Maybe this is something I should have written a month or so ago at the Windows Phone event I attended in Charlotte. Or, perhaps, I should have already had a device or two in my hands so that I could see this a bit better. I didn’t to either of those, and much like the market seems to have to get with Windows Phone, some perspectives have yet to unfold despite what can be seen just beneath its surface.
I’m thinking back to two moments in particular that bring me to wondering more than analyzing. The first happened at a MeetUp event with some who do front-end design and development, and the second happens often as I see others with Windows Phone (WP) devices, and a general lack of seeing them frustrated.
So, at this first event. We were talking about responsive webdesign and therefore mobile comes into play. The usual question asking "what devices do you have" came up and it was actually a bit more variey than you’d expect. There were more Android devices, not as many iOS devices, not a BlackBerry, two Nokia (Symbian) devices (!!! I know, right) and then one woman with a WP device. She was interesting. She captured the attention of the group for a few minutes because she enjoyed her device. I mean smiles and all. She didn’t like her previous Android device, and this was just a shot in the dark because she didn’t want to go into the iOS world.
A single mother, beginner web developer/designer, using a mobile that she described as simply showing her what she wanted when she wanted it. It otherwise got out of the way.
The second situation happened some days ago. I usually sit in coffeeshops and it offers a time to just watch how people live, communicate, and interact with mobile devices (I even have a hastag called #todayscoffeeshop that helps me stitch those moments). This couple was there just going back and forth with devices. One of them had a WP device (looked like the Samsung Focus or a HTC Titan). They were having fun. The woman talked about how she found it fun to pan between the screens and just see her connected social streams as they happened. There wasn’t much in terms of games or apps that I could tell they were doing, but Words with Friends seemed to be happening (or something nearer to Facebook). I’m not sure who it belonged to, the other device was an HTC Android device (AT&T or T-Mobile).
A couple turning their 3rd space into something a bit more intimate using their mobile device.
It doesn’t seem like much, but in light of how mobile devices, services, platforms (or ecosystems, however you want to term it) work, there’s something about using a mobile device that is missing from the usually marketed approach. I’m of the thought that there’s something a bit more to Windows Phone that’s worth exploring that’s not on the level of "oooh, apps" or even "communicators’ paradise." There’s something more to mobile that Microsoft sees, and Windows Phone hasn’t really blossomed into that yet. Its a better platform, but not better enough against current assumptions of what makes mobile tick, yet.
I was impressed at the suite of devices when at that Windows Phone event. There was a white HTC device that just came out on T-Mobile, and the Samsung Focus S which caught my eye. Not because they were doing anything more or less than other Windows Phone devices, but there was this sense of "getting out of the way." Then enjoyment at whatever that mobile connected to that was available to live towards.
I get to these points where I wonder if I could rock with a Windows Phone device. There are reasons why I don’t have one right now (which I hope to get rectified at some point). But, I think that if it does blossom the way that I’m thinking it will, that it won’t be because of the way that we do mobile right now, but because MS will try and make us see mobile through a light that speaks to a different group of mobilists than in the first pro-consumer decade of mobile. That’s something when it unfolds that would be pretty decent.