Skip to main content

How 5G and Progressive Web Apps may fix Microsoft's app gap

Microsoft's personal computing efforts are often met with legitimate criticisms about its app gap. It lacks the developer support critical to the modern app model.

The current model has shortcomings, however. As app stores grow app discoverability becomes increasingly difficult. Furthermore, the average user uses only six apps regularly, doesn't frequent app stores and rarely downloads new apps. In fact, web properties are engaged more frequently than apps.

As 5G networks, Progressive Web Apps (PWA) and processors like Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 begin to take root, some challenges of the current app model (which are problematic for all platforms) will be solved. This shift toward platform-agnostic PWAs may help Microsoft escape the app gap-imposing confines of the current app model. It will be the progressive implementation of 5G networks and modern processors, the maturation of PWAs and multi-generational waves of cellular PCs and folding-mobile devices that may help Microsoft overcome the app gap. Let's break it down.

What is 5G?

According to Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf 5G is, unlike the incremental steps from 1G to 4G, a new technology that will transform connected computing. Qualcomm will begin 5G rollout in 2019.

It'll make accessing apps on the web as fast as the memory on your phone.

5G will handle 1000 times more traffic than current networks, will be 10 times faster than 4G LTE and have half millisecond latency. 5G will enable autonomous cars, secure remote healthcare, immersive AR and more.

Furthermore, Qualcomm's 845 Snapdragon processor will "make accessing the apps on the web as fast as the memory on your phone," said Alex Katouzian SVP of Qualcomm Semicon. If Microsoft's folding mobile device launches with it in late 2018, it'll be capable of accessing web apps as fast as it would native apps. This first-gen device will be positioned to benefit from evolving PWA technology.

What are PWAs?

"Progressive Web Apps combine the best of the web and the best of apps." Users aren't required to install them, and they become more powerful as users use them. Google spearheaded PWAs in Chrome and Microsoft's Edge browser will also support them.

PWAs work for any user, on any form factor, offline or on low-latency networks, feel like apps, remain updated, are discoverable, installable and can be shared via a link. Since mobile users frequent web properties more than apps PWAs are more consistent with human behavior than apps.

Here's how PWAs and 5G will benefit Microsoft. Qualcomm's 845 (and later) chips and high capacity-low latency networks make web apps as quick as native apps. Microsoft's Project Westminster can create hybrid PWA-UWP apps enabling notifications, Cortana integration, Live Tiles, Windows Store distribution and more. Developers might embrace PWAs (which are not web wrappers) because they're easier to build and can target a broader base.

Progressive disintegration of the app gap

Rather than the knee-jerk, "but there are no apps" response to Microsoft's personal and mobile computing attempts users should consider the following scenario. The folding Surface device expected in late 2018 will be a first-gen, category-creating aspirational (not a savior) product. It'll launch during the early stages of PWAs (likely with Snapdragon 845), in the wake of consumer cellular PCs, on the precipice of a 2019 5G rollout. Let's consider a possible timeline.

This device will be a cellular PC like those launching in the consumer space now. The difference: it'll be pocketable, enterprise-focused and likely telephony-enabled.

  • Early 2018 onward consumers will begin growing accustomed to always-connected cellular PCs and eSIM technology. eSIM allows users to purchase data from the Windows Store and gives them more nuanced control over carriers.
  • Throughout 2018 consumers will encounter evolving PWA experiences in Edge on cellular PCs (and other contexts). Fall 2018, Microsoft's foldable device will launch for the enterprise and prosumers. Around that time into 2019 second-gen cellular PCs will hit the consumer space as the PWA experience continues maturing.
  • 5G rollout will also begin in 2019. Microsoft's first-gen and, late 2019, second-gen enterprise-focused pocketable PCs, and some consumer cellular PCs may experience the benefits of 5G edge computing and PWAs on that limited 2019 rollout.
  • By 2020 OEMs may begin bringing Microsoft-inspired, telephony-enabled, cellular pocket PCs to consumers as 5G will then be more widespread, PWAs more mature and third generation cellular PCs will have made the cellular PC experience the norm for consumers.

With a mature PWA experience, pocketable-cellular PCs with telephony (where data and voice can be purchased from the Store) may be an appealing consumer category by 2020.

Beyond, "But there are no apps…"

There are many obstacles to this playing out as described. Limited 5G coverage is just one. Still, Microsoft's Windows, cellular and pocketable PC efforts must be observed within the context of the effects of evolving industry tech: PWA's, newer processors and 5G networks.

High-capacity, low-latency 5G connectivity, processors that treat web apps as native apps and a mature PWA environment are fundamental, platform-agnostic, industry-wide factors that can conceivably help Microsoft fix the app gap.

Jason L Ward is a columnist at Windows Central. He provides unique big picture analysis of the complex world of Microsoft. Jason takes the small clues and gives you an insightful big picture perspective through storytelling that you won't find *anywhere* else. Seriously, this dude thinks outside the box. Follow him on Twitter at @JLTechWord. He's doing the "write" thing!

