"If you build it, they will come," goes the iconic line form the movie "Field of Dreams."
I often wonder how the Windows Phone team at Microsoft and the folks at Nokia feel about that one.
No one has worked harder, or has appeared to work harder, than Microsoft and its mobile partners at creating and marketing a smartphone UI and hardware design that's different from what we're used to.
Isn't that what you're supposed to do? Think different? Of course you should, but different doesn't always mean better, as CITEWorld Editorial Director Matt Rosoff points out in a recent blog post.
Despite all the sound, fury and genuine innovation from Microsoft and its mobile partners, Windows Phone market share has remained at rock bottom (2 percent or under) since the OS debuted in Oct. 2010. The reaction from the general public has been a collective shrug. The wireless carriers are not helping by constantly putting popular Android devices and iPhones front and center. But can you blame them?
In any case, no one outside the Seattle area seems to own a Windows Phone. Every time I'm out in the world I look for someone using one - yes I stare at strangers' mobile phones; I hope I don't look creepy. But sincerely, I want to see more Windows Phones in the real world. But I rarely do. It could just be that, after all the sound and fury, most people simply don't like the tile-based user interface of Windows Phone and never asked for it to begin with. Innovation doesn't mean much if it's on the wrong road.
Now we have two new Windows Phones from Nokia that, I must say, are really striking: the Lumia 920 and 820, announced today. Both are running Windows Phone 8, the newest version of the OS that is built on the same kernel as the upcoming Windows 8 OS. The promise is complete compatibility with all Windows 8 devices, which is a powerful lure for app developers (develop one app that will work on a smartphone, tablet and ultrabook and reach a huge audience quickly). So much of this depends on the broad consumer success of Windows 8, which, given some recent negative reviews, is a risky proposition.
The new Lumia phones do have some very cool new features.
Pricing, availability and wireless carrier partnerships were not announced.
Have Microsoft and friends built it? Yes, I can't see how they could be doing more to build Windows Mobile devices.
Have they (the people) come? No they haven't.
Do you think they ever will?
Sign up for MIS Asia eNewsletters.