Has Anyone Heard of Windows Phone 7?

Microsoft’s spending hundreds of millions of dollars promoting Windows Phone 7 this holiday season, but in my personal experience nobody’s heard of the platform. I’m not talking about geeks and people that read sites like GottaBeMobile, I’m talking about normal consumers that buy some technology every once in a while.

I saw dozens of family members and several friends over the past week for the holiday festivities and answered the usual barrage of tech questions. It’s become somewhat of a ritual: “Why isn’t Adobe Photoshop activating on my new computer? When is Apple coming out with an iPhone for Verizon? Is Apple going to have a new iPad for Christmas? What’s the coolest gadget this year? What’s that XBox thing that says you are the controller? Is the MacBook Air really that good? Can you come over and fix my computer? What’s the best camera? Did you buy a Google phone yet? Any good Black Friday deals? ” You get the idea…

In the sea of questions from my family and friends there wasn’t a single question about Windows Phone 7. Despite being bombarded with Windows Phone 7 ads since our own San Francisco Giants were in the playoffs, not a single person wondered what the deal was with that phone that let you get on with your life…

I’ve sat and watched that ad with several of my family members. They all laughed and several of them pointed out that I could’ve starred in the commercial since I use my phone a little too much. While the ads are making people laugh, they’re not raising awareness of the products they’re promoting to the general consumer. There’ nothing about these ads that make people want to rush out and and take a look at a Windows Phone 7 device, much less buy one.

“Yeah…some people are Crackberry addicts. They need to put their phones down!,” exclaimed one of my relatives when she saw the above ad a couple of weeks ago.

These ads are produced very well, in fact they’re some of the best I’ve seen come out of Redmond in recent years. But the whole ‘It’s time for a phone to save us from our phones’ tag line is falling on deaf ears. Apparently, a lot of people like their smartphones and really don’t want to be ‘saved’ from them.

Another major problem with these ads is that they don’t actually show the phones that Microsoft is trying to sell, or what they can do.

http://www.youtube.com/user/ShareATT#p/u/6/qWBc8HsfyKs

AT&T is pushing out ads that show off some features, but that’s the problem. Rather than showing the device as a holistic ‘do everything’ device, AT&T’s showing off single features, such as speakers. That’s how you sell feature phones, not a whole new platform.

Compare the Windows Phone 7 ads to those of the EVO 4G and the iPhone 4 and it’s no wonder why my friends and relatives already had those devices in their pockets…

Apparently, Microsoft isn’t too proud of its Windows Phone 7 sales thus far, otherwise it would have told everyone about them, just like it bragged that it sold 2.5 million XBOX Kinnect sensors in less than a month.

It’s still early in the Windows Phone 7 game, but Microsoft needs to do something different here if it hopes to get on consumers’ Christmas lists.

8 Comments

  1. Michael Anderson

    11/30/2010 at 5:40 pm

    My wife has no interest in smartphones, whereas I am a total gadget-hound. We have watched the ads a few times together (of course I had seen them online before they hit TV :) ) … and they were a miss for both of us. I like details in advertising, and don’t need ‘saving’ … she is generally annoyed by totally absorbed people like that … but has no interest in a smartphone.

    It seems that once again we have slick ads without a real target audience. And it is reflected in the sales!

    Reply

  2. DaMarico Fowler

    11/30/2010 at 8:44 pm

    i like the ads but there just an introduction to WP live tile; It may just be time to move on to the show and tell commercials

    Reply

    • Xavier Lanier

      11/30/2010 at 8:58 pm

      I think the ads are funny, but that doesn’t matter much if nobody (outside of geeks) understand what’s being sold.

      Reply

    • GoodThings2Life

      12/01/2010 at 1:29 am

      I agree. I hate the iAds, because I’m smart enough to know which parts are blatant lies versus which are exaggerated. However, the reason they’re successful is they show off what the phone can do, and they make it look super easy (even if it’s not).

      This is an approach that Microsoft needs to take, especially with WP7 being such a new platform. So like you said, we get it now.. we can get notifications on the home screen, that’s great. What else can I do?

      Reply

      • Xavier Lanier

        12/01/2010 at 4:37 pm

        Exactly- notifications are something we should take for granted, not be the tip of the spear in Microsoft’s launch of the product line.

        Reply

  3. Ryann

    12/01/2010 at 3:35 pm

    Windows mobile phones can not compete with Android or iPhone products. I have an HTC HD2 and it was one of the worst operating systems, I say was because I rooted the phone and flashed the rom and put Android on my SD. Now my HD2 is awesome. Windows system would freeze up, wouldn’t load pictures and video, didn’t have flash player. I rarely have a freeze up problem on Android and when I do, I don’t have to take the battery out for it to be operational again. Windows OS has a lot of catching up to do in the cell phone market as to what WE expect in a cell phone in this day and age.

    Reply

  4. Adam Conkle

    12/01/2010 at 6:48 pm

    Your opinion of WP7 is based on an entirely different platform. I suggest you open your mind a bit and see what it’s all about. My wife and I both had iPhone (I am technical, she is not), and a few family members have Android phones that I have used quite a bit in order to compare platforms. After spending a few weeks with WP7, I will never, ever go back to an iPhone nor look at an Android device. There is really no comparison between WM 6.x and WP7. Seriously, check it out before you count it out.

    Reply

    • TWinnings

      12/03/2010 at 10:38 pm

      I agree with Adam, I am using the Samsung focus (3 weeks now) and I love it. It can do everything the iPhone and Android can do but it does it in a simple way. It also make it easy to check email, social networks, send and recieve messages (email included you iPhone users need to check this out). Even though it is new it has over 3000 Apps (that is a 1000 added almost every week) and they are good Apps not like the Android market. 600 of the Apps are games and they are really good games and most of them work on the Xbox Live Network. It handles work email (Exchange Servers) perfectly and has all the work productivity one needs (MS Office 2010). If you don’t know about the cloud you need to see how the phone works with it. You all need to go check it out, commercials are just there to get your attention not sell you a phone.

      Reply

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