15 plate. You can't get a map update for it.

So go buy yourself a Garmin or a Tomtom.

As I ride a motorcycle, I have a Tomtom Satnav. They kindly put a screen (As in car widnscreen) mount in the box when I bought it. I also get lifetime Updates for Europe.

Save yourself a shed load of money and ditch the make supplied Satnav.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: change the activation phrase

I think I can begin to understand why so much modern software is shit, if the comprehension skills displayed here are the best the IT world can offer.

Reading the OP *properly* about the "OK Google" issue, it's not that the "OK Google" brings up the search screen when the OP is driving. It seems they want that behaviour.

The OPs "problem" is that once the "OK Google" search screen appears, there is no way to "disappear" it.

So "changing the activation phrase" won't resolve the OPs problem.

I'm sure there's a Dilbert which encapsulates this ....

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Silver badge

Re: Android - bit of a toy OS, really.

I'm not surprised that saying "thank you" to cancel doesn't work for you.

Unfortunately "cancel, you fucking piece of shit" doesn't work either.

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