Apple and Android have had the mobile market saturated for quite some time, and Microsoft’s Windows Phone has struggled to break its way in. Although Windows is the third most popular smartphone operating system and takes 1.7% of the total market, iOS and Android are dominating the mobile sector with 98% between them .
Microsoft is hoping that its latest smartphones, which run the hotly anticipated Windows 10 system, are the key to turning their fortunes. New for 2015/16, Microsoft has now brought the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL to the table.
How Lumia phones have developed
The Lumia range was created back in 2011 by mobile handset kings Nokia, working in partnership with Microsoft to create phones that exclusively used the Windows platform. Since 2014, Microsoft has taken over all rights to the Lumia range, while Nokia now focuses on network management and mass telecommunication projects in the corporate field.
The success of Android took the world by storm, and Apple were quick to fill any gaps it left with their own iOS platform. These operating systems allowed users to engage with their phones in a whole new way – via downloadable applications. Apps are used just as widely as web pages today, and most mobile users access several apps on their phones every single day. Microsoft were relatively slow to catch on with app development, and even today its own app store falls behind the leading performers for variety and functionality.
However, there have been a lot of successes with the Lumia brand. Microsoft have been able to bring together mobile phones, consoles, computers and televisions so that all Windows devices can work with each other. The Windows phone has also won over fans through its offline navigation system, expanded storage and better technical support. In recent years, Microsoft has accepted that Android is remaining popular and it has been working on emulators and software bridges to allow Android development on Lumia devices. Meanwhile, it has listened to consumers and understood that a new platform is needed.
Now that Windows 10 is finally here, the new generation of Lumia devices look ready to take on major competitors and start to close that market gap a little.
Reviewing the Lumia 950 XL
Cased in polycarbonate, the 950 XL is deceptively light given its 5.7 inch screen. It boasts a 20MP camera, a 564ppi OLED display with a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution, so you can shoot video, take pictures and view them back in amazing full colour QHD. For those who juggle work and personal life on the go, the device offers dual SIM functionality.
The central processor has undergone a major upgrade in order to handle PC quality apps. The Cortana assistant is easier to access and much more responsive, and the overall feel of the tiled dashboard makes the phone feel much more finished and capable. The camera apps have been condensed into one, and the front-facing camera has been upgraded to a full 5MP.
However, the Lumia 950 XL is not quite in the same league as Android and iPhone models at this time. Though the apps offered are of far better quality than previous Windows phones offered, there are still some big names missing from the store. The phone is also a little slower to respond than its near competitors, and some users are concerned that support may be withdrawn for the Windows Phone in the future.
Overall, Windows have done a great job with the 950 XL, and it looks like it might pick up some new fans this year. Windows 10 is big news for all PC and mobile users, changing how we game, work, socialise and relax. With the operating system now interacting between all devices, could Microsoft’s plan for the future of Windows finally be coming to life?
The new Lumia model is still new to the market – the coming months will show how successful its launch has been. As a flagship for Windows 10 Mobile, a close eye will be kept on its performance and reception. If the device is successful, the mobile brand might be able to turn itself around and start chasing at the heels of Apple – especially if work continues to bring Android apps to Windows 10.