Do you remember the marketing push that Microsoft went for right when Windows Phone was being released? It was way back in 2010, so I don’t blame you if you don’t remember. And with Nokia’s push here in the United States (which Taylor analyzed quite well), it would be pretty easy to forget what Microsoft used to do. But over the last few days I decided to pick up my Windows Phone and see if anything has really changed, especially with all this hype that has been focused on recently. And the only thing that I could think about is how Microsoft got it absolutely right with those advertisements back in 2010.
And why that’s exactly the reason Windows Phone is no longer my mobile operating system of choice.
Back at the launch of Microsoft’s new mobile OS, they wanted to focus on the Live Tiles and Hubs. They wanted to show off that you could grasp all the “important stuff” on your phone with a glance, and then get back to the more important things in your life. These advertisements were bolstered with pretty entertaining video, showing specific situations of people that may look at their phone way too often.
One of my favorites was the “Really?” ad. It was primarily focused on BlackBerry users, and the “fact” that they can’t seem to pull their eyes away from their devices. It goes through plenty of scenarios where people should probably be paying attention to something other than their phone, like jogging or while in the bathroom, with some outrageous moments thrown in there for good measure.
There’s no doubt that people like to look at their phone, and the ads worked great to show that those Live Tiles can show you what you need to know at a glance. Great. But, you don’t actually learn anything, do you? Yes, you find out with a glance that you have five unread emails and text messages, or whatever else, but you don’t get to see who sent them. So you only get some of the message.
For me, I like to use my phone. No, I don’t use my phone while I’m in the bathroom, and I certainly wouldn’t try to jog and text at the same time, but I’m someone who uses my phone. I use my phone to check scores, read news, text, go through emails, and do whatever else. Truth be told, more often than not you can probably find me on my phone. And that’s why when I went back to Windows Phone for a short bit of time, all I could think about were those ads and how right they are.
Windows Phone is beautifully designed; I will always think that’s true. I think that the applications that take advantage of that landscape mentality, along with the whole Metro UI as a whole, is beautiful. But, in my opinion, it isn’t an operating system that’s designed to actually keep you engaged for long periods of time. Just like those advertisements used to say, windows Phone is all about the glance, and that’s about it.
I’m happy that Microsoft’s mobile operating system is beginning to find plenty of time in the lime light, and I’m glad it looks like the OS is starting to pick up traction. There is still so much potential there, and I’m looking forward to the day that it’s finally achieved. However, I can safely say that my usage pattern with smartphones means that, for the foreseeable future, I won’t be able to use Microsoft’s mobile platform as my go-to platform.
Maybe that’ll change by Windows Phone 8’s release.