Microsoft introduced their new Windows Phone platform earlier this month and I must admit it’s good to see them re-entering the smartphone market. It should be of no shock to anyone that Microsoft has some big name partners in their corner since many of the current mobile software developers got their start and recognition during the Pocket PC/Windows Mobile days and some as far back as Palm OS. But it will take more than just a large third party software store to push this platform into mass acceptance.
Microsoft has enough money to throw at Windows Phone until it’s successful, but the real test will be how WP7 is welcomed in the first 6-12 months. While many have expressed their pleasure with the OS it says nothing about the average consumer as they must be the ones to like it. This is also a double edged sword because just like Android it will be on multiple carriers produced by multiple manufactures. So yes, it will get into many peoples hands, but is it a device of choice or a device of convenience. Most of the people I work with for example have been getting new Android phones because it’s a free, a low cost upgrade or just don’t want to switch to another carrier for a device that would better suite their needs. Heck, those that do have a smartphone don’t even know what it’s capable of and will never use it beyond making calls and the usual text and mms messaging. Sure, some of them purchase a game or two once in a while, surf the net and even watch a video but almost none of them sync their devices to their home PC or any type of online service. That is my biggest fear of all as it reduces the need for companies like Apple, HTC or Samsung to innovate and think outside of the box.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that WP7 will need to get a very warm welcome from people who will truly use the platform for what it is. People will not only have to choose a Windows Phone but keep it and choose it again the next time they upgrade devices in order for it to be truly successful.
I also feel Microsoft’s claim of all WP7 phones (at least on AT&T from my understanding) will be $199 may spell disaster as something on the hardware side may have to suffer in order to keep that price point. Again stifling future innovation. Once consumers grow accustomed to paying a particular price point anything higher just doesn’t cut it. Just check out the Apple AppStore and Android Market Place and you’ll see what I mean. It’s become a race to the bottom in some respects. Just a few thoughts from the back of the room.