I have attended the online launch of the latest Windows Phone 7, just yesterday afternoon (for those of you still hanging around Europe..), and I dare say I was impressed!
Allow me to give you a little background: my first “smartphone” was an HTC running on Windows Mobile platform. I truly hated it, it was a small PC trasformed into a phone, with the logic of a PC running behind phone usage and needs. A mess. To me, mind you.
So, from that stage onward, I tried a fair few phones, better mobile OSs, and I did not make my mind around anything at all. First and foremost, since “you” are claiming the phone is a “do-all”, I actually want it all. Properly. Every combination of OS/device/network provider did not satisfy me completely. Ah, yep, pricing!!
All in all, I did not even consider Microsoft a viable option for my likings. Not a chance.
Why is that? Provided I was an Ocean away from “the real thing”, my first impression was: I am seeing something I have never seen before! I am quite into the look of things, since it gives me the overall feeling for the mental process, market aims, “how-to-hit-in-a-blink” attitude of the team(s) behind any development, and in this case I definitely liked what I saw.
All other mobile experiences are pretty much the same form a visual stand point, some homepages to turn, brighter colours, some fiddling about, but you definitely feel “at ease”, it is a phone, it is a “normal” phone, you are in your comfort zone. This “thing” is different, beginning with the font layout, the organisation of the words, the different font size. Know what? It reminded me of a glossyfashion magazine, or a trendy website. I would be interested to “look at it”, it drags me out from my “lazy user” shell and call me to “action”.
It is fast. Again, I have to try first, but it looks like being real fast. Application swap, and the actual use within applications seems real quick, rewarding and in line with XXI century media experience expectations. Another good shot.
It is positioned as a Hub, indeed it has the hub concept built within the WP7 conceptual framework itself. And this is real cool, I like the idea of having my “transmedia digital lifestyle” remote in my hand, ready to play and distribute pieces of my “digital-me” to the application/device/recipient I believe it is best suited. It is almost a nonsense to assume any mobile device will absorb the rest of the digital ecosystem into a massive, Device Almighty. Portability, screen size, processing power, price, are all factors of endless permutations manufacturers cannot fulfil. Unless the Hub concept comes into play. Something that allow the user to check, experience, engage and use the elapsed time between “other devices” in the best possible and efficient/rewarding way. This is the keyword: rewarding.
Whether rewarding is “money”, “fun”, “friendship building” or “else”, the device has to be multipurpose but not Almighty. And, almost forgotten, the OS comes massively into play. WP7 seems to me to have embedded this approach, this philosophy, “I am your digital hub, keep track of it all, then complete the experience or task whenever, wherever you want. If you need to”.
Now the War. True, WP7 comes out with some delay, compared to Apple and Android. DELAY???? Do come along…
There is no delay here! The Mobile Value Net, that includes OS/Device/Network/Applications is a moveable feast, every day different from the day before, as a user you cannot keep up with the race, and every single combination of the above (e.g. when a new device is launched…) re-shape the tribes and the market clusters. What instead Microsoft should be worried about is the uptake ramp, whether the early adopters have got a natural “consecutio” with a larger market tribe the company already own or control, and furthermore whether the user experience can be enhanced simply by the application layer or there is a need for a fast v.2 of the OS.
This without considering the impact that handset manufacturs will have on the faith of the entire operation. I won’t (and lots of others like me) buy anything in the mobile arena simply because I like ONE single factor of the above value chain. I have to trade off, most certainly, but I have to like the value combination I have been offered. So, I love the way WP7 looks like, I know I will need a few applications but not an endless row of silly things to show and forget about, but I also know that, the user I am, I do need some hardware specs, device size et alia…
In a few word, I am haunting for my Personal Mobile Experience. Me and a few hundred millions of others are not dedicated to Apple, to Android, to Nokia or Samsung, or any other brand. We are dedicated to ourselves and our lives, and we want to hold something that makes our digital lifestyle more comfortable and convenient, enjoyable and fun, effective and rewarding.
Yesterday I have liked what I saw, now it is up to Microsoft and Partners to have me as client!!