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Microsoft finally brings out the big guns for Windows Phone

There’s no question that Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system is a sleek departure from the staid grid of icons prevalent on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems. Despite Microsoft’s innovative take on the smartphone user interface, the designs and specs from hardware often have left a lot to be desired.
 
One must also take into account that with the exception of a rather big commercial push when Windows Phone first launched, Microsoft has done little to inform consumers of the platform or encourage retailers to push smartphones running Windows Phone.
 
Fortunately, it appears that Microsoft is finally wising up.
 
I. Nokia Looks to Dazzle Consumers with Lumia 900
 
Nokia is planning on making a few big announcements tomorrow at its CES 2012 press conference. The biggest one undoubtedly will be the long-rumored Lumia 900 "Ace" smartphone running Window Phone 7.5.
 
The New York Times ran a piece this weekend highlighting how Microsoft completely jettisoned Windows Mobile in order to start from scratch on Windows Phone using the design lessons it learned from the interface used on the sales dud Zune HD. Tucked in the article was a glancing reference to the Lumia 900 which according to the NYT will have a metal body and be sold by AT&T.

The Nokia Lumia 900 is expected to look like a slightly enlarged Lumia 800 (pictured above) 

Specs for the Lumia 900 are still rumor fodder for now, but here's what we can expect:
  • 1.4GHz Qualcomm processor
  • 512MB RAM
  • 4.3" WVGA display
  • 1830 mAh battery
  • LTE connectivity
  • 8MP camera plus front-facing camera for video conferencing
  • 12mm thick with a weight of 5.64 ounces 
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop is quoted as saying that “We are doing our best work for Windows Phone," and the company has no plans of branching out to embrace the popular Android operating system. It's going to be "Windows Phone or bust" from here on out.
 
II. Show Me the Money!
 
In other Windows Phone news, Paul Thurrott of WindowsITPro has detailed that Microsoft and Nokia together will be spending $200 million USD to promote Windows Phone during the first half of 2012. Thurrott's well-connected Microsoft sources also indicate that part of the money will be use to retail salesmen/saleswomen incentives to push smartphones running Windows Phone. Most retailers are quick to push Android- and iOS-based smartphones while Windows Phone devices sit collecting dust in the stockroom. Microsoft hopes to change that with $10 to $15 cash incentives per handset sold.


Incentives will now be given out to help retailers push Windows Phone devices
 
It's quite interesting to note that Microsoft could be putting its royalties of $10 to $15 per Android handset sold from manufactures like HTC and Samsung to work by directly battling Google and Apple on the sales floor.
 
Our only question is, what took them so long?

Sources: New York Times, WindowsITPro, PocketNow



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Apps
By Paj on 1/9/2012 7:14:05 AM , Rating: 2
Can someone who owns a WP7 phone provide a bit of insight into the app ecosystem? Understandably it wont be as mature as Android or iOS, but I think for many non tech savvy users, they will care more about apps than specs. This will hurt adoption.

I live in London at I catch the tube very day. In over three years I've only ever seen one WP7 phone in the wild, but many, many Android, iOS and Blackberry handsets. Similarly, the increasing popularity of apps means that many are running full ad campaigns on the tube. None of these popular apps mention anything about WP7 versions, which seems bad for building mindshare.

Personally I'm really intrigued by WP7. I spend a lot of time designing UI and I would be keen to try it out as my next phone. However, I love apps and have several that I use very often, I also game a lot too. Without these elements, WP7 will have a tough time attracting me (and many others I'm sure) to convert.




RE: Apps
By Varun on 1/9/2012 9:10:31 AM , Rating: 2
As for apps, they have about 50,000 so far. They are adding lots every day too.

I would say the app system is comparable as far as the most used apps. They have almost all of the big players already, with only a few strange ones missing like Audible.

It is the localized apps that are not there yet. They have some bank apps, but not all banks support it. They have some airlines, but not all airlines.

Obviously with its much smaller market share, iPhone and Android are going to be the apps developed first by these types of companies. For instance, I follow Formula 1, and the official app is only Android and iPhone. Maybe this year they will develop another one for WP7.


RE: Apps
By MarcLeFou on 1/9/2012 9:50:27 AM , Rating: 2
They have many more apps than BB so app selection is not all that matters.

If I were MS, I would personally let Nokia go after consummer space with heavy incentives but especially try to scrape away at BB's falling sales with devices with integrated keyboards and leverage activesync,exchange,office and other strong business IP's they own.

I ended up getting an iPhone 4S finally because all the WP7 handsets available here were really sub-par (not just spec-wise but design wise too as my carrier's latest model was LG's 18 month old phone) and because the Motorola Android phone we tried (Bell Mobility's Droid 3 take) was a POS as it was skipping in calls to the point of making it unusable on 2 phones (plus one replacement phone).

As for the argument of WP7 needing dual cores, after actually having owned the Droid 3 for 2 weeks, I can say I don't want overpowered hardware in my phone but I do want my phone's battery to last longer than half a day. WP7 had a big plus in my book for that and it'd probably be the phone I'd have now if I needed to change my phone in 2 months instead of 3 months ago.

I'll take a look at WP7 handsets in 2 years now (or most likely WP8 by then).


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