Windows phones have largely been the underdog in the mobile market, while Android has reigned supreme in the mobile scene for the past few years. With apps galore and huge amounts of publicity from Internet giant Google, Android phones have proved that joining forces with Google is a great marketing strategy. iPhones have not trailed too far behind due to their sleek designs and compatibility with Macs and other Apple products. However, the new Windows phone, nicknamed McLaren, is said to be adding a game changer to the mobile phone market – 3D gesturing.
Finally, Windows mobile comes out with an improvement that is unmatchable by its competitors. Whether the enhancement proves to be merely a useless gimmick or a parlor trick to impress one’s friends, or if it truly proves to be revolutionary is still unknown. Samsung’s immensely popular Galaxy series phones featured similar additions in the S4 and S5 that on paper seemed very impressive, but failed to wow critics, who believed them to be rather anticlimactic in practice. However, it appears as though the list of 3D gestures of which Windows phones will be capable may be a welcome and useful addition that even the most casual user can use in their daily lives.
McLaren, which appears to be a reference to the company that made the fastest production car for over 10 years, could be just the edge for which Windows phones have been hoping, since their products are not as app-filled as the mighty Android nor as fashionable as the iPhone. Surprisingly, the sensor that will make all of the gestures possible, the Capri, which was first featured on both models of the Kinect, is actually made by a subsidiary of Apple. Oddness aside, the preliminary list of gestures that the Kinect-based product touts is very productive and user friendly.
Among the included gestures are new ways to control phone calls such as answering the phone by bringing it up to one’s ear, muting by covering the phone’s face with a hand or chest, turning on speaker phone by placing it on the table, and ending the call by placing the phone back in the user’s pocket (or presumably, purse). But the gestures do not stop there. Consumers can turn the phone on simply by gripping it, zoom and scroll through pages without touching the screen, and even expose hidden tiles by air-tapping over certain apps. For example, frequent Facebook users can air-tap the Facebook icon, which will expose the messages and notifications that were once hidden.
Nokia has been tied to the Windows mobile name for some time now and it will be no different this time around. The 3D gestures will be added to the successor Lumia 1020, and again will feature a powerful camera that dominates the backside of the phone. It appears that as long as Microsoft and Nokia can get all their ducks in a row before releasing the latest installment in the Lumia series, these improvements to the Windows 8.1 operating software will be decisive for the Windows mobile brand. Perhaps the addition of 3D gesturing might even sway some of the most loyal-to-the-core Android fans to the dark side by the force of new Windows phones.
By Eddie Mejia