I’ve been thinking about the prospects of Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform and how it can compete with Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. There are no doubts in my mind the Redmond giant is seriously committed to drive its “mobile game” forward but thus far they failed to reach the tipping point. Sure developers know Microsoft won’t give up that easily and are porting their apps in volumes. However, at the moment not that many people own Windows Phone 7 devices. So what can Microsoft do about it?
Pitch businesses rather than consumers
RIM managed to prosper using this strategy and they have far less resources than Microsoft. Let’s face it, most of us never purchased Microsoft’s product directly – we got it as part of the computer purchase (with an option to upgrade to full Office suite). Honestly I don’t think Microsoft knows how to sell to end users directly (or at least they’re not as good as Apple) and they shouldn’t worry about that – letting their partners do that work instead worked for them in the past.
However, there are some things folks at Redmond could do to help. They could pitch their phones towards businesses, praising the platform’s enterprise friendly features such as the best support for Microsoft Exchange, best Outlook mobile experience and so on. Moreover, there’s one more thing that could be done…
Offer free foldable Bluetooth keyboard with select Windows Phone devices
I’m one of those people who want a full QWERTY keyboard on their phones. It’s not about the typing — with apps like Swype typing on virtual keyboard can be even faster — it’s about editing documents when you don’t want to have half of the screen occupied by the on-screen keyboard.
Now if we could pair some HTC HD7 like device with a Bluetooth keyboard, we would get a real mobile office. Think about it – the HD7’s 4.3-inch screen gives you enough space to be able to do some serious work while out of computer. And carrying a separate foldable keyboard shouldn’t be a problem.
Microsoft would pay about $15-$25 per keyboard but that would be well worth it. Suddenly they would be able to say their Windows Phone 7 products are business and/or Office friendly. Of course, this presumes the upcoming Mango update brings proper Bluetooth HID support and we hope it will come included.
So what do you say? Would a free keyboard compel you to buy a Windows Phone 7 device?