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 couldn't help but laugh when I saw the target customers describes for WP8. It seems odd to me that Microsoft would mention "seniors" aka "baby boomers with failing eyesight," and "cheapskates" so often, if they wanted it to be a hit.
Nor do I understand why the WP8 or, for that matter, the Surface tablet, can't be perfectly useful for the business community. Doesn't the Surface not come in a x86 variant, that can run all the popular business apps?
Nor did I ever notice anyone obsessing to this degree about the business uses for iPads or iPhones.
Junko, honestly, was this what they call a "hatchet job?" Or were you relaying exactly what Microsft described as their target audience?
And if this was a verbatim repetition, Microsfot should fire their entire PR team.
You're right. No, Microsoft did not say "penny-pinching senior citizens," but during the presentation, Joe Belfiore, manager of Microsoft's Windows Phone program, extensively talked about his mother in law who keeps pinging him if it is "safe" to use this app or that app on her smartphone.
No, Microsoft did not call them "permissive parents." But they did talk about apparently what seems like a prevalent problem of parents getting nagged by their kids who want to use parents' phones.
No, they never used the terminologies such as "baby boomers" or "senior citizens." But they discussed how a mashup photo of the latest Facebook posts by their kids or grandkids showing up with a lock screen could delight them.
In describing "Family Room" features, they used the example of a family member who specifies a certain kind of organic bread that needs to get picked up by someone else in the family.
What's described as the new functionalities of Windows Phone 8 in the story are all true. Microsoft may not have called spade a spade, but I am confident that some of those great new features of Windows Phone 8 would be truly appreciated by baby boomers or senior citizens.
I am sorry that I omitted the fact that Microsoft trotted out Jessica Alba (do you know who that is?) on stage as a model Windows Phone user. But I think it is clear that Microsoft thought it through and delivered a phone that is really for YOU.
Junko, I cannot believe you are defending yourself for writing such a sloppy article. By your own admission, you have made ridiculous inferences. The problem with your note is that it lacks a balanced approach and almost seems like you have pronouced it DoA.
I beg to differ. Some of the features sound cool - I am worried about the security of apps when I use my iphone OR wish there was a smarter locking scheme for individual apps so that my 2 year old wouldn't mess them up when he tinkers with my phone. If WP8 is attempting to make that happen, why bash them without giving them a chance to prove themselves in this crowded space.
I thought business application writers target business users. Microsoft supplies the OS, which is a platform for running applications. It also parlays its OS monopoly into a nice cash stream via apps. If MS wants to leave niches on the table, it's not a ding against Win8.
I like this article very much. I hope Microsoft marketing guys and gals can seriously look into these use-case scenarios that they rolled out Win8 Phone and find what are missing (as you've pointed right out).
See, folks, if Win 8 is not business oriented, who care it's rolling out or not? We already have Galaxy or iPhone or Nexus or iPad can do these jobs pretty good (or better) already.
i understand you these people dont have insight at all.i saying the same thing.why would microsoft sell business phones in colors? colors is about mood etc and i walk in with a yellow and im a ceo what people think me?.yes they have a black phone but that a chose.im thinking the wp8 surface with wsurface pro next year at the same time now thats a professional look!please email me direct because i dont follow this site tell me what you think thanx firstname.lastname@example.org.
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