  • The problem is, Microsoft devices won't be the only ones to access 5G and PWAs. Current PWAs are made to run on Chrome or the Chromium engine (Electron apps) so if future PWAs can run on Windows they will certainly run better on Android, Chrome OS and even iOS so there's still no need to have Windows on anything else than the bulky, old PC and maybe even that is at risk  
  • Why would they run better?
  • One anatase pwa's might well have is superior functionality. As a recent Android convert (after a brief stint with iPhone 7+ when I finally left Windows phone), I was shocked to realize how many apps lack the full functionality of the websites, even the mobile versions. If I can use a more full featured solution in a web app, I'll uninstall the local app and use it every time.
  • True, but my question, in response to ahumeniy's comment above, is why would PWA's presumably run better on iOS, and Android, than Windows?
    Go back, and read his comment.
    His argument seems to be about browser capabilities, but HTML 5 is a standard, and MS has the freedom to tailor Edge to perform desirably with PWA's, just as they do with other browsers... Even if Chrome, or Safari, had more compatibilities (because that's what we're talking about here) than Edge, it would most likely be so marginal that any average consumer wouldn't notice. It's just not fair to make those statement until these browsers were put to the test with the most modern, and powerful, PWA's. Sounds like a non issue for anyone outside of tech enthusiast to me.
  • Yeah, I think he said this, because chrome and safari already support PWAs, while Edge is only beginning to do it now, so google and apple had more time to develop it than Microsoft. But since HTML5 is a standard (as you said), and Edge is a pure HTML5 browser, I also don't think it'll be an issue. I just hope that once PWAs become mainstream, they will run better on all platforms than now. I don't want to deal with slow animations, long response times, and ugly visual glitches on a device as expensive as todays flagship smartphones, or the rumored andromeda device :D
  • Only Chrome and Firefox are the ones that already support it (maybe Opera as well). Edge will be next and Safari will be last (Apple was quite reluctant at first, fear for their app store I guess but as it WILL be the next best thing, they started with the implementation).
  • They were right to be reluctant as it will destroy app stores as we know them.  However Apple being a Hardware vendor, this will probably affect them the least.  Google has the most to lose with Android and Chrome OS will probably Dissappear to be replaced by Vendor specific versions of Android/Chrome or Linux (year of the Desktop Linux?).  Most vendors including MS, will evolve to an Apple like model in which they will control the Hardware and Software.  Windows will almost entirely dissappearing from the Consumer sector on third party devices and mostly only exist on MS first party Surface devices.  They will stay strong in enterprise due to backwards compatability and consistant security/support model.  Full OS servers will also mostly go away too, to be replaced by Containers with thin OSes with WASM powered PWAs or similar technology or cloud based services like Azure and AWS.  We are on the cusp of a truely disruptive change.  I really don't think anybody really understands the profound changes that we are getting ready to go through... However This is a really great change and will truely democratize computing.
  • Ahhhhh, I see. Coolzers
  • @rodneyej: Why would they run better? Because developers test on the platforms their users use. Chrome and Safari are, by far, the most common browsers out there which means bugs are rooted out. Edge only runs on the desktop and is only used by a small percentage of Windows 10 users. Even now that Microsoft has released Edge for iOS and Chrome it will remain a niche browser. Niche == small == not worth devoting $$$ to! Utlimately it all boils down to the number of users affected. Edge has a tiny market share, even on the desktop, and, its users are likely to be, on average, quite low on the technological totem pole since they (likely) don't know about other browser or how to go about switching browsers. There is actually a silver lining to this situation. Because Edge--both fairly and unfairly--is ignored it means that Microsoft has to work harder at R&D and not just play illegal games. It does mean that Windows is poorly served in terms of apps but that's only fair. Developers have finite $$$ to spend on R&D and they put that money where it gives them the best ROI and that ROI is not in a Microsoft Store app.
  • They would run better because those other platforms are mature enough and supported by their commited makers, unlike windows 10 which has become a pathetic joke.
  • In most reviews of Windows Phones, people praised the cameras, the UI functionality and customization and a slew of a number of things, but reviewers always pointed out the gap. Because their specific apps they used weren't available, they wouldn't recommend the switch. This approach negates this problem, so anybody who wants to try something different can try something different without losing any apps. However I still have concerns about how useful such apps will be when on vacation and / or away from any signal. This article says it won't be a problem, but I would probably want to wait and see.
  • PWAs run locally.  They are stored like apps but they are installed like shortcuts and updated like web pages and they are completely platform agnostic.  Combined with WASM ( Web Assembly) they are the ultimate evolution of software.  They will change everything.  They not only make windows on a phone factor viable they make BlackBerry OS, WebOS, Tinzen, Linux on the desktop and any other niche OS viable.  I predict this will kill Android and chrome OS from Google, and severly weaken Windows, but will birth numerous manufactures to create specific versions of Android, Linux, or custom OS just for their phones and smart devices and PCs.  This will effectively destroy the walled app garden.  The impact of this tech can not be over stated. IT WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING. 
  • Maybe within 20 years or so, but not the next five years. Just ask yourself how many apps are there compared to the number of PWA:s. I've seen around 10 PWA:s so far. The .ost notable ones are Google Keep, Google Pictures, Telegram and Instagram. Please mention some more?
  • @blomsternisse. You do realize that the current app model went from non-existent to millions of apps available in less than five years. Phone are replaced an average of every two years. This new technology won't take long to spread.
  • amen. not sure why MS dragged it's feet here either. 
  • @Praxius "Because their specific apps they used weren't available, they wouldn't recommend the switch. This approach negates this problem," That proverbial ship has sailed and it sailed many years ago. Microsoft tried and failed to (re)gain a foothold in the mobile market. iOS and Android have steamrollered right over Windows Phone and never looked back. iOS is now insanely profitable. Android runs on a boatload of devices. Those two mobile OSes have vanquished all competitors in much the same way that Mac and Windows vanquished all other commercial desktop OSes in the 1990's (where are OS/2, BeOS, Amiga, Atari, Apple DOS and a slew of other even smaller players now?). Linux, while revolutionary, is a bit player on the desktop market and its largest commercial success story, Canonical, looks poised to pull R&D $$$ from the desktop version because it's not providing much in the way of ROI. Critical mass has been reached for iOS and Android. Developers have a huge library of software for those platforms. Their users now also have too much invested money-wise in those platforms. If you're an iOS user you likely have a massive library of music. You've also got years of apps and games. Each time you upgrade to a new phone that entire ecosystem follows you at no cost. Same thing applies to Android users though I don't think they've invested in music the way iOS users have! That's a pretty major bonus that's going to act to keep iOS and Android users loyal. It doesn't matter if Windows Phone 2.0 can run PWAs because few people care. They care that all their content can follow them, and, unless Apple changes business approaches, they will never allow their users' iTunes music, video and app libraries to follow them to a WIndows Phone 2.0 device. Same story with Google's Play Store!
  • Umm..what?
  • There can be differences as to how well PWA’s run on different OS’es, just like webpages, because they essentially ARE webpages. So on Android they would run on the Chrome engine, iOS would have Safari and Windows would have Edge. Apart from that, I am guessing that the parts of PWA’s that reach deeper into the OS such as Bluetooth support, etc. can also be differently support. Microsoft, for instance, just recently added support for web workers. How well does that work in v1 as opposed to Google, for instance, who have had them for a while, Normal users might not notice the difference opinion terms of how the browser engine is affecting the app running, but they will notice if the same app, they are used to running on one platform, say Android, runs differently/worse on a Windows. The advantage that PWA’s bring to Windows is an opportunity for web developers to write once and run everywhere, meaning Windows wouldn’t be left out in that case and at least have that same app, even if it does turn out to not run as well. But that doesn’t mean that all of the developers in the World are all of a sudden going to completely rewrite their existing native apps on iOS and Android, just to support Windows. And if you are comparing PWA’s with native apps, the latter are still going to hold advantages on their native platforms, have access to specific features, etc. So PWA’s are not for all scenarios, at least not to begin with. I don’t mean to rain on the parade - I agree that this is the right move - I am just personally cautiously hopeful that PWA’s will do any significant good. I still feel like UWP and Windows as a platform for modern apps is still not mature enough and this is actually what I am hoping the most will get improved. Not just the quantity of apps, but certainly also the quality.
  • Agree with MooCoo.
    I use Nexus cause I (as a programmer and hacker) don't trust the reliability of 3rd party rom or custom rom.
    I'm a game programmer, we've 4k+ people in the office, more if you count world wide.
    I cannot do my work on an Android. Designers, planners won't be able to too. Sure, out ticket system, wiki, project manager, etc are all web-based, but Game Engine, VisualStudio, Dx+Havok, Office, SVN, etc... only available on Windows. File Explorer, remote desktop and other business tools, KB are crucial too. Besides, we need powerful machines. People in the cooperate, CS department uses NBs, except Office and Outlook, most of their works are done on the web.
    The appearance of win10 NBs start to emerge and my next exchange could be a win10 branded desktop.
