Microsoft, Windows 10 and Lumia, or….

…how many things can you do wrong at the same time?

 

Whoever is in charge of product marketing and development for Microsoft phone devices really should have been fired a while ago. While I thought that sacking Steven Elop was the start to a better future for Microsoft’s device business, it really has been going downwards further ever since. And who thought that this was possible starting on a low with Elop.

Now let’s summarise what happened with the Windows 10 devices, Lumia 950, 950XL, 550 and 650.

Lumia 950 and 950 XL:

  • these phones should go in to the history books as the most uninspiringly designed phones. How can one wait for 1.5 years for a flagship release (Lumia 930/Icon) and then take such a step back
  • charging top-shelf flagship device prices for plastic phones while all other manufacturers have stepped up their game (even Samsung managed to) really makes no sense
  • As per Satia Nadella’s own description the Lumia flagships are for the enthusiast crowd. What happened is that plastic phones were launched on an unfinished OS with unfinished features but the full price is being charged. What this amounts to is a rip-off of the loyal MS following rather than rewarding those that have stayed loyal to Windows Phone, are prepared to be public beta testers with appropriate competitive pricing
  • MS must have known that the devices are bland like anything, hence the simultaneous launch of “fancy” back covers by Mozo. So they really dared to ask for another $50 or more just to make the phone look nice
  • Basic testing of the phones should have made it obvious that the Lumia 950 has massive battery life issues, rendering the device semi-useless for heavy work day usage
  • Granted, Continuum is cool. But then throw in the dock for free in the package to make the one stand-out feature a default that the early adopters can brag about and spread the word
  • There are so many features in the applications missing and they are so far behind the Android and iOS equivalents that it almost seems like even Microsoft is putting more effort in developing for other platforms than their own

Lumia 650:

  • The lower mid-tier phone costing a third of the price of the 950 has a much better premium design with more premium materials. How can that happen
  • The phone is targeted at the business crowd but it doesn’t support Continuum, the one stand-out feature that could convince that exact target audience
  • Why… or why would anyone put such a low-end chipset into this phone, combined with 1GB RAM only. Even if the OS runs fairly smoothly it obviously resulted in the absence of Continuum. And the device will inevitably not cope if 3rd party developers launch some more demanding business apps.
  • For the business crowd a 2000mAh battery is just a joke

Lumia 550:

  • Don’t even get me started….

I don’t know if Microsoft can still turn the ship around or if the current lineup of phones was the final nail in the coffin of Microsoft phones and Windows 10 for phones altogether. Even if there are some moves from 3rd party manufacturers like HP and Acer, market shares have declined even further from what was already a very low base.

I do have a few suggestions though:

  • Launch the rumoured Surface-Phone that needs to have the same quality, design and attention to detail as a Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book
  • Cut the prices for the Lumia 950 and 950 XL to $300 and $350 respectively. Bundle in the dock and a Mozo cover for free.
  • Offer the Mozo cover and dock to any current 950 and 950 XL user retrospectively for free.
  • Launch a decent mid-range phone (Lumia 850) with a proper mid-tier chipset (Snapdragon 617 or 652) and a 1080p screen.
  • Get moving on those Office Apps and Outlook on Windows 10 before the business crowd completely gives up on you

Cheers,

Pete