Too Much, Too Soon
Could it all go horribly wrong? Certainly there are elements of concern, but these are not focused on the hybrids, rather Windows 8. In taking such radical steps Microsoft risks alienating users who have no interest in a Windows Phone smartphone and no desire to see its UI slapped across their computers. Microsoft is taking a huge gamble in forcing its huge PC customer base to familiarise themselves with the Windows Phone way of doing things. Windows 8 also ties users down to Windows Live accounts and pushes SkyDrive, Xbox Live and Outlook accounts at you. It’s that convergence problem again.
In addition Windows 8 arguably comes a generation too soon. A general consensus is forming that while the platform is groundbreaking in many ways, the transition between the ‘Modern’ (formerly Metro) UI and the traditional desktop remains jarring and feels rushed. Had Microsoft not been suffering so badly at the hands of Apple and Google, and so desperate to reclaim a footing in the tablets sector there is little doubt it would’ve preferred Windows 8 to be an evolutionary product with the full on revolution happening in Windows 9.
Windows Phone 8
But here again IFA’s hybrids look set to perform the role of cavalry riding to the rescue. If you weren’t fully convinced by Windows 8 then these equally revolutionary devices could well be just enough to convince upgraders to get out their wallets and accept a period of transitional learning… especially at half the price of an iPad MacBook Air. Next week Nokia will also announce its first big screen, multi-core, PureView packing Windows Phone 8 handsets at Nokia World. On the back of the impressive Samsung Activ S (below) the already leaked Nokia Lumia 820 and Nokia Lumia 920 PureView might sweeten the pot enough to see agnostics commit themselves to Microsoft’s new ecosystem.
The Agnostic Hybrid
Naturally enough rivals aren’t going to take this lying down. Apple looks set to announce the iPhone 5 with iOS 6 and potentially an iPad Mini tablet this month and Google is finally reaping the rewards of its slick Android 4.1 ‘Jelly Bean’ operating system. It’s times like this when technology really makes us smile and a huge number of appetite-whetting options will soon be upon us. Whether you choose Microsoft, Google or Apple long term though, it is starting to look like the hybrid will ultimately be at the heart of the lot… the jack of all trades, finally master of all.