    That being said, I bet Win10AMR (20 hours battery life + e-sim + light weight) is enough for business sidda people. Sure, we are still in the transition (and it's slower than mobiles), but MS's not gonna support OS they've dropped anymore and there's just no going back. Freshman, indie and startup's option from now on is either UWP or web, not exe, unless you are skipping Windows (PC, S, ARM or maybe AR/MR, IOT, Xboxes) as a whole, or you'd rather do your own installer, uninstaller, updater, crack-proof, advertisement and ask people to trust your no-name software to do their system no harm? MS still keeps older Windows in win10 for BC but who can guarantee it's existent? software / api deprecates no? What if MS decided to "clean house" for "OS diet" like Apple and Google did? What if OEM decided to remove older Windows to squeeze more HDD space? So, what can be done on mobile but cannot be done on PC? What can be done on PC but cannot be done on mobile? For me, iOS is inefficient to operate, iPhoneX is more inefficient than its predecessors, Android's better but nothing interesting is going on. I'm not install anything new except a few new games (e.g. Beat Street or CatBird). News reading, email, msg, YouTube, etc can be done on a PC, but XPA, OneDrive on Demand, VisualStudio (code, QA, compile), Inking, Photoshop, etc cannot be done on an Android or iPhone.
    Not just XPA, I can even compile my own emulator and install it on my Alienware, Surface Pro, Xbox and, those small size Win10ARM.
    I'll not miss Android tbh.
  • Web pages have been plauged by bad programming because of Javascript/CSS/HTML is so easy to program badly.  You had a bunch of Web Developers targeting beta features of specific browsers instead of mainstream accepted features accepted by the web standards group.  They used tags to allow the features to work or not work.  Unfortunately this resulted in a lot of developers targeting Chrome specific features that broke in other browsers.  Moving forward though they have fixed this by getting rid of the browser flags and implementing feature abilities instead.  This will provide a much more consistent web experience moving forward.  In addition WASM (Web Assymbly) will offer a more consistent programming model as it is a more stuctured programming language and provides a lot of backwards compatability as unsupported features will simply compile to supported features such as asm.js.
  • For your notice, some people do go to work daily, and need PCs for real work. We dont give a s*** if you can throw stones on pigs better with your android.
  • Good. The more companies adopt PWA, the more developers will target it. The less of an app gap there will be. As for performance, Edge can improve, so I won't be worried about that.
  • Q: "You obtuse piece of flotsam"
  • "so if future PWAs can run on Windows they will certainly run better on Android, Chrome OS and even iOS so there's still no need to have Windows on anything else than the bulky, old PC and maybe even that is at risk" That makes no sense.
  • PWA can run on anything, no reason it is better on Chrome. Android has security issues, especially enterprise. Like the new Starbucks web app, is PWA and it runs better on WM than the original WM app. Millions of devuces run on PC, some are mobile like laptops and tablets. Andromeda devices may push that even higher. The reason apps even exist on iPhone is because it had a crappy web browser, and 1st gen iPhone didn't even have 3G or app. PWA is the future.
  • PWA is indeed the future, and that is a concern. PWAs could well lead to a lovely universal app platform for all, but conversely they may herald the locking down of the web into pay-as-you-go and pay-subscription based experiences for everything. Want to play a game you love? Forget 'loot boxes', you'll buy an hour at a time. Like having a library of games you've bought? Now imagine they all work like MMORPGs and require a monthly fee to maintain. Ouch. Like browsing the web? Now imagine every site is a landing page for subscription to an app. Worried about cookies? Welcome to a world where every 'web page' has an EULA and requires you assess and maintain a slew of generalised and ever changing permissions to access your data and hardware. The possibilities are endless. Of course, likely things will end up somewhere in between the utopian and dystopian paradigms. Things are certain, however, to get a lot more complex the further software becomes removed from your device and controlled in an increasingly remote manner. Interesting times...
  • 🤔 (Ajit Pi)=(Pay-as-you-go; pay-subscription)... 😋
  • Like the internet before obummer? Yeah it'll be a shame we have to return to those dark days of pay as you go...
  • Interesting thought.  Although I think individual games subscriptions will be the exception, not the norm.  I expect to see subscriptions game libraries.  Basically like netflix for games.  Steam, XBox, Playstation, Nintendo, EA will probably all evolve to this model.
  • PWA’s can be different (better/worse) on other platforms, just like web pages in other browsers, because they ARE web pages in other browsers. Safari on iOS might not have been capable enough to run apps, but I would argue that native appps will hold an advantage over PWA’s for a good long while. They can more easily tap into native features in the OS, etc. Besides there are literally millions of native apps already out there that won’t be rewritten for PWA anytime soon. Finally, many attempts have been made at making cross platform frameworks, also ones that were web based. But so far they all have the same problem as Java used to have: not as fast  not as functional as native apps. PWA might be different, but that remains to be seen. So while PWA are certainly part of the future, I don’t know if we can say yet that they ARE the future. And let me just reiterate from above, I fully support Microsoft for doing this. To me it is certainly the right move.
  • Native Apps won't have to be rewritten, native WASM(Web Assembly) PWAs can be compiled from a number of languages C, C++, Objective C are currently supported with support for languages like Swift, Java, .Net (C#,, F#...) coming soon.  This will allow developers to quickly convert thier existing apps to PWAs.  Additionally WASM provides pretty much native speed as it is a binary language not an interpreted language like Javascript.  PWAs also provide native hooks into the operating system so they act like regulare apps, not web pages.  PWA/WASM can replace 99% of apps people use with exception of AntiVirus or similar deep level system apps or apps written explicity for specific OS features.  PWA/WASM will change EVERYTHING.  This can not be overstated. People and even tech companies do not relized the disruption this will bring, but it will be good disruption as it will democratize computing.
  • Here is a report on Starbucks PWA. Is is faster than iOS app, smaller in size etc.
  • Wait, weren't you told that the bots are next big thing that will kill the apps? I mean why we have to rely on PWA when the bots will be the next big thing? Or after 10 months you will invent something new that will fill the app gap as PWA won't solve the problem just like neither of dozens of other things (like bridges) haven't helped before?
  • Bots, AI, PWA all have a place. Now I hear your "position", which you have a right to have. What I don't hear is a well articulated argument FOR your position.
    You're in essence simply saying what I have articulated and supported won't work, but not providing any support for your opposition.
    You DEFINITELY don't have to agree with me🙂 But please bring more to the discussion😉
  • Jason, this is the problem with WC "credibility gap". I have been following you guys since WM Mango and everytime a reset happened this site justified the reset with - "the next iteration will be the one to solve all issues" - and so it went - Mango, WM10, UWP, OneWindows and so on. Next Daniel actually aticulated in a lenghtly article that apps are boring and so old school, bots will be the next gen apps and Microsoft is uniquely positioned for that. Well I guess the time for bots is stiil not here. So now there is something in between apps and bots - and that aaccording to you is 5G and PWA. I totally understand technology is a changing landscape - but your narratives change even faster and most frustratingly, is not in step with the actual technology changes. Its like you guys are trying to foretell the future. Why ? What ths point. We understand WM failed due to app gap. Dont stuff imaginary (based on some realistic scenarios) solutions everytime to fill that narrative gap. My point with yet another Warditorial is that this is just that your opinioon based not on any insider knowledge. We all know 5G is coming, and PWA's are here is a minor way. But connecting 5G to PWA revolution is a stretch. I dont see why more PWA apps are not there now (even on Android) with 4G? Its not that slow. This is where serious readers have issues with your prognostications. Why dont you actually do reporting based on real stuff going on and insightful analysis - instead of resorting to fulfilling some windows phone fans wishful ressurection dreams? 
  • Actually, PWAs, 5G and modern processors are what I established as industry shifts that would affect ALL platforms. ----------------------
    "As 5G networks, Progressive Web Apps (PWA) and processors like Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 begin to take root, some challenges of the current app model (which are problematic for all platforms) will be solved. This shift toward platform-agnostic PWAs may help Microsoft escape the app gap-imposing confines of the current app model." "High-capacity, low-latency 5G connectivity, processors that treat web apps as native apps and a mature PWA environment are fundamental, platform-agnostic, industry-wide factors that can conceivably help Microsoft fix the app gap."
    ----------------------- Now, the pieces I wrote on Conversations as a platform and the role of bots (though you didn't reference my lives on the topic) stressed what Nadella stressed, that we are at the beginning of that journey. The problem with some, not all, readers is that the short-term view many hold in wanting a "device" now, frames their outlook on discussions such as this (and the bots analysis) that require long-term outlook. The timeline I included in this piece reflects that the expectation of PWAs eradicating the app gap, should be looked at as a progression of various events over a period of years and not as an immediate and singular advent. Now, these are editorials, thus inherently opinion pieces. No one can "see" the future, but I believe based on the convergence of certain technology, the increasingly connected future 5G will bring, the inefficiency of the current app model, Qualcomm processors (that are foundational to the mobile industry) that will make web apps access as quick as native apps, I believe the analysis I present makes a strong case. If your opinion differs. Your definitely welcome to offer a point by point rebuttal😉
