Apple's [AAPL] co-founder, Steve Wozniak ('Woz') is in the news again, this time saying his Windows-powered Nokia Lumia beats Android when it comes to its beautiful and intuitive user interface, though he still thinks iPhone is best.
[ABOVE: Steve Wozniak holds an iPhone, image c/o Woz.org]
Lovin' the Lumia
Woz has been testing a new Nokia Lumia Windows-powered smartphone, and he's full of praise for the OS and its user interface. Microsoft has made it easy to use and "beautiful", he said in conversation with aNewDomain.net (Via: TheNextWeb), adding: "Compared to Android, there's no contest."
If you happen to be a Microsoft fan, it gets better: "Just for looks and beauty I definitely favor the Windows Phone over Android," he says. "I'm just shocked, I haven't seen anything yet that isn't more beautiful than the other platforms," he states.
What does this mean? While the significance depends on how much credibility you attach to Wozniak, to me it suggests the Apple versus Android battle's about to get more interesting as Microsoft prepares to ship its next smartphone OS, Windows 8.
'I would recommend it over my Android phones'
In a note left after the chat, Wozniak adds: "I did give my opinion that the Windows Phone had superior visual appearance and operation cues that were also more attractive. In my opinion, it sets the mark for user interface. I would recommend it over my Android phones given that it doesn't yet have the breadth of apps."
This is interesting in many ways. Who recalls Woz's 2010 statements at the World Forum Convention Center, when he predicted Android would be dominant against the iPhone in terms of marketshare, but Apple's device would retain the "quality edge".
Apple still seems to retain that edge, but with Microsoft and Nokia fighting to grab a hold in the smartphone market, Android device sales are bound to feel the pressure as Windows-powered devices with quality and clout begin to offer a viable alternative to Microsoft's fans.
Further, you can expect a shake-down among Android device makers:
-- Many may feel the big battle's are done, with Samsung taking the market lead.
-- Others may already question Google's commitment to its licensees now it's about to acquire Motorola Mobility. The theory must be that no one invests $12 billion in a company if they don't intend putting serious weight behind its business -- is there any purpose in a Google licensee competing against Google?
In search of special
Apple remains its own island nation. What critics see as a "walled garden", others might see as a strategic advantage.
After all, when the dominant competitive ecosystem consists of a fragmented army of products which all pretend to be more or less the same, then just how do you set these products apart? That's easy in the Apple-verse: you just make different products with a consistent set of features and the best user interface.
Now it looks like Microsoft may be preparing to offer up a similar challenge to tempt the market, and here's what Woz had to say on this:
"I surmise that Microsoft hired someone from Apple and put money into having a role in the UI and appearance of some key apps. I also surmised that Steve Jobs might have been reincarnated at MS due to a lot of what I see and feel with this phone making me think of a lot of great Apple things."
- Could the entry of Microsoft into the market, alongside the introduction of iPhone 5 in or around October together represent the beginning of the end to Android's phenomenal growth?
- Does Google have the creative intelligence to defend its fiefdoms with unique innovations to set its products apart?
- Will Apple's iOS 6 raise Apple's user interface game, or spell doom for Cupertino's great mobile adventure? Tell me what you think in comments below.
Got a story? Drop me a line via Twitter or in comments below and let me know. I'd like it if you chose to follow me on Twitter so I can let you know when these items are published here first on Computerworld.