Archive | 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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What Nokia + Microsoft means

Today’s announcement about the strategic alliance between Microsoft and Nokia is an interesting move. Both companies have been suffering on the phone market and will now join forces. The alliance is important for both. Microsoft gets a premium phone maker and Nokia gets a global app platform. The following are the key points in the alliance:

  • Nokia brings its expertise on hardware design and its reach into a broader price range.
  • The two companies will collaborate on product development and have a common roadmap.
  • Bing will power Nokia’s search services across Nokia devices and services.
  • Nokia Maps will be a core part of Microsoft’s mapping services.
  • Nokia’s content and application store will be integrated with Microsoft Marketplace

My guess is that we will see the first Nokia phone running Windows Phone in time for Christmas 2011. In the meantime, the Windows Phone platform has got a vital energy boost.

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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.

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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