NEW YORK – The most memorable tag line for Windows Phone 8 announced by Microsoft on Monday (Oct. 29) is: "We reinvented smartphones around YOU."
The question is, who exactly among the "YOU" is Microsoft targeting? Judging from a variety of use-case scenarios for the Windows Phone 8 discussed by Microsoft officials, the new smartphone is tailored to the following demographics:
Baby boomers with failing eyesight who need “large print” smartphones. Microsoft is bringing to the Windows Phone 8 user interface super-sized “live tiles” that show the latest updates on Facebook posts and other available apps.
Penny-pinching senior citizens who worry about whether their use of certain apps may exceed a data quota. Microsoft is integrating “Data Sense” to optimize a user’s data plan. It compresses every Web page, automatically takes advantage of Wi-Fi and matches data usage to a user’s data plan.
Permissive parents who can’t say no to kids when they beg to play with their phones. These hypothetical moms and dads will love Microsoft’s “Kid’s Corner," an isolated space created in the Windows Phone 8 that allows them to eat dinner in peace while the kids mess around on the smartphone.
Grandparents who want to see mash-up pictures of their grandkids posted on Facebook, which automatically shows up when a lock screen appears.
Busy parents want to share calendars or a shopping list within the family. The “Family Room” app is cordoned off from the otherwise universal contact list on a parent’s smartphone. Entries made in the “Family Room” can be updated live so that any family member can access the shopping list and volunteer to pick up Mom’s favorite brand of organic bread – pictured onscreen – on the way home.
So-called “me-generation” members who want to tailor “tiles” on their user interface screen to stuff only they care about.
Photo enthusiasts who want easy access to Facebook and other social networks when they take pictures. Windows Phone 8 will automatically save the photos in the original high resolution using Microsoft’s Sky Drive.
Cheapskates who want to talk on Skype instead of using cellphone minutes. Skype is now integrated with Windows Phone 8 so that it is always on, but without running code and consuming power.
Seniors who can’t find their reading glasses. Windows Phone 8 has apps like “Urban Spoon” that allows voice questions, sparing oldsters from pushing a lot of buttons as they search for the local restaurant with the cheapest “early bird special.”
Windows Phone 8 user interface
Microsoft provided a clear and focused presentation on a good-looking consumer smartphone.
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As Joe Belfiore, manager of Microsoft's Windows Phone program, said repeatedly, Windows Phone 8 puts “people at the center.” Microsoft developed a user interface that departs radically from the standard list of icons used on iPhones and Android phones. Good for Microsoft.
The remaining question, though -- and this is a big one -- is: Where Windows Phone 8 leaves business users? Microsoft said little about the corporate use of Windows Phone 8. Intentionally or unintentionally, Microsoft is leaving the door open for Research In Motion. This depends, of course, on whether RIM, now struggling, can come up with a better smartphone that targets business users -- and do it fast.
I have nothing against Microsoft. As I said, I really admire the new U.I. of Windows Phone 8 enabled by Microsoft.
The list of potential "target" users mentioned in the story is solely based on use-case scenarios Microsoft shared with the audience during the press conference.
So, again, I did not invent those scenarios.
Understood. But with the rollout of Surface, Windows 8 and now Windows Phone 8, Microsoft's departure from the business community is remarkable. I am wondering who is going to fill in that space. If you are CIO, would you go with Windows Phone 8 as your preferred smartphones for your employees?
Well Office is built into the phone. I get Excel, Word and Power Point documents emailed to me all the time. I can open them from Windows Phone 8's Outlook client and edit them using the Office suite on the Phone. It looks like you overlooked that when before you wrote the piece.
It even has OneNote :)
I can see the appeal of having a windows phone if it works seamlessly with my other devices... that said, I feel like it's not quite there yet. Maybe when Windows tablets take off (and I believe they will, thanks to the enterprise angle Microsoft can still play), and touch enabled Ultrabooks with Windows 8 tip up, people will want a full bundle of devices that work together almost as one... like Apple and Google have pretty much done. I think it's nice to have a third option, and I'd never count Microsoft out, but the price structure needs to be right and the advantages compelling. Right now, I see neither.
You're absolutely right. The ability to get to enterprise apps is there -- definitely. But I didn't hear anything specific Microsoft is bragging about, in terms of specific "enterprise" apps usability, or differentiated security features that corporate guys are looking for.
So Microsoft used the terms "penny pinching", "cheapskates", and "permissive parents who can't say no to their kids"? I think you have very much colored the target users of this OS with you own misconceptions.
I totally agree eliko. Very childish piece. I never saw a single negative take when the "new iPad" or the iphone5 rolled out when there was nothing innovative in either of the two products. I am not a big fan of the Redmond guys either but at least the Surface is a step apart from the other tablets that are zero on real world productivity.
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