Windows Phone 6 Starter Edition? Seriously?

This might be hyperbole, but I’m going to claim Windows Phone is the most poorly executed rebrand in recorded history. Not only are there two versions with really long, partly nonsensical names, but now comes word of a third with an even longer name: Windows Phone 6 Starter Edition.

According to Bsquare, the global distributor for Windows Phone, this new old version will be available to new and emerging markets with or without Microsoft Office Mobile. Phone support includes 2G (GSM), 2.5G (CDMA2000 xRTT, EDGE, GPRS), CDMA (Rev A, EV-DO Revision A) and TD-SCDMA radios.

Though not stated, I’m assuming the numbering means this is just a renamed Windows Mobile 6, not be confused with Windows Phone Classic, which is Windows Mobile 6.5, and Windows Phone 7 Series, which is all-new. On one hand, I understand calling it “Starter Edition” keeps it in line with the Windows desktop versions for new and emerging markets. On the other hand, why even bother tacking on “edition”? “Windows Phone 6 Starter” wasn’t enough? Better yet, why not start fresh and call it “Windows Phone Starter”?

Now that I’m seeing the rebrand “strategy” come together, I think it’s just the numbering that bothers me. I could have let the naming slide with Starter, Classic, and Series, much like the various versions of Windows 7. The difference is, all those versions of Windows are still numbered 7. Admittedly, that naming system isn’t ideal either, but the Windows Phone branding is all over the place.

Via jkOnTheRun

Alleged Apple fanboi, accused Android apologist, and confirmed Microsoft MVP for touch and tablet Mark Sumimoto a.k.a. Sumocat dabbles in all areas of mobile computing with a focus on Windows-based Tablet PCs and pen input. A mobile computing enthusiast since 2004, he pioneered the field of ink blogging via his personal blog, Sumocat's Scribbles. His current tools include a Fujitsu Lifebook T900, TEGA v2, and iPhone 4. Email: sumocat [at]


      • Seriously though, how is it a problem for you. You will never have to choose between phones running Starter Edition and another edition so why complain.

        Is it such a bad thing for Microsoft to provide the 3rd world with an affordable copy of their phone OS?

        • I don’t have any problem with them trying to compete with Android and Nokia in emerging markets. I’m just continuing to point out how awful their rebranding “strategy” is. Frankly, the only people who should have a problem with it is Microsoft because it hinders their ability to regain market share.

          • I think the ultimate point, Sumocat, is that while you’re entirely right about the rebranding strategy with the names, there are more important aspects to talk about… namely, the OS itself. Where’s the dozens of articles speculating how it will cure cancer and revolutionize the industry with a data-centric approach rather than app-centric in a magical device?

  1. Like I remarked in another blog before, but is anyone else also getting the vibe of a deja vu with the windows vista/windows 7 history?

    • If you mean Windows Vista is the equivalent of Windows Mobile 6.x and Windows 7 is the equivalent of Windows Phone 7, then yes… Microsoft has a unique talent of– eventually– producing great works around the turn of a decade.

  2. GT2L: Maybe if Microsoft had shown off more than the people hub, there’d be something for us to talk about but they really haven’t. They rename it “Phone” and don’t show the calling functionality? All we have are superficial details, so that’s all that can be discussed.

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