Last week, Microsoft announced on its blog that Windows Phone 8 will be available on new phones later this year.
Going back about three years, you could count me among the folks who would’ve reacted with a series of strange looks to the prospect of buying a Windows Mobile phone.
That began to change in 2010 with the unveiling of the much-improved Windows Phone 7. The software giant partnered with Nokia in 2011, and with its latest critically acclaimed release, Microsoft could become a formidable competitor in the smartphone OS market.
Let’s take a quick look at some key Windows Phone 8 features and see what all the buzz is about:
- The Common Core – A shared set of code between Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 on the desktop will make it easier for developers to create apps that can be easily ported from desktop to mobile.
- NFC and Wallet Technology – NFC will enable close-range sharing and mobile payments, while the digital Wallet will store credit and debit cards, coupons, boarding passes and more.
- Better Business Tools – Microsoft Office apps, device encryption, better security and even remote management (very useful for IT).
- Plus a new Start screen, enhanced resolution and multi-core processor support.
So how does this affect your mobile marketing plan? A fair question given that Microsoft only claimed 4% of U.S. mobile subscribers in April 2012 (comScore). However, IDC predicts that Windows Phone will have a market share of over 19% by 2016. Should this come to pass, consider these possible impacts on your mobile marketing plan:
1. Hybrid apps will make even more sense.
Need a hybrid app developer? Check out Mubaloo.
2. NFC and wallet technology – are you ready?
In-Stat predicts that proximity mobile payments (via NFC or bar codes) will increase from $1.1 billion in 2012 to $9.9 billion in 2016. A solid solution from a growing smartphone OS is likely to encourage wider adoption of the technology. If you’re a retailer looking for a way to accept NFC payments, take a look at market leader VeriFone.
3. Business users converge.
Word on the street is that RIM, maker of the once undisputed “business phone” (BlackBerry), may get out of the handset business. With a number of upgrades aimed at enterprise users and a commanding lead among this audience in the PC market, Microsoft stands to gain more than a few business users. B2B marketers should consider maintaining a strong Windows Phone presence and targeting these users in mobile media campaigns.
An impressive product notwithstanding, the road to major market success is a long one for Windows Phone. Have your own thoughts on Windows Phone’s potential marketing impact? Let us know in the comments!
About the Author: Cory Gaddis is a regular contributor to the 60 Second Marketer and helps Mobilize Worldwide create mobile marketing campaigns for a wide variety of clients.