Of Pizzas and Phones. (or iOS, Android and WP)
If you're reading this, thanks for clicking through!
To get straight to the point, with all the dirt and dust being kicked up in the wake of recent events, I think I might have chanced upon something to put things into perspective.
Analogy: Our desire for our OSes can be approximated with our love for PIZZA. Now I'm not from the US, but i'm pretty sure most of you are so I'll try to make the analogy as reliable as possible without offending all the different lovers of pizza over there (and yes i'm aware that Italian pizza probably varies lots from US pizza culture too xD)
The incumbents.. Are iOS and Android! No debating that I'm pretty sure, top two horses of the pack.
For fun's sake, I'm calling iOS the Thin-Crust, and Android Deep Dish. These are the two most (i'm guessing?) consumed by the population. It's easy to get to, everything's laid out, take a slice and start eating.The largest choice of toppings on the market. Everything you want or could possibly think of. The iOS TC comes in standard sizes, 8, 10 and 12'' (did i get the right sizes? no idea, my bad.). The Deep Dish comes in all sizes (and depths) to cater to all the people who have different thoughts of how a DD should be.
And that reflects the iOS and Android situation pretty well (as far as analogies go, yes I know analogies are flawed but still.) Toppings, or apps, are available by the boatload. Whatever you want, you probably can get. iOS has standard sizes and standard forms, you're pretty much guaranteed a certain experience when you pick the TC offering (maybe a franchise like Dominos?) . Android is more customizable; the different DD offerings given by OEMs.. Far too many to count. But they offer pretty much the same toppings 1:1 - and you can rest assured, you can't really go too wrong with either a DD or a TC. You might like one slightly more than the other, but they're pretty much guaranteed crowd-pleasers. Both are grab-and-go, simple, fuss free.
So where does Msft and WP come in? I would like to call it the Calzone.
Not everyone enjoys calzones. It's too different from the general Pizza form factor. I mean, you can't eat it properly with your hands! You need to sit down properly, probably need a knife and fork (especially if it's fresh out of the oven). And calzones don't lend themselves well to the same indulgences that TC and DD have. Not all toppings on the TC and DD work as well with a Calzone. You won't want to flood a Calzone with cheese for example. And even with variations, most Calzones end up the same way. It's just a folded pizza!
And therein lies the distinction - WP honestly does offer the same basic thing as Android and iOS! It's a phone (or a pizza) at it's core. But the difference is in implementation - DD and TC are definitely different implementations of the pizza, but even then they're mostly not "too" different - A pizza that exists mostly within one geometric plane. The WP calzone on the other hand.. Well, things are definitely different. And to that extent, I'm really confused by all the distaste for wp8 that's apparent in the forum. WP does all the phoney things that the other two provide - it's the additional features (mostly apps, i'd say) that aren't available 1:1. Yet, alternatives are there - BUT there seems to be this intense desire by some members of the tribe to devalue alternatives, mostly because they're not the "original". To extend the analogy - Let's say you want Pork on your TC/DD. It'll probably be Ham (parma?). And now you look to the Calzone. DAMN, there's no ham! Therefore we must curse it with our wallets. But hey, the Calzone has bacon! But we conveniently overlook that option.
I guess, the proper way to say it is this - in being critical of the app situation on WP, many critics have been too focused on the availability of an "App X" across platforms, instead of actually being practical and looking at apps that do the same "Task A". On paper, the calzone loses out. It just doesn't compare - after all, it doesn't carry the same toppings as the rest. It's not as easy to eat, or as immediately seductive like the cheesy DD or the crispy TC. But people who want those options KNOW to get a DD/TC. The calzone is meant for a more differentiated slice (hur) of the market. These people are happy not using their bare hands on a pizza/ they don't need the food-on-the-move option that a DD/TC provide/they don't need such a wide set of toppings because how everything is wrapped up, what's available is usually more than sufficient for their needs.
In other words, the calzone doesn't need PIZZA PARITY to be competitive with the TC/DD! Why bother! They're not the same package! Ultimately, they both fulfill the same needs, but the manner in which those needs are fulfilled are different. And I guess that's all I have to say. Draw your conclusions as you will.
TL;DR: Android = Deep Dish, iOS = Thin Crust, WP = Calzone. Judge a Calzone by DeepDish/ThinCrust standards and it'll fail. In the same way, judging the DeepDish/ThinCrust by Calzone standards would also get a fail.
[Yes, I am aware that much of the same arguments can be applied in defence of the Surface/Win8. It's pretty true IMO anyway.!]
Thanks for reading; hope it was entertaining somewhats!