  • Do you guys have any insight into companies that have the most successful apps spinning up teams that will focus on developing PWAs? And do PWAs need to be submitted to appear in the Microsoft Store? I get the analysis, I'm trying to see where the transition will take place and who is working towards actually doing it. Also loosely related, but something you all haven't fully talked about: Microsoft needs endorsements. Not partnerships, but bands and companies with a following that are invested in promoting Microsoft's products and services. I don't feed into celebrity but it would be nice to see a celeb endorse Cortana in a commercial. Something or someone with strong recognition, even at an enterprise level. If the Alexa-Cortana integration ever happens, that, imo, would be one of the top wins for Microsoft in the last 5 years up there with the Surface, Xbox, and Azure success.
  • I'm a developer, PWA's are exciting but still not ready, they only run as pwa's on chrome at this point, edge support is coming, ios supposedly is going to work on them, however, they are not quite ready to be chilly and deployed at this stage. Also, i really don't see the 5g connection, PWA's are actually lighter than standard websites and apps, so current 3g/4g are plenty fast enough...
  • Yea, I agree 5G isn't as big of Deal as PWA.  I would argue WASM (Web Assembly) is more important than 5G, as this will allow the speed to replace almost every native app.
  • Good you responded with clarity (I always expect that from you). Its not that my opinion differs, its more a fact that we DO NOT KNOW if any of this will ndeed come to fruition unless (read my last line).... Here's my main contention with your "theory". You seem to infer that 5G will drive the web apps being as fast as apps - hence there will be not need for apps - web apps or PWA's will replace apps. But its not that web pages being slow on a mobile device was why apps took off. I didnt get the feeling that speed of apps were the primary reason for app adoption. It was more that apps brought mobile foot-print based functionality, user interfaces and device specific user experience which any (fast) web app could not replicate. There was a trime when responsive web apps were the thing - it scalde to mobile footprint too, were pretty fast (as they were lighweight)  - but they could not take advantage of many smartphone specific underlying API's etc and device specific sensors easily. That was why native apps were the preferred approach. I dont recall app speed being the main criteria. And I am certainly not looking short-term at this - but saying PWA's will be the 2017-2020 timeline begets the original point - we simplydont know. Yes, its a possibility, ut so is Bot technology or some AI fangled technology that could come up. Its pontless doing these pontifications on such a long-term scale.  I do not have a issue with forward looking approach as such standalone  - but when every past failure is offered a future looking solution - which may or may not pan out at all, that become meaningless. And this I say in the light of past WC justifications of Microsoft missteps. Let us just acknowldge the missteps and move on. All companies make missteps and that is just fine. We may or may not know what they have in plan (unless Jason what you layed out as a 2020 plan is with some inside knowledge of Microsoft).
  • Hi, thanks for the discussion, and you're right"we simply don't know", 😉 thus opinion piece👍🏿 But simply because we don't know doesn't preclude looking at technological trends and the investments various companies are making to provide infirmed and supported analysis. It may pan out as described, and as I stated very clearly in the conclusion, it may not. Also I certainly don't excuse or justify Microsoft's failures. Companies like individuals make mistakes, but to continue existing and even hope for success the need to get up and move forward (hmmm that just reminded of the movie "Meet the Robinsons, check it out🙂). Here are some pieces where I point out Microsoft's failures or potential errors. ---------------------- Read:
    1. My four part series condemning Microsoft's focus of Windows Mobile on the enterprise.
    2. My piece about Nadella abandoning consumers.(Linked in this piece)
    3. My piece about Microsoft and developers poor relationship.
    4. My piece about Microsoft having but not using the tools it has to address the app gap.
    5. Microsoft's lack of consumer focus and how it may hurt its future. (Linked at end of this piece).
    6. My piece on Microsoft's lack of cool factor and uts affect on consumer relationship.
    7. My pieces on Microsoft's lack of marketing.
    8. My piece on the long term (negative) effects of Microsoft's low-end smartphone push.
    9. My pieces on Microsoft's lack of a phone and how that affects its competitive strengths in relation to Apple's and Google's AR efforts.
    10. My piece on the inevitable abuse of Microsoft's AI-driven camera tech.
    11 My piece on the potential abuse of its Quantum computing investments
    And many more all found here: 😉
    Now regarding writing pieces with a long-term lens I'm sure you know that CEOs of multi-billion dollar global companies in dynamic industries particularly those dependent on years of RD and other investments even before a technology or product ever leaves the lab, much less looks at plans and decisions 5, 10, 20 years down the road. Analysis that doesn't parral that fundamental reality would fall short and fail to consider variables important to long-term outlook. So its not mere "pontification" as you put it. Its providing analysis based on how the industry works.
  • Umm, but my desktop PC already has lightening fast wired internet access and 8 cores of CPU power, so where is my PWA utopia? Why does my desktop PC have the same app gap as my phone? The tech has been around for a long while (in IT terms) on my desktop PC but still no revolution. It is not as simple as saying 'build it and they will come'. The tech will not drive this alone, Microsoft needs to win back hearts and minds and unfortunately they are uniquely placed to fail dramatically at that. Not that Ol' Nads cares, right? Consumers being the albatross he's intent on nailing to the mast...
  • Microsoft just announced a few months ago that PWA would be supported in Edge. Google's efforts are ongoing. We'll see how things go in 2018. Will there be more action wih PWAs? I think so.
  • Agreed 100%, with so many PCs running Windows 10 there *should* be thousands of apps in the store
  • "Umm, but my desktop PC already has lightening fast wired internet access and 8 cores of CPU power, so where is my PWA utopia?" Andy, your PC is a dead man walking.  Nobody cares about the PC and Big Screen anymore. i.e. Developers etc. because the future is the phone or phone substitute aka mobile X.  You go to a website and it's formatted for a phone, looks like a island in an ocean of whitespace, is devoid of any complexity and minimalistic because that's what you can do with a phone. All interfaces will be dumbed down to the lowest common denominator.  There is no point in buying a big screen anymore because nobody develops anythng that uses the space available on a big screen.  Developer tools notwithstanding are a niche market, in the big picture they are a nit.   Once you reach the age that your eyesight diminishes and can nolonger see the small screen your usefull life is over and there's pasture land waiting for you. 
  • @AndyCalling: "Microsoft needs to win back hearts and minds and unfortunately they are uniquely placed to fail dramatically at that. Not that Ol' Nads cares, right? Consumers being the albatross he's intent on nailing to the mast..." It's the hearts and minds that Microsoft has lost. They were late to the mobile game and now they've taken their highly successful desktop OS and turned it into a mobile OS. By doing that they lost the hearts-and-minds of their DESKTOP users but they didn't gain the interest of the iOS and Android users. Laying the blame at Nadella's feet is unfair. Especially given that he's doinng exactly what Microsoft's shareholders want, creating sustained value increases. In WIndows 10 S/UWP he's overseeing a juggernaut of a ship that was shipwrecked by Windows 8. Windows 8 was in the works long before Nadella took over! I've seen pundits posit the death of the desktop many times in the past few years. I doubt that's the case. macOS is doing just as well now as before. Even Windows 10 is doing quite well. It's Windows 10 UWP/S/Microsoft Store that is not doing well because Microsoft has lost the hearts and minds of multiple generations of users AND of OEMs/hand set makers. The users (like most of us) who grew up on desktop OS are tied to that paradigm of working. Users who've grown up with iOS or Android (and, make no mistake, we now have whole generations growing up with those OSes) are not stuck with desktops. They use them because that's what the old people use but not because that's how they meet most of their computing needs. Microsoft failed in the mobile market. They pulled the rug out from under Windows Phone, effectively conceding that there's only really room for two players in any particular category of device. There are only two desktop OSes, macOS and Windows. There are now only two mobile OSes, iOS and Android. Before anyone screams "but there are so many Linux distros on the desktop" or "Android is Linux" remember that any one desktop distro is tiny, even when compared with macOS's market share and Android being Linux is almost irrelevant since Android hides its hertiage completely. Chances are you could--with relatively little effort--drop most of what makes Android Android onto macOS or any other Unix-like operating system and have a fully functioning Android OS. If Microsoft had wanted to they could easily have kept Windows Phone alive--they have deeeeeep pockets. Windows Phone had 20% market penetration in some national markets. But, I'm sure there's more to that story than meets the eye. Chances are it was costing them more to keep the 20% market share than they were receiving in revenues from those 20% of users.
  • But Jason.  remember the bold headlines  stating apps are dead n bots ll take ovr. N not just u all writers overestimated bots without a full understanding of what they can do. Dan also made a big deal abt bots. Problem us wc writers go by what the MS leadership says and doesn't do its own due diligence. May be good to have technology consultant to advise on such things which need a thorough technology or development experience. 
  • Jason it is not about agreeing. It is that you don't live on this planet. Do you know that even as of today on the simple sites Edge has problems with text entry? So PWA will magically work? Developers will take time to make their PWAs work properly on Edge? Not to say that as of today there aren't so many PWA apps. So maybe in 5 years time one can talk about possibility (not certainity) that they can bring some changes to the market. But the first generation will probably suck in many ways and it isn't even out there. And that device is supposed to come next year. So let's go back to my original point. One year ago this site wrote that bots will kill the apps. One year later literary nothing happened. So what is your credibility to claim that PWAs will fill the gap in one year when there is no credible sign of that today? Yes you have the right on your own opinion. But soon it may devaluate so much that no one will read this if you continue this way... Anyway, New Year time, wish you all the best and hope next year will be better for everyone!
