Somehow I don't think those $19 are the hurdle preventing people from taking that leap...
I still believe that the future will be here when you can start practically any work on one device and immediately move to another device and continue where you left off. And it must be seamless, without hassle and preferably it should work without a connection to the cloud.
I think we're well on our way towards that.
On a similar note, I think the future will be that we'll use these computers in our pockets as laptops, tablets and desktops as well. Similar to what Ubuntu was trying to do, but further reaching. I want the phone to run a full desktop OS, and have a connector that'll let me plug an HDMI screen and a mouse and keyboard into my phone, upon which the phone switches its UI to a desktop UI. Bonus points if it connects everything wirelessly so that my screen, mouse and keyboard just sort of spring to life when I approach them without even taking my phone out of my pocket.
You could have extremely thin and lightweight laptops too, that simply connect wirelessly to the computer in your pocket or on your desk. Just switch the UI to whatever is appropriate for the form factor it is connected to. You could even connect multiple things to it at the same time: make a call with your phone while working on your desktop. Someone watching a movie on the tablet running on your Phone while you browse the web on the desktop running on your phone.
I think the hardware is getting there, and Windows is closer than any operating system towards supporting this. Make this happen and you have a valuable unique selling point for Windows Phone.
Somewhat, but not enough. You can't write your UI in XAML, for instance. I think devs should be able to use Visual Studio, WinRT, XAML, C# etc to write something that'll run on Android and, without any compiler directives or code changes, natively on Windows Phone. The Windows Phone store could even rewrite/recompile the package and replace Google-specific code with Microsoft-specific code for you after you submit it. The point is that devs should be able to write stuff for Android in .NET and XAML, and then end up with an app that also runs on Windows Phone for free.
I don't particularly see how this is in Xamarin's best interests, but it is in Microsoft's, so maybe they should buy Xamarin and steer them towards this goal.
I still think it should be the other way around: create a runtime for android that allows WP apps to run on android. That way, devs get a great API and tools (.net and vs) to write "android" apps, and every app they write for android natively works on Windows Phone as well.
IMHO the main reasons WP isn't doing well, roughly in order:
- Late to the party.
- "Windows"-anything isn't cool. It just isn't. (They had a moment of clarity with "Xbox").
- MS isn't winning any friends with the way Metro has been rammed into the desktop. Not sure why they are trying so hard to kill off their current cash cow. EDIT: The point is they are alienating existing users and devs so less of a halo effect.
- Developers are put off by the lack of roadmap and constant framework abandonment. They also need to drop the "JS is the new de facto language" bullcrap.
- Technical deficiencies in the platform is preventing some types of apps (already mentioned that ad nauseam...).
- To me the UI just doesn't look inviting. It looks unfinished, unpolished and clunky as if everything is a prototype. See this image where I pointed out how ugly and uninviting the typical WP apps are compared to iOS and Android.
1. That's a problem, but not necessarily an insurmountable one. The real problem, IMHO, is that Microsoft is acting like they're not late to the party and are trying to let the OS become successful on its own merits. They need to step it up a couple of notches and deliver way, way more than iOS and Android are delivering. There's time for letting the OS evolve naturally when phones are about the big three rather than the big two.
2. Is Android cool? I doubt the average Joe thinks "man, I'm getting this over an iPhone because damn, Kitkat is where it's at." I don't think "cool" matters as much as tech people think it does.
3. What average Joe even knows about "metro on the desktop"? Even if they're using Windows 8, are they really thinking "This design language and the way I'm forced to use it is terrible, I'm getting an Android phone."?
4. Agreed. Although it's been worse: there used to be a lot of JS-only samples on MSDN and such, but nowadays (and in most Build videos) they're nearly always using C#.
5. Agreed, see point one about kicking it up.
6. Again, does that really matter that much? There are a lot of awful-looking Android and iOS apps out there. I rarely see an app on Android and think "This looks so well-designed!" And yet, here we are with Android's market share.