In my book Windows Phone has a few things going for it. First of all the refreshing Modern UI, which some people hate, but I find to be playful, functional and beautiful. Secondly: high-quality, beautiful devices from the likes of Nokia and even HTC which attract the eyes of consumers with their colors and style. However there are some indications that all of this might change in the near future and not for the better.

I’m not referring to the operating system UI, which Microsoft has made quite clear that it’s committed to. Yes, Modern as a design language has become the Redmond company's primary focus going forward, integrating it in all of their products, like the recently launched Xbox One, and Windows 8. The multi-colored live-tiled interface is here to stay and that for one makes me happy.

What I’m referring to is the hardware side. Things might soon shift back towards the colorless slabs of glass and metal that were, and still are in large part, the de facto standard of smartphone and tablet design.

If we go back to 2010, when Windows Phone first launched, you might remember that the original line-up of devices had pretty much the same look and feel to them. Whether it was the HTC Mozart, or the Samsung Omnia 7 or even the Dell Venue Pro with its physical keyboard, all the devices were pretty much the same. Sure, some had rounder corners, other had straight ones and the phones differed somewhat in terms of internals but from a user’s point of view they were all the same plastic slab with a screen thrown on top.

Going a bit further we can easily say that all smartphones back then looked like that. Following Apple’s sterile iPhone design codes, which it had adopted years earlier for the iPod and Mac devices, all companies churned out black, uninspiring handsets. Yes, some of them could be rather beautiful, especially when they were the original design and not copycats. The iPhone 4 as well as some HTC handsets are good examples of this but the market quickly got saturated with the same design being rehashed over and over again by all the OEMs.

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