  • Actually labsii, I don't think anyone said bots would kill apps. Here's a link to all my pieces perhaps you can find what you claim there: Also, I was clear to point out in the pie e that this would not be immediate and that it would mature over time. I also in my timeline said and *italized* possible timeline. The fundamental point being however, that it would be a progression. Thanks for the discussion. Happy New Year to you too!!!!😃
  • Speaking of Edge, I'm finding that I'm using it less and less nowadays because it "just doesn't work". Even now, 2.5 years late Edge simply isn't up to the job! That's 2.5 years of BAD EXPERIENCES.  You don't wipe out bad experiences overnight! We're all used to using Edge to download Chrome. That's what Edge is, right? A Chrome (or Firefox) downloader?! PS I try to use Edge all the time to see what it's like--hoping it will improve--but I keep finding myself having to switch to Chrome because stuff doesn't work (properly). For example, with my kids I read eBooks and narrated books from OverDrive. I found the narrated books frustrating to use and figured it was just that the narrated books were poorly coded. The audio kept falling out of sync and pages had to constantly be reloaded to get audio to load. Turns out the narrated books are actually quite good. What wasn't quite good was Edge--and this is true as of 2018/1/2! Changing the default browser to Chrome solved the problems. The narrated books work flawlessly in Chrome. Audio never falls out of sync. Audio never has to be reloaded. With Edge I'd have to press the refresh button at least two or three times for each narrated book because my two year old has a habit of flipping back a page or two which caused Edge to fall out of sync. Speaking of the app gap, I'm finding that the UWP OverDrive app and the Libby apps are far inferior to their iOS and Android counterparts. Look at the ratings for Libby to get a sense of the difference.
  • You all should stop using these same renders. They look kinda cool, but they have nothing to do with Microsoft. So if/when something does come out, chances are it won't look anything like these pics. And then what? These weirdo's that come here and fall in love with the renders will be "dissapointed" when the real thing comes out. Just sayin'.
  • If something comes out from the Surface team, I don't think it will disappoint. It hasn't yet.
  • Surface RT?
  • The Surface team does the hardware, not the overall software. RT was a failure not because of the hardware but the software that it ran on and furthermore the push Microsoft did to get going whether that was PR/AD related or additional software support was the main reason it's failure.
  • According to Zac, he said Andromeda project is under Panos. So it is not just hardware. They are optimising the software too. He wasn't involved with WM. I want to see what his team can do for mobile Surface.
  • I think RT didn't have a surface team
  • Nothing will fix the app gap except the next five years at least
  • These are apps...........................
  • they should Just continue project astoria! they should let us run android apps on that windows 10 device
  • 5G and PWA would help in the long term.  But the mini tablet would solve most of my app shortage problem immediately.  My credit union doesn't have a phone app but it has a great web app I can use on the mini tablet.  The same would apply to all other retail, entertainment, banking, financial and productivity apps along with W10 apps.  If phone features are included, the folding cellular PC would serve me adequately.
  • "enterprise-focused"
    in other words, DOA.  there isn't even mobile payments for 99% of the world on windows. this is a dead product. 
  • First gen, as a category defining device will be enterprise focused. As I outline in the piece. I dont think that will always be the case. I think by third gen OEMs will begin brining the category to a broader consumers base by 2020. I could be wrong but, the key point is that it is a category-defining device, not a singular "savior" device. Combined with OEMs bringing the category to the market (as they did 2-in1s), broader PWA adoption throughout the industry (and the key here is that PWAs are something Google, MS and Apple are adopting, it's industry-wide) this category will have hardware (OEMs) and software (PWA) support. Microsoft and Google are actually working together on PWAs. This isn't just a blind "hope this is Microsoft's way out" analysis. It's a look at emerging tech and collaborative efforts.
  • i don't disagree, but i think like the x3, nobody trusts MS, and would put android on it.  Google and microsoft are working in PWA's in that google is doing it, and microsoft is trying to copy it as much as possible. google is fiercly anticompetitive and has nothing to gain by making apps work on any device. Microsoft has everything to gain. I'm skeptical this situation works out for MS and i'm thinking the writing is on the wall for windows, which sucks, since i'm a die hard fan. Just went back to my 950xl after getting a new samsung galaxy. Just hated android so much.  I'm also calling bs on claims that 5g is as fast as device memory. we know that the laws of physics exist, and such claims are ridiculous. 
  • As with any claims made with future technology, how about we just sit back and wait for them to show proof?
  • Sounds like an idea... Let's wait, and see, what happens with Windows devices, and support. Sounds interesting.
  • this thing needs to support dual sim, esim I probably can't even use. Hmm if they are looking to sell the data themselves maybe it will be only esim... And hence the pocketable device that *could* make phone calls
  • Awesome article Jason, how ever as an idealist and a realist I need to outline a caveat... Bureaucracy... it may be about 2024 before anyone can use 5G publicly. As you will inevitably have "squabbles" on who get's what in terms of frequency allocation, here in the UK the 4g auction was delayed a fair amount until EE was allowed to reuse their current frequency allocation to enable 4G services. EE here in the UK was formed through the merger of T Mobile and Orange, their total frequency haul was insane. EE also participated in the auction buying (2 x 5 MHz of 800 MHz and 2 x 35 MHz of 2.6 GHz). BT cheated as they bought enough spectrum through a third party / stroke subsidary ( Niche Spectrum Ventures Ltd) under the guise of increasing hotspot coverage. Buying 2 x 15 MHz of 2.6 GHz and 1 x 25 MHz of 2.6 GHz (unpaired) Now BT has bought EE, so now they own entire market and to make things more interesting the Hutchison 3G (Three) merge with Telefonica (O2) was stopped by the EU comission. My point is the rollout of 5G may happen in 2019 but it will take alot longer for the gears of bureaucracy to kick in and until the App gap will continue to exist. However PWA, are in my opinion are fundamentally flawed as the reliance on always on connectivity means the countries without reliable internet infrastructure will be left out in the cold and there many countries that don't even have internet connections at all
  • I would not buy a Microsoft produced hardware product anyways. Between the Band 1 , Band 2 and Lumia 950 issues, multiple times, I will not go there again. If someone else builds it, maybe.
  • One can see where the pessimism comes from. Web apps were the answer of the first iPhone (pre App Store), then the Firefox phone (WP7.5 days), and both failed to materialize. I would say now is different, as Jason points. Bots have come quite a ways, essentially Skills in Cortana and Alexa, they have taken over for many apps (for example, I use the Open Table skill in Cortana more than the app now). This is actually one place Google fell behind (Alexa took that crown, for now). I can see PWA making an impact now much more so. One thing MS has done well in mobile is keep Edge good (yeah, yeah, extension, talking about standards here), so it can run most Google PWA right now on my 950 (usually camera permissions are an issue) and have effectively filled in holes with my bank, credit card, and Starbucks (especially with Edge allowing me to pin a tile to Start). Combined with Sets and MS can produce a great experience that also has the offline power that enterprise wants. I often disagree with Jason, but think he is right here.
  • congrats on "solving" the app gap now solve: distribution; advertising; long term support; mobile payments; accessories; and lastly 3rd party offerings good luck you'll need it.
  • Mobile payments are already on the 950. I doubt you will find many Android devices with security updates through 2019 that were released in 2016 (plus feature updates till 2018).
  • Heck, you can't use "security" and "Android" in the same sentence.  Such doesn't exist.
  • Save could be said for Windows. No platform has been exploited as much as Windows.
  • Not in the modern age.
  • long term support includes more than just security and yes it is an issue on android as well. 
  • that still leaves alot to work on 
  • LOL Ive been following every one of these articles about this Surface phone unicorn mostly made by Jason, and oh man you guys are seriously milking the hell out of this LOL.  IT's basically non existant right now and You guys either know something we don't because of NDA and ya'll are just building up the hype or these articles are just being created for website hits. I'm excited for 2018 but calm down with this unicorn. 
  • Glad you're still following. Stay tuned to WC😉
  • YOU DO KNOW SOMETHING DONT YOU!!??  They say the best hints are from Journalists and writers.  I'm so sure you guys know something we don't.  U GUYS Need to LEAK Everything!! stop teasing us!!!
  • The fact that you're still here and asking these questions means that Jason is really good at his job.  :p
  • ALMOST stopped reading at 5G will begin rolling out in 2019 which equals more waiting but this was a good piece. May the odds ever be in Microsoft's favor.
  • Thanks😉 Glad you kept reading. Give it a share👍🏿
  • lol now slightly earlier ;)  AT&T says late 2018 in 12 markets :D
  • Hey, Unicorns became real in 2017, this might happen, too!  
  • The app gap is something very relative , i am more concerned about lack of support on EXISTING Apps . If , like myself, you don't use your phone to do your banking , airline booking or grocery shopping then win10m has all important apps . Failure to counter IOS or Android early enough , slow upgrades, and lack of marketing is mostly responsible for Win10M failure in the consumer market . In my humble opinion .
  • One of the things undersold on the 950 series was Edge. It is an awesome HTML5 browser and more standards compliant than Chrome. Yes Chrome gets a higher score, yet they also have browser specific code (much like old IE, ah how monopolies copy each other). If you run Edge in continuum you would be hard pressed to differentiate from desktop. Yeah, people will say Extensions, but there are a lot in desktop Edge now (which is likely what Andromeda would have) and even my 950 does a good job with the available PWA out there right now. Like with much of the 950 series, great ideas, just too early... Which is why I would have to buy a $1k flagship to match its specs now.
