Windows Phone 8 – Microsoft’s Big Play In The Smartphone Market

By Mike Wheeler

Windows Phone 8 was launched in Sydney this morning, with Microsoft not only rolling out its marketing strategy for the operating system, but vendors, too.

By Mike Wheeler

Windows Phone 8 was launched in Sydney this morning, with Microsoft not only rolling out its marketing strategy for the operating system, but vendors, too.

With less than five percent of the mobile phone market, this is Microsoft’s big play in this space, and while it admitted it was trying to nab third spot from Blackberry, its ambitions are much more.

Microsoft says they are going after both the consumer and enterprise markets, and are championing the device as something that offers up a “personal experience”. Hardly a catch cry for the ages. What they meant is that users can make the start screen very personal by adding or subtracting tiles and apps – you can also change the size of the tiles depending on importance.

However, when pressed about its hero feature, Apple and Android aficionados won’t be shaking in their boots. Microsoft’s Business Group Lead for Windows Phone, Megan Howard, stated that the stand-out feature for her is its People Hub, which is designed so you can integrate not only your social networking sites but your email and calendar. When demonstrated, this feature looks funky and functional, but hardly a deal breaker. What might be the deal breaker is how Windows Phone 8 will integrate with Windows 8 devices, because the PC market is still Microsoft-heavy when talking operating systems. But as if to counter that, Howard was at pains to point out that you could integrate something like the People Hub with other operating sytsems.

Then there is Kids room, which is the first feature that can actually lock out your child from the heart of the phone, but give them access to certain apps. Instead of swiping up to free the lock screen, you swipe to the side and you’re in the Kids Room. Here, you child can play with apps, games or whatever tiles/apps/features you have put downloaded to the room without having to worry about them snooping in other parts of the phone’s operating system, or accidentally deleting an app or important message.

HTC, Samsung and Nokia all had spokespeople there ready to peddle their reasons as to why their product was the best for Windows Phone 8.

HTC’s Antal Keur told us that the form factor, camera capabilities and high definition screen were the hero features of the HTC 8X and 8S, which both will be available in November. Meanwhile, Steven Lewis from Nokia – which dumped its much maligned Symbian operating system in favour of Windows Phone – said it was the slim lines, under the hood functionality and, again the camera, of the Lumia 920 and 820 that were standout features. Finally, Samsung’s Tyler McGee made a point of saying that Windows 8 – not just the mobile version of the system – was an integral part of most of his company’s portable devices including its new ATIV S handset. It also has a replaceable battery.

All three companies have spread the love as far as Telcos go, with the three big players – Telstra, Vodafone and Optus getting one or more exclusives.

Windows 8 will be as revolutionary as Windows 95 was back in the day (as long as there are no massive bug issues), but whether its mobile sibling will be the deal breaker in gate crashing iOS and Android’s duopoly, well, as the cliché goes, only time will tell.

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