Microsoft’s announcements on the new Windows Phone 7 Series (can someone find a short, easy to ype, easy-to-write name for this please) has thrown up

What Consumers Care About and the Success of Products

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Microsoft’s announcements on the new Windows Phone 7 Series (can someone find a short, easy to ype, easy-to-write name for this please) has thrown up a lot of turbulence in the Windows mobile modding and hacking space.

For one, Microsoft says that manufactuirers will not be able to tamper with the new user interface. Clearly, Microsoft is after a unified experience across all Windowsphones. Which, we think, is a very good thing.

Microsoft has also announced that app development will be in .NET; not C++.

wp7 startscreen

The questions are:

  1. Do consumers really care if a handful of geeks prefer a user interface they can skin and mod around, or are they more concerned about a user interface that works?
  2. Do consumers care about what programming language is behind the applications, or are they more concerned about apps that actually work the way they should? (Hint: seehow successful and loved Opera Mini has become, and its just J2ME)
  3. Do consumers care about hunting geek websites for the latest hacks and mods for their phones, or do they just want to buy the phone and actually put it to use?

Your guess is as good as ours. It is the same scenario of Windows (or Mac) versus Linux. Linux is only popular with a handful of geeks who want to type out command line instructions to use their phones as modems with their Linux boxes – something that consumers do not want to do.

While the efforts of HTC with theiir Sense UI layer on top of WP6 are commendable, we must not forget that such efforts sprang from Microsoft not taking the bull by the horns. While we love to see and play with custom ROMs from the modding community, we must remember that such customisations were necesarry in the first place because the WinMo 6 user platform did not deliver on certain features.

But now, Microsoft seems to have risen to the challenge and taken responsibility for its product. Those stop-gap solutions must of necessity give way to the new order. Only a tiny percentage of WinMo owners over the years have cared for a custom ROM. Hunting through pages of ROMs to narrow down options and then flashing one ROM after the other is not what the average consumer (who make up the huge chunk of mobile users) want to do, or are competent to do.

Oh, plus no-one grows a larger marketshare by dancing to the gallery of the minority of users – in this case geeks. RIM made a smart move by evolving their BlackBerry devices towards the consumer market and it has paid off for them. Apple hit it by targetting the consumer market, and we all know the story.

Microsoft wants a larger marketshare.They are going after the consumer from the very word Go.

Microsoft is going in the right direction with WP7s, it seems. How well they execute it though is going to be another matter. In addition, we now have three (3) Windowsphone options:

  1. Windows Mobile 6.5.X
  2. Windows Phone 6 Starter Edition (we absolutely think that this one is a bad idea)
  3. Windows Phone 7 Series

But perhaps having 6.5.x and 6 Starter Edition still leaves the small geek communities with toys to hack and mod all they want. One thing is certain, providing consumers with choices never seems to be a bad thing.

All we have to do now is with till the end of the year to see how well WP7s pans out.


  1. It’s always good to satisfy the geeks because they are the ones that often spawn innovations. Chosing .NET over C++ is a good thing, because it opens up a whole world of possibilities for programmers. They can target the platform using any of the .NET languages which translates to more applications for the platform. At the end of the day, the average consumer gets the most benefit in form of those apps.

    Talking about Windows & Mac vs Linux, I think the initial problem with Linux is the inability to satisfy a good number of geeks. Initially you need to use C or C++ to develop apps for Linux but now there are many easier options available like .NET (in form of Mono), Python e.t.c. This has translated into more programmer input which means more apps and ultimately opening up the platform to the masses.

  2. i thought that allowing handset makers to modify the user interface will give the manufacturers ability to create individual and distinct products tailored to enhance customer experience.

    I shudder to think that windows 7 on Nokia, Samsung, Sony Erricson and others will all look the same. Whats going to be the attraction for buyers when its like going to the market to buy eggs? The comparison may not be exactly the same but honestly, whats going to be the draw factor. To me, it appears our options just shrunk further.

  3. archie,

    Manufacturers are able to differentiate and customize their products by adding their own “hubs” to WP7s devices. The user experience of the various devices are preserved and streamlined, but devices from each manufacturer still have the potentials to offer a variety of options by way of services.

    Yes; its a departure from the norm, but it really does sound good to me. But then, I can only be sure how well this arrangement will work when the first set of devices hit the market.

    While its not the exact model that Symbian S60 has run, but we do see that the user interface of the average S60 device is the same – whether its from Nokia, Samsung or LG. Yet; the devices still offer options and have their individual characters. But once you have used Symbian S60, you can never be lost again. No further learning curve needed to use another device on the same platform.

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