  • My Lumia 950 is a totally lame duck. It lame, it stalls, Bluetooth is a disaster, apps close when switching despite 3 GB of DRAM, battery empties in no time. The Lumia 950 ought to be an awesome phone but it simply is not.
  • Maybe you should get  pink iphone... My 950XL rules!   Bank of America, Spotify, Fox News, 3 Email accts, Netflix. Omaker on Bluetooth, and a $10 battery off ebay. (free shipping)
  • Microsoft forced my hand by killing Groove pass.  I went to an android device (Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact) because the Spotify app sucks monkey nuts?  I'm having more bluetooth issues than I did with my old Lumia 950. 
  • Again, this foldable device will appeal to a VERY small niche.  It brings nothing but annoyance to most users for whom a seamless screen that's easily used in one hand in all situations is preferred.  PWA is fine, I don't much care one way or the other, since Microsoft has already completely abandoned everything I loved about what was originally called Metro apps.  THAT design and user experience was a huge selling point for me, I don't really give a flip about what other were keen on.  So, what we're left wondering is, what kind of interface would any sort of future phone-like device running regular Windows look like?  It doesn't really matter what hardware comes out.  What will THAT experience be like, and will people want it?  Let's be honest--and it sickens me to say this--if the much-whined about app gap is going to disappear with PWA exploitation, then what exactly will Microsoft bring to the table that people can't already get on their existing devices (or, more likely, new iPhone and Android devices)?  I suspect it will only be those of us who puke at the thought of buying an iPhone or Android device who would give such a Windows device a chance.  I'm pretty confident that whatever scaled Windows-on-phone-like-mobile-device Microsoft is cooking up will look much more desktop than what we have on even W10 Mobile, and that I'll be holding on to my 1020 and 950 for some time.  I could be wrong, but EVERYTHING they've done with so far with W10 on their touch devices has proven to me they don't really know how to deal with these devices now that they've left Windows Phone and Windows 8 in the dust.  W10 is absolutely touch-spiteful.  
  • I'm definitely one of that niche.
  • So many daydreams! Life must be good for you!
  • If PWA:s are the future, then Windows' app tiles are doomed. PWA:s won't be able to give app tile feedback, and thus the app tile is no more than an icon in box.
  • Live Tiles work with PWAs in Windows 10.
  • I guess many have forgotten how you could and can still pin websites on WM10 / WP8.x and it would function similiar to a live tile, then again... with dwindling mindshare it's a given.
  • I was about to make the same comment, that Live Tiles certainly can work with PWAs.  The question is, how many will include that functionality--as I understand it, while the APIs, etc. are there, devs still have to choose to support it.  And, as I've mentioned, I'm not confident that Microsoft will even continue to suppor that.  We just don't know what their future W10 scaled for phone-like devices will look like.  To hear most people whine, they'd be happier if Microsoft ditched the whole Start Menu altogether and went with Android's interface.  In which case, they'll have lost any hope of retaining me as a customer.  I run all my PCs in full screen mode and I'd run my studio PC in it, too, if the idiots at Microsoft would put in the capability to stay in Tablet Mode when you have more than one monitor.  Ultimately, I think Nadella and his goons will dump tiles and just go back to icons.  That will make all the lame Win7 lovers happy, I'm sure.
  • "Ultimately, I think Nadella and his goons will dump tiles and just go back to icons." I really hope this doesn't happen.
  • Progressive web apps are still written in JavaScript and HTML5 as regular web apps. It is just impossible to port many existing native apps to web technologies without sacrificing the apps effectiveness. Even on fast chip-sets the native apps cause your phone to work longer without recharging. Developers will more likely invest in other cross-platform technologies, like Xamarin. Or they will continue to create multiple versions of the same app (one for each platform), as this is the most flexible approach. As for 5G, I guess it will make it possible to work with real-time remote apps running in Azure or on a remote Xbox. So you can, for example, play Call of Duty or Doom 4 on your mobile device.
  • Folks this 2 screen foldable Mini tablet will be a Mobile Personal Computer not a damn smart phone. Some models will have a built in LTE Cell phone but this device is a Mobile PC first and foremost. This means it is potentually able to run 100's of Thousands to Milions of PC programs Plus the apps that are already in the Windows 10 store which has thousnds of Apps and more are coming to it. THIS DEVICE WILL HAVE PLENTY OF SOFTWARE TO MAKE iT USEFUL  I think That Microsoft will really market this Mini Tablet PC Hybrid /Cell phone  because they are prepairing the windows 10 microsoft store to have Apps for it. I do not think they would do this unless microsoft is SERIOUS ABOUT MARKETING THIS DEVICE. I think it will debut September 2018  
  • Yes, but it will be a virtually useless form factor. I have a tablet for productivity.  And my current Windows Phone is productive ENOUGH without being some ugly, unwieldy, monstrosity that gives me some half-baked, split-seam clamshell like what's being suggested.  Current smartphones ARE mobile personal computers.  Whatever scaling Microsoft does with W10 to work on this THING could certainly be put on any ARM smartphone with similar processor and memory specs.  It wouldn't have to be a ridiculous two-baby-screens thing.  Nobody has explained how such a device would be actually USEFUL compared to current smarphones.  Why would anyone choose that kind of a device over their current smartphone?  Why would they choose that kind of a device over a REAL tablet, mini-tablet or laptop?  If anything, it's W10 on ARM that is the selling point, plus the ability to fully exploit PWAs. Neither of which requires this stupid dual screen thing.  It would appear that both of which could be loaded on any new (as in, new enough to have the right processor & memory) Android hardware--which is the only way Microsoft will get OEMs to bite.  Besides, having "plenty of software to make it useful" can easily be said about my Lumia 1020 or 950.  And having "plenty of software to make it useful" isn't the same has having plenty of the software people have been complaining as being missing Windows platforms.
  • Tablets are useless form factor for productivity and somehow you are using it. Let me guess, you have a keyboard attached? No one thought Surface was going to work, and now it is category that surpasses tablets. Who buys tablets anymore. It's only good for baby sitting.
  • The only thing I can think of by going with a folding device is portability which is of interest to me personally.
  • I hope this mythical Surface mini tablet/phone (Whatever it's going to be defined as) will at least have a continuum feature, so the device can be used as a phone, turn into a mini tablet, and then dock to virtually become your PC device.
  • By the way. Microshaft's achilles heel is not the app gap. It is Microshaft itself. Nothing is going to fix anything unless Microshaft starts putting in 110%. And I do not see that happening with Mobile. Ever! Prove me wrong people.
  • they should Just continue project astoria! they should let us run android apps on that windows 10 device
  • Jason, you don't need 5G for PWA you need OS and developer support as others have said. 4G/LTE is sufficient. Luckily PWAs will happen sooner than later as smaller devs are being locked out of the app stores. Other than games there are very few reasons "apps" for consumers need to exist in theory. The cost to publish Android/iOS and also maintain a webservice backend is really significant and a total drain on resources (time and money). This goes for local apps, banking, etc. PWAs eliminate the need to publish apps saving huge amounts of developer costs.  I'm not going back to Windows on phone devices anytime soon but PWAs are exciting nevertheless. I will port a business vb6 app over to PWA in fact that is locked out by all Microsoft's stupid .NET changes the last decade but runs great on windows PC/tablets and generates yearly subscription $ at little cost. This app could then run on PC, Surface, iPad, iPhone, Android, everything and anything. BTW I hate installing Android/iOS apps, updating them and the whole having them constantly update. Ironically MS-haters whine about monthly windows updates but don't mind draining their phone battery with 20-50 apps updating weekly LOL.
  • The same argument for PWAs can be used for Windowsphone and has. If Edge on Windows 10 Mobile runs PWA then a new device category is redundant. Several Vloggers on YouTube made pretty much this point 18 months ago. The problem is even if people use only 6 apps they are not all the same 6 apps. I use Android for mobile payments. Microsoft announced this for Windowsphone in 2012 and delivered it in a limited fashion in 2016 in the US only. A modern mobile platform should have payment apps or access to delivering payments like PayPal, banks etc. If PWA is successful then apps matter less for sure. However it also makes any Windowsphone perfectly usable too. 
  • This would depend if the network providers build out their networks fast enough.
  • If anything like this foldable device thing ever gets released, I'll blend then eat my 950XL. It seems like after everything that's happened with W10M and Nadella, no-one has actually learned anything from it all.
  • Hi Lee. Don't forget you said this😉
  • Please post this on youtube.  I think you'll be an instant star!
  • r/watchpeopledie
  • This site has become such trash. Nothing but changing narratives as to how Microsoft will make a comeback by blah blah blah. You've been speculating for like 3 years now as to what when and how this comeback will happen. You keep calling this new device a cellular PC that is pocketable but won't call it a smartphone. Guess what bro, if it can run apps, make calls, take a sim card and fit in my pocket it is a smartphone. Point blank. Microsoft has burned consumers time and again, this device will flop. Thanks for the speculative insight into vaporware
  • Couldn't agree more
