Tag Archives | windowsphone

No more Mango, please

I am excited about Windows Phone 7.5. Finally, it looks like Microsoft has found a recipe that works. The phone has a unique user interface, which boldly is introduced into the future desktop Windows 8 too. App developers are showing more and more interest. Nokia is onboard and from what I can tell from those behind the scenes, the soon-to-be-released Windows Phones by Nokia look like a million dollars.

But Microsoft has to get its act together on the single most important aspect of the Windows Phone marketing: the name of the product.

Microsoft officials and partners have to agree on what to call it, and then be consistent. Depending on who you listen to, the product name is: “Windows Phone 7.5”, “Mango”, “WP”, “Windows Phone” or even “Windows Phone 7.1” (if you’re talking to a developer). That’s five different names, and I might have missed one. I am fully aware of the background for each different name option, but there’s no reason to be inconsistent moving forward.

Just take a look at this most recent Engadget article about Windows Phones. How many different names for the product is mentioned? Appropriately, the subject matter of the article is Microsoft setting aside $44 million for Windows Phone marketing…

A recent study showed that 45% of customers in a phone store don’t even know that there are Windows Phones. Microsoft can’t afford confusing the customer and the market anymore. It’s time to call out the name. Windows Phone. And if it’s important in the context to provide a version number: Windows Phone 7.5. No more “Mango” and no more “WP” and no more…
Get it right now, please, Microsoft.

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Windows Phone 7 marketing campaign

Windows Phone 7 is released today in the US. The marketing message is summed up by the company by the question: “Really?” The press release explains:

The phone is being launched into a crowded marketplace, but Microsoft hopes it stands out with features designed “to get you in, and out, and back to life,” Peters said. He said Windows Phone 7 is an antidote to poor smartphone design that keeps people fumbling with their phones as they walk down the block or sit down to dinner with family.

… and the video below shows some funny moments where the (mis)use of a mobile phone leads to unwanted situations.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHlN21ebeak

While I think the marketing message correctly, and with humor, points out some of the issues with the misuse of mobile phones, it doesn’t really make sense. Here is why:

  • Poor product design rarely leads to excessive misuse. Users simply don’t voluntarily use products that are poorly designed. The assumption that competing phones are poorly designed is illogical.
  • Great product design, to the contrary, does invite to more use (sometimes leading to excessive use).
  • The user interface of the Windows Phone 7 start screen does contain more information than app icons, but it is not logical to assume that the excessive use illustrated by stories and video comes from finding out number of unread email, viewing images of Facebook contacts. Instead, it is more likely the case that the users are reading emails, Facebook posts, watching videos or are or are simply using their favorite apps. A Windows Phone 7 user is likely to want to do the same.

So, if the Windows Phone 7 user adopts the same “questionable behavior” (as the press release puts it), what then is really the message in the marketing campaign? Put your phone away? That’s a strange message from a company that makes it money from us using the phones, and actually reminds me of the marketing by the Swedish state owned liquor monopoly “Systembolaget” which markets alcohol saying: “Don’t drink!”.

Strange marketing message aside, I’m looking forward to getting to use a Windows Phone 7 myself. No marketing message in the world beats hands on experience!

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No apps for Windows Phone 7?

Apps are the major factor behind the success of any phone. Therefore I hope the rumor of no apps for Windows Phone 7 users is untrue.

Here is the rumor:
When Windows Phone 7 is available in stores, only users with US Live-IDs will have access to the Marketplace. Possibly other larger markets will be included, but the rumor has Swedish users waiting way into 2011 for downloading apps.

If true, I’m flabbergasted. Especially on a day like this, when iPhone and Android users worldwide have accounted for 7 billion downloads.

Keeping my fingers crossed, hoping the rumor is untrue.

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It’s about the downloads

So, you want to explore this new mobile channel. Have a product or service that you want to offer? Great!

Now, you need to decide where to make this product and service available. So many options…

There’s one billion Java-enabled phones on the planet. That’s more than iPhone and Android put together and then some. So, it’s a no brainer. If you want to reach most phone users with your app, build Java apps.

Not.

If one billion Java-phone users download near zero apps, then it makes no sense at all. It’s about the downloads, not number of phones.

Currently, only two platforms have users that look for, browse, download, buy and use apps: iPhone and Android.

Users of Symbian phones, Blackerry, and Windows Mobile have quite a few apps to choose from, but they don’t. Windows Phone 7 users will also have apps to choose from, but currently there are no Windows Phone 7 phones. And when they are released, for some obscure reason, Microsoft will allow users from only a few countries to download apps at all.

Then we have web apps for mobile devices. They are nice and HTML 5 is promising. But there are still no payment mechanism for web apps, and when given a choice between app and browser, the user chooses the app. This might change, but it hasn’t yet.

So, if you want to explore the new mobile channel, focus on apps, downloads and Android and iPhone. This will hold until 2012. At least.

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What platforms to build apps for today?

You are wondering what platforms to build apps for today?

  • … there are only two relevant platforms in the market: iPhone and Android. No other platform has users with an app download pattern. In other words, only users of iPhone- and Android-phones download apps to any relevant degree.
  • … Windows Mobile 6.x-, Symbian-, and Blackberry-users are not downloading apps to any noticeable degree… rendering these platforms irrelevant.
  • … Windows Phone 7 is very likely to do better than its predecessor, but still there are no phones on the market… rendering this platform irrelevant (if the keyword is “today”)

Since the iPhone is the forerunner, start out your app-adventure on the iPhone. Don’t take any shortcuts. Go Objective C and Cocoa Touch. Then broaden and include Android.
Keep an eye on the next generation Symbian-, Blackberry- and WP7 phones, but don’t waste energy there today.

This strategy will be good at least to January 2011.

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