‘Smartphone users are zombies. Buy a smartphone!’
Microsoft yesterday unveiled a slate of new smartphones, which will operate on its updated mobile platform, Windows Phone 7.
The first of the phones – from HTC, LG, Samsung, and Dell – will go on sale in the U.S. on November 8. Initially, the Windows Phone 7 devices will only be available through AT&T and T-Mobile, although Microsoft hopes to add models from Verizon and Sprint in 2011.
Microsoft is trying hard to differentiate the new phones from existing products in an increasingly crowded smartphone market. In a press release, CEO Steve Ballmer described Windows Phone 7 as “a different kind of mobile phone and experience – one that makes everyday tasks faster by getting more done in fewer steps and providing timely information in a ‘glance and go’ format.”
At the heart of this on-the-move format is a feature that Microsoft calls “Live Tiles”, customizable plates on the home screen that automatically update, so users don’t have to spend time thumbing through screens or opening apps.
To emphasize the ease-of-use of Windows Phone 7, Microsoft also introduced a couple of ads. With the tag line “It’s time for a phone to save us from our phones,” the ads depict users of existing smartphones as tuned-out zombies, too fixated on their smartphone screens to know what’s going on around them.
However, I’m not sure the ads will have their intended impact. It’s possible that some viewers may conclude that Windows Phone 7 will save them a few seconds a day but I doubt it. Instead, the ads are an amusing way of reminding us of how anti-social we have become as we spend our lives texting, e-mailing, playing games, and surfing the web. Unfortunately, Windows Phone 7 isn’t going to change that!