  • Hi Antonio, by your definition (outside of fitting in a Pocket) a Surface Pro LTE and celluar PCs with eSIM, which can make Skype calls, and runs apps are smartphones. So, the only difference, from your perspective between a Windows 10 PC and a smartphone 📱 is pocketabilty. Because by your definition, especially in the case of celluar PCs which have smartphone-like long battery life, always connected status and instant-on and runs apps, functionally there is no difference. So, what if, instead of this device we're talking about here, which is assumed to be around 7" and pocketable, Apple or Samsung comes out with an 8" smartphone, which they market as such, which is NOT pocketable. Based on your definition, though functionally still the same, it would no longer be a smartphone. As a matter of fact some might argue that 7" isn't pocketable but there are 7" smartphones on the market. By your definition of requiring "pocketability" they are not smartphones for those who can't pocket a device of that size. So maybe what makes a difference between a smartphone and PC is different than what you define. Perhaps running a full PC OS, Core OS, that conforms to context CShell, that can run desktop and mobile apps and has a particular form factor and its intentional positioning in the market by its maker has more to do with whether something is a PC or a smartphone. Look I understand the debate. Years ago we would shop for a PC based on processor speed, RAM, storage capacity etc. Now we look for the same things in thr pocket computers we call smartphones. I've argued that even that "smartphone" designation is problematic for the devices we carry. But we all have our opinions and perspective. Thanks for joining the discussion and Happy Nee Year to you and yours!😃
  • So what, Jason. Everything you say, every argument you bring forward regarding PWAs and 5G
    applies to Linux (and Android) in the same way. When I buy an Android "phone" I get "real apps" plus PWAs. 
    On a Galaxy phone I even can invoke a full blown Ubuntu desktop on an external screen
    if I wanted to / needed to. If I need to get some real work done,
    I'll use my desktop or laptop featuring a powerful x86 processor and a 4K monitor. For the other stuff a standard mobile phone is good enough when I leave the house. However you try to slice and dice it:
    There is no "new category" stuff in sight for Microsoft currently.
    And "behind the curve" is quantum computing, not mobile.
    And that "curve" is another 10 years "down the road". In mobile Microsoft simply screwed up things badly - and repeatedly. Microsoft have walked away from a mobile deal with Intel
    because they were afraid they could not come up with the volume required to make it happen.
    Instead they waited for the times they could use a standard, off-the-shelf Snapdragon like everyone else. If rumors do become true, it will be Apple who strikes a deal with Intel.
    And the result of such a deal would potentially sink any other mobile ship in the market.
    But that is a whole different scenario. PWA and 5G does not improve anything for Microsoft - it excerberates things for them
    because they cannot keep up. Jason, you might be better off to jettison your (Microsoft) believe in this respect: You've been wrong multiple times as Microsoft has let us all down.
    And having been wrong multiple of times statistically does not bode well
    for being right the next time relying on the same old failed paradigm. Microsoft will continue to succeed in the cloud - serving everything that is out there. Windows-on-ARM practically is Windows 10 S. Which fully relies on the Store.
    A Store hosts apps. Microsoft killed W10M citing a lack of apps in the Store.
    And now they are trying to sell us the very same concept in a slightly different guise.   .
  • You don't think PWA's will benefit those that are on Windows 10 S?  If the app isn't in the store would the user not be able to launch a browser to get to additional apps? Also, Windows on ARM is not Windows 10 S.  From my understanding, Windows on ARM will allow you to install 32 bit applications and run them through an emulator.
  • I have hearning Web apps will replace native apps from Bada OS days (2013). Then Bada OS failed, Firefox OS failed, Tizen Mobile failed even Chrome OS failed and had to addopt Android apps. And if Windows rins web apps just like every platform what makes them special ?
  • Nothing makes MS special, but if you look at where we are now in 2018, the Google, Microsoft and reported Apple will be embracing PWAs. In fact MS and Google (surprisingly I'm sure to some) have been working together on this. Also, the difference between now and 2013 is that the current app model has become far less efficient. Also web apps (PWAs) have evolved and become more app like over time. With support from big players like Apple, Google and Microsoft, and with the evolution they've already undergone, PWA have more momentum behind them than ever and are far more likely to begin moving into the mainstream at a larger scale this year forward.
  • Apple still hasn't made any statement regarding their support for PWA.
  • Better yet, they have started to release actual support!
  • Happy New Year everyone. Let's hope this device comes out and is as good as some people here think it's going to be.
  • HTML5 is less of a standard than people think. The way companies manipulate standads for competative advantage is the reason MS will always be chasing the tail of rhe dragon when it comes to Browser wars until they regain control (wont ever happen again) . It used to be MS was driving the standrds but that has shifted to Google for better or worse (better for Google, worse for everyone else). Google releases a new element and it gets rubber stamped as a "standard".  The Browser gap is the new AppGap under PWA. 
  • " It used to be MS was driving the standards " MIcrosoft would always agree to insustry wide standards, but then proceed to essentially say, "but here is our standard" Microsoft always had it's own twist on standards that seemd to throw gotcha's into development.  
  • It would be ironic if a technology pushed by Google ended up being Microsoft's lifeline back into the mobile computing market, given how Google seemed to willfully try to destroy Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile by withholding some of the apps that people wanted the most on thse platform.
  • As I understand it 5G infrastructure will make coverage very limited. PWA's sure - over time that makes sense. But I don't think that generic universal cross platform apps are windows selling point - I think high powered, high quality software is. Certainly they might fill a consumer gap - but I expect this folding device will be pricey - so really what MS needs is enterprise and creativity software, prosumer stuff, maybe gaming. PC type stuff, the stuff that is crappy on android and ios. And THIS, is why I am still waiting for baited breath for windows on ARM, an environment where UWP will run better, and thus encourage desktop devs over to UWP. MS doesn't need to mirror its opposition. It needs to have a moat - something you can do on a mobile device, you can't do on the others. Photoshop. Ableton. Office. Archeticture. 3D design. Databasing. Once it has a moat, then it can worry about competiting in the same areas as its opposition.
  • Ward I think you missed a big part of the puzzle... WASM (Web Assembly), this is arguable way bigger than 5G.  Web Assembly is a binary language for the Web and will bring native speeds to PWAs.  Additionally Web Assembly can be compiled from many existing languages.  Currently C, C++, and Objective C are support with garbage collection to be added in WASM2.0 this will allow languages like Java, Swift, and .Net (C#, VB, F#, etc...).  PWA/WASM are the ultimate evolution of the app model.  PWA/WASM install like shortcuts, update like web pages, perform like native programs, uninstall complete clean, super light weight, OS agnostic, programming language agnostic.  People should be able to covert previously written apps to PWA/WASM pretty easily.  This is the ultimate Write once, deploy everywhere Technology.  I can not overstate that this will CHANGE EVERYTHING.  This will destroy the walled garden for Apps.  This will destroy the GooglePlay version of Android/Chrome OS, and Windows on Third Party Consumer devices, but will birth a new OS world order where vendors will evolve to an Apple like model where they own the software and hardware.  Expect MS to Evolve their first party Surface devices to fill the void by other manufactures leaving MS in the Consumer space.  They will remain strong in the enterprise for the forseeable future due to backward compatability issues (this may not last long as people may compile old projects to WASM).  I am supprised that I don't see much about these two technologies talked about togeather.  I don't think people or even the big tech companies understand the disruption this is about to make.  This will be great disruption and will bring about a new era of computing.  
  • All this will only work if apple allows them to.   If apple blocks pwa on safari you are done apple customers are hard to ignore (am a dev) apps for ios will continue to exist
  • Well, if Android and Windows deliver compelling apps under this model then they will have no choice but to support it. Devs will follow suit because it's easier to write, support and update.
  • Well you are missing one very important point, you don't need Safari on Apple devices. You can already get Edge and Chrome on them.
  • But Edge and Chrome on iOS are basically Safari, only dressed differently.
  • The biggest issue I see with PWA is battery/ram consumption. They are horrible for every device's battery and other resources. Just convince yourself by opening the Windows 10 Twitter app and the PWA in any browser and watch them in Task Manager. Most of the PWA apps are just "lite" versions of the full native apps, have their limitations, and there's still a long way to go for them to replace native apps. Sure, a simple news website can easily take advantage of PWA, but don't expect Facebook or Snapchat to jump in the boat any time soon. Native is still the way to go for the big players.
    Also, Apple doesn't seem that much into PWAs, and the lack of Apple's support might prevent most important apps to refrain from going PWA.
    And let's not forget that they're written, a single threaded language...
  • When I’m introspective about the last few years I think the biggest mistake that we made, as a company, is betting too much on HTML5 as opposed to native… because it just wasn’t there. And it’s not that HTML5 is bad. I’m actually, on long-term, really excited about it.
    Mark Zuckerberg
  • App gap? Those days are over, yeoman. These days - in mobile - Microsoft suffers nothing more than a "market gap". Microsoft has a decade long history
    of being able to repeatedly hit their (potential) customers over the head
    and escape completely unscathed - each and every time. That has impragnated a certain feeling of immunity into the Microsoft corporate culture. Those days (of immunity) are gone. .
  • Web apps are horrible - Twitter consumes half a gigabyte of DRAM. You can run a Linux server in 1 GB of DRAM. PWAs are a stopgap at best - but they are not a solution. .  
  • Just continue project astoria! let us run android apps on that windows 10 device
