Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Grand Windows Phone 7 Challenges

And what’s wrong with it.

From the very start, Windows Phone 7 has been all about the phone that is going to save you from your smartphone. With the ‘really?’ ad campaigns, to the ads of people falling over themselves trying to get tasks done as the Windows Phone 7 users breezed along, to Steve Ballmer repeating over and over again the mantra that went something like ‘get in get out and get back to life’ and all the way to the smoked by windows phone 7 and blown away by the Lumia 900 campaigns it’s always been about the fact that your smartphone doesn’t weigh you down from experiencing the world. I think that’s a pretty awesome concept but I think that Microsoft might actually be giving off the wrong idea or at least an idea that doesn’t really resonate with a lot of people. Especially iPhone users.

Have you watched people walking around these days? Even when best friends or husband and wife walk around together, instead of talking to the person right in front of them they have their heads buried in their phones. Sometimes there’s a very strange form of social interaction going on where they interact with each other across the social media. It’s creepy but it is what it is. And why the Windows Phone 7 message doesn’t resonate with people is that the reason that people have their heads buried in their phones is not because it takes them 9 – 15 seconds longer to check in or post a status update to Facebook. It’s because they are just so immersed in whatever is going on in their online social life. No matter how fast their phone runs or how easy it is to get tasks done it doesn’t matter. People are just going to keep tapping away at their phones.

I do respect and I totally support the message that Windows Phone 7 is trying to give out. We’ve all just gotten way too caught up in our digital lives and its time to free ourselves up. But that’s just like what people thought inventions like the microwave and washing machine would do for our lives. Take the stress out and do jobs for us faster. But instead all it did was just add to the stress as we filled up that free time with more and more work. It’s the same thing with Windows Phone 7. People using it on account of actually being able to get more done in a shorter span of time (and in the social media world, 10 seconds is quite a bit of time) they are actually going to get more and more immersed and fill up the new found time with even more social media activity. And that just breaks the whole campaign down. Because people don’t want to be spending less time. They want more time and they want to DO MORE in the little time they have.

I honestly think Microsoft would have been better off with ad campaigns in the lines of people all standing around in a crowd and trying to capture moments such as and eagle landing in front of them. And while people are desperately trying to get past their lock screens, the person with the Windows Phone 7 has taken the photo, tagged the friends, uploaded to Facebook and is back to looking at the eagle fly away while people are still with their heads buried in. So much better noh. Best of both worlds. And that scheme is resuable. Concerts, bowling, all of that. And this is all off the top of my head. I think the keyword here is the comparison. That’s why the whole campaign of smoked by Windows Phone 7 is actually half decent, because it’s all about comparisons. In fact there’s a large social acceptance aspect that causes people to buy smart phones that Microsoft isn’t playing with. They have to make the phone look cool enough that the friends surround the person with the Windows Phone 7 device. And I’m not talking about the cheapo ads that involve women rushing over to the guy. I’m talking about genuine ads like friends saying check out this album and struggling to open an app and find the album while the guy with the Windows Phone 7 looks for a bit and shakes his head before opening the pinned shortcut to the album on his start screen and takes control over the show.

Noble as Microsoft’s message may be, I think they are in the wrong business to be giving that kind of message. You don’t come into the smartphone competition to try and save people from the digital eco system. You come in to make their lives easier, more fluid and a lot more enjoyable within said eco system. If you want to give a message like the one that Microsoft is currently giving at least mix it up with being able to experience the best of both worlds. Like the example I gave of the eagle advertisement. A lot of smartphone activity cuts into the moment right now. Make the whole pitch being able to live the moment in both the real life and digital life.

Only with Windows Phone 7.

Sigh. Who comes up with these ad campaigns anyway?