Well this blog post has been floating around in my head for some time as I have banged the ideas back and forth. It was actually a discussion with a co-worker, hey Tom, that gave me the key I was looking for.
I am sure analysis has been done on this subject from every direction but I am going to add a twist in that I think the success of the iPad and iPhone shows that Windows Phone 7 will be successful as well. Now Apple has a significant head start there is no denying that and Windows Phone 7 has some serious ground to make up and I believe they will. Why do I say that? Look at the Xbox – it lost money when it was first out on the market and last year it helped increase the Entertainment Divisions revenue by over 55%. It shows that Microsoft will stick with something even when it looks like a losing effort. I think that is where we are with Windows Phone 7. It may take some time for the mobile operating system to become profitable but it will be profitable and considered a success.
So some of you may be wondering what this has to do with Apple’s iPad and iPhone.
Let’s start by taking a look at why those devices are so popular and sell the way they do. I believe it is in the simplicity of how they function. They do not require much configuration and function right out of the box so that most anyone can make the purchase take it home and be up and running on it in very short order. The interface is straight forward and the app store makes it easy to find programs that do the thing someone wants to do. A quick search for a keyword brings the apps right to the screen for the user to select from. It is usually a couple of taps and it is purchased and installed. Again simplicity is the key. What is amazing is despite its simplicity even geeks and tweakers love the device.
This is where my co-worker Tom comes into play. We were having a discussion about tech and I bounced a couple of my comments off him about why the iPad and iPhone are so popular and he commented that they really cater to the AOL crowd.
He was right on the mark. Think about it. Back in the infancy of the Internet how did the everyday users get online? Well it was usually because they received an AOL or COMPUSERVE CD-ROM in the mail and all they had to do was toss it in their computer, follow some on screen prompts and they were connected to the Internet. It took very little besides a modem, phone line, a credit card and of course one of the many online service CD-ROM’s that were everywhere.
This is how many people first experienced the Internet and today there are many who continue to get their Internet in a very similar manner. AOL was all about consumption and that is exactly what the iPad and iPhone are also about. From the neophyte to the hard core tweaker.
So how does this compare to my thoughts that this same concept will be the basis of Windows Phone 7’s success? Well it is the same concept. Previous Windows Mobile OS’s had their share of configuration needs and I can remember seeing many people and their phones not using half the capabilities of the OS and hardware.
Now here comes Windows Phone 7 with its’ live tile concept and a lock screen that gives you a one glance check to see if you have new email or other info from the apps you have pinned to your start screen. I just mentioned the other side of this equation and that is the apps. Earlier versions of Windows Mobile required you to find a site with the software you wanted. You then had to download either the CAB file or executable and subsequently search for that file on your phone to begin the installation process. Some programs required you to hook your phone up to your PC and either install or transfer the program via Active Sync.
Now with Windows Phone 7 there is an app store that makes installing apps as easy as just a few taps on the screen. You can search for your functionality, feature or app name to find what you want and get it installed. Simplicity. Everyone gets this concept as well because all the major manufacturers now have app stores and we are even seeing them make their way onto the desktop.
Those features and Microsoft’s past efforts to stick with a product to see it reach maturity will spell the success of Windows Phone 7.
Oh yeah one other thing, and this is something I discussed with my friend Gil from GilsMethod.com, the recent deal between Microsoft and Nokia has just opened up the Windows Phone 7 platform to an entire new community of users and developers. That will make a positive impact on this success as well.
Now we just have to watch and see it happen.
P.S. And before someone says it let me – this is no Kin.