  • If I was reading this a week ago I would have wholeheartedly agreed, but since then my views have changed. Last week I picked up my first Android phone. A oneplus 5t. I won't go into great detail, but it's fair to say that I'm highly impressed. The biggest thing I'm enjoying is having decent apps that are fully functional and actually useful. And this is where my concerns for pwa lie. The best example I can think of is with LinkedIn. On windows phone I gave up with the awful app and just used edge. On android I've been using the app and it's really useful. My messages and alerts come through as notifications, so I can action them immediately instead of having to open edge and navigate to the website. For me that's a big deal. But it's not just LinkedIn.  All of my banking apps on w10m died over the course of the past 2 years. Obviously they all work just fine on android and it's incredibly helpful to open the app, login with a fingerprint and receive urgent alerts in the notification panel if there are any issues. That's just a couple of examples of where apps beat out using the web. Heck, even the windows central app on android is a lot better than using the website. I'm not sure how developers are going to address the issues of creating web apps that are as fully integrated and functional as traditional store apps, but unless they do it's going to be a really tough sell. Microsoft still need to work hard to make windows 10 the OS of choice for developers and users. They still need to make hardware that consumers **** after. I love Microsoft products and services and really want to come back to a windows mobile solution. But I've seen the other side and honestly, Microsoft have some real work to do
  • All those things that you mentioned can be done with pwas.
  • wrong, it has a lot of limitations.  read
    Progressive web apps have limited capabilities when it comes to offering integration with a smartphone or tablet’s hardware features   PWAs have limited capabilities when it comes to offering integration with a smartphone or tablet’s hardware features such as NFC and Bluetooth functionality as well as the device’s sensor package (accelerometer, fingerprint sensor, etc.). This prevents PWAs from being developed for use with mobile accessories and “wearables” like smart watches, fitness trackers and wireless earphones
  • Hi jcmg62 PWAs can give notifications, work offline, be distributed through the store, give alerts, have Cortana integration, a Live Tile etc. In a nutshell, they can act just like traditional apps.
  • Jason, I'm aware of push notifications and the like, but do you have a link to the Cortana/Live Tile integrations part? I'd be interested in that. Or is this in relation to the APPX thing which seems more or less like Windows specific Phone Gap/Cordova.
  • Ehm. finally got to see surface(pro) personally. Was awesome. Microsoft big mistake is missing stores.
  • This is wishful thinking.  Google is doing the same thing with Instant Apps.  And they have already rolled this out to Android devices.  You access the apps inside of the Google app, they go away when you are not using them and they are not permanently installed on your device.  You do need to have Google Play services for Instant Apps installed on your device.  It is a boon for people needing apps on smaller 8 GB phones Microsoft should have gotten ahead of the curve and offered this on Windows Phone 8.1 through Internet Explorer.  Windows Phone never would have been in the space it is now had that happened, and I would still be using my old Lumia device.
  • It's actually pragmatic thinking. Google and Microsoft have actually worked and are working together on PWAs. Odd, I know, but true😉
  • I... don't think this is a bad take, although I don't think 5G is substantially important to it (I'm guessing the angle is speed so fast it feels native, but when most of the resources are loaded in cache, I'd argue 4G is fine. And if they're configured for offline usage, all the better there) For me, I have a pretty fair interest in doing iOS development. Android? Not really an urge at all. But PWAs? Very appealing. Unlike iOS development, I'm not tied down to OSX to develop in (I can do it in OSX, Windows, Linux, or I guess FreeBSD and the like if really froggy). PWAs also feel great in Android in an almost native app manner. iOS, they're treated as any other tab in iOS Safari, but that's okay because the sites are still nice. Using Twitter in the screenshot above is a fantastic example: once they released their updated web app leveraging React, I deleted the app from my phone as the web app now handled everything I wanted the app to and handles very well. And I see people are saying that PWAs will somehow be better in Chrome than any other browser and this is kind of in the middle. Yes, most people who are developing right now are developing against Chrome so it essentially makes Chrome the de facto target. However, there is nothing preventing Edge, Safari, or any other browser from leveraging the same API calls in a manner similar to how Chrome does it. So if the team working on Edge essentially apes Chromium for everything but then figures out a novel way to handle a function that is faster and nets same results, then in theory Edge could be better for PWAs. Long story short, it really depends. Goes without saying, but I do welcome this future.
  • That’s more like it. I use internet on my 950XL to do my major stuff anyway. Hope Microsoft will stick a decent camera in there as my Lumia still takes better quality pictures than the newest Iphone
  • Buying data and voice from the store?  Whoa.  That'd be a game changer.
  • "If foldable launches in late 2018 ....". There is the flaw in your argument. MS announces stuff and either cans it, delays it or fails to support it. Maybe foldable will appear, maybe not, but do not believe it until it is available for sale and definitely do not believe it if Nadella talks about it.
  • The app is great but will there be more then 200k devices app, games, social app and etc. to compete with other OS? If not, will MS makes the mobile development friendly instead of dead road for buyers and fans by previously killing OneDrive and Lumia and never keep promise. I don't mind some bug in the OS system but If I worry it will diminished after a year as it has already did, why should I try it?
  • So many holes. So many holes. First, this assumes that competitors stand still and don't also build the same form factor and don't provide access to the same PWAs. There needs to be a unserved HOLE in the market for a new product to become successful and competitors have to be very late to the game. Unfortunately for Windows it has two--and potentially four (macOS and ChromeOS)--very aggressive competitors who are also well positioned to serve that same niche. PWAs are the bread-and-butter of ChromeOS. Why would you go with a second rate PWA imitation (Edge) when you can have the real deal (Chrome). Second, the UWP "app gap" has set in. Windows 10 has the advantage of the desktop legacy to keep it relevant, but, if it weren't for all the DESKTOP users Windows 10 as a touch-heavy OS would be down in the single digits in terms of market share easily out-competed by iOS and Android. People "KNOW" from first hand experience that the Microsoft Store is only there for trivial stuff and that the QUALITY of the apps on the desktop is LOW. Now, please be clear, I'm arguing that the PERCEPTION--whether deserved or not--is WIDESPREAD that the Microsoft Store is irrelevant. It will take YEARS for Microsoft to overcome that widespread perception AFTER it rectifies any real problems. From my perspective the real problems are not so much the "app gap" but the QUALITY GAP. The app gap isn't that big of a deal. Yes, developers pretty much ignore Windows 10 as a touch platform which means that app-only services exist exclusively on iOS and Android. Look at WhatsApp, for example. Last time I tried getting it on a desktop it was onerous and not at all simple. The problem with Windows 10 UWP is that the apps written for it are largely low quality. The UWP interface on desktops is MEDIOCRE. I shy away from UWP/Microsoft Store apps because they typically have a poor interface. They're not particularly well thought out and the UWP interface is not exactly something to write home about. In my typical interaction with Windows 10 I never use UWP apps unless begrudgingly forced to. The Photos app is annoying and not particularly user-friendly on a desktop. Aside from that I really can't think of any UWP apps I use, EVER. What an app like Photos might have done for me in the past is done ONLINE through Google's Photos site. It too is not a great solution, but, it's no worse than Photos, and, unlike Photos, Google Photos is in the cloud which means any changes I make there are instantly recorded and available on all devices. Third, in what world are cellular providers going to voluntarily give up control over the devices they sell and the networks they operate on? Selling data through the Microsoft Store. Ha! Cellular providers aren't going to promote (expensive) devices that can easily be moved from one network to another AND subsidize them. Without subsidies it's hard to get expensive devices into users hands unless they're game changers. Over-sized tablets and under-sized laptops that are connected to cellular data networks are nothing new. The industry's been there, done it, and bought the t-shirt. These foldable devices that (a few) people are fantasizing about are entrants into a market already served by iPads and <13.3" notebooks.
  • Good points here! And realistic ones! Unfortunately, blind delusional fanboys here will ignore this as they always do, and continue to hope that Microshit will somehow amaze everyone with a new outstanding device! They will only amaze with more killoffs, more FAILURES and lies as they always do.... Users can already have tablets, REAL tablets with a REAL TOUCH UI like ipads and android ones, with LTE connectivity, or notebooks with SIM trays, so NO, MS has nothing new here. I've said it all the time, and I'll say it again, for a pocket device, no matter what you desperate fanboys call it, you need MOBILE APPS!!! TOUCH friendly apps which are MISSING because Microshit made sure to PI$$ off on devs and users several times, and lost support and confidence. PWAs will solve NOTHING for MS because those are also made by DEVS which will focus, IF they will ever focus on that, on making them better on Chrome and Safari, from the two major platforms: Android and IOS! What on earth makes you fanboys think devs will ever trust and support Microshit again??
  • Jason, starting the new year with more delusional Microshit fanboy predictions? :) MS will FAIL more this year and become ever more pathetic than they already are.
  • What's worst than a fanboy is a pathetic hater. Why do losers like you post on sites like this if you hate the company so much? I'll continue to reap the rewards of Microsoft's "failures" in the form of increased stock prices, while you'll still be a jobless bum.
  • The app gap will always be there for Microsoft.   PWAs won’t change anything, because they will be available everywhere.   So iOS users have PWAs plus all the great apps they now have.  Windows will just have PWAs.   So still less to choose from.  Still app gap.  
  • I've done a bit of web development so the idea of PWA's going big is exciting to me....but I have major concerns. One of the claims of is the claim that people seem to see as a positive and that is: "obtaining apps without requiring them to install an app from the app store/ play store". Having a store that goes through and perges most of the crap out is one thing I really like. I'm more likely to download software or encourage others to download software if it comes from a store rather than the Wild West Web. Not to mention how much that could hurt the discoverability of an app with it not being in the store.