If one thing is certain it's that the smartphone industry is getting crowded. With three major Operating Systems and a fourth looking to rise from the ashes later this year, it's hard to stick out sometimes. I feel for Microsoft, I do, they've got a good product on their hands in the form Windows Phone, as Windows Mobile they pioneered the smartphones we enjoy today. It was clear they had to do something to become relevant again and they came up with Windows Phone 7 and the Metro UI which I've always had a fondness for. Whilst Windows Phone is now an established name in mobile – whether or not it holds much market share – I doubt many of us here would say that Windows Phone represents a platform we could switch to comfortably.
Microsoft seem to have understood this judging by a patent originally filed in 2010 it'd appear that Microsoft were looking for potential switchers from Android or iOS – BlackBerry clearly not an issue for big bad M$ – and set them up with the apps they know and love. The patent details a method to somehow scan the user's Android or iDevice and finds applications that match those installed in the Windows Phone Marketplace. However the patent goes a little further than that though and Microsoft seemed to have envisioned being somehow able to carry these apps over, if no viable alternative exists.
This all sounds very nice, doesn't it? To be able to shift to another platform and bring our beloved apps with us. However, if any of us were to jump ship – don't leave us, pretty please? – to be able to bring viable alternatives or indeed the apps themselves sounds like a perfect solution. When I migrated from the Dark Side (iOS) back in 2010 I did my research to find my alternate apps and, of course, I had all the apps I could have ever needed and I never looked back. It's a decision that I never regretted and I couldn't be happy to be part of this massive community.
In theory, this is all very cute and whatnot but, I don't see how they could have ever pulled this off. For one, Apple's iOS uses Objective-C as a platform to develop apps for iOS, which is a language that gets about as proprietary as can be and with Apple's bloodthirsty nature I doubt they'd have a chance of getting this past Apple's bloodhound lawyers. As for Android, this could have been done, RIM did this with the Playbook and it certainly worked, they had Android apps running alright, but it didn't help them any, did it? It's interesting to see that if this came to fruition perhaps Android wouldn't be enjoying it's near 35% share of the market.