How I'd Save Windows Phone

October 25, 2016 •

The Verge says “Windows Phone is Dead” every six weeks or so. Whenever a claim like that is made, I can’t help but think about it and how to begin to fix such a giant problem. How do you resurrect a mobile platform?

After many beers with friendshours of consumer research here’s how I, Dave Rupert, would save the Windows Phone platform:

Step 1: Call it Surface Phone

Surface has been such a successful brand this is a no brainer. As a user, I don’t care about the “Nokia Lumia” brand. I still think of chubby, blue, plastic sarcophaguses that ring in movie theaters. Call it “Surface”, however, and I’m a little intrigued. Surfaces are good. Surface Phones would get the attention of Microsoft brand loyalists.

Step 2: Put Halo on it

Microsoft owns Halo, one of THE most successful First Person Shooter franchises there ever has been. If you wanted to make a statement about mobile gaming, putting the original Halo on a phone would be it. The original Halo is probably “just enough retro” right now. Angry Birds and one-thumb Mario is cool, but here’s Halo.

Mix in some Xbox mirroring, and this move would get the attention of gaming nerds.

Step 3: 3D Camera

Using the Windows Hello technology inside the Surface line today, add a camera with Kinect-style 3D depth sensing. With 3D depth sensing, people could in theory scan anything in their house and capture a 3D model. From there, plug it in a 3D printer to clone the item. Or drop the asset in a video game you’re working on.

This could usher a new wave of technology (and copyright law). Anything is now reproducible! I think this would get the attention of 3D modeling, VR, game developer, and maker communities.

Step 4: Tor Network

Security and privacy are a big deal right now. What if your phone offered that with the flip of a switch. Why not put a toggle that connects your device to the Tor network?

Suddenly, you have the attention of infosec and journalist communities (hint: journalists might write about your product).

Step 5: Progressive Web Apps

Finally, the Achilles’ Heel of the Windows Phone platform has been a lack of apps. What if any webpage could be turned into an app? Well, that’s possible today using Web App Manifests and Progressive Web Apps.

Great news is Edge has already pledged support for PWAs, but the implementation isn’t quite here yet. They’re also considering a system where they preload the Windows Store with PWAs they found crawling the Web.

Being the second mobile platform to support PWAs would get the attention of the Web Development community.

All said…

There’s a Windows event tomorrow, I don’t know if Microsoft will announce a new phone but I’m curious if they do. Google had such a great showing this fall. That Pixel phone is right up my alley, I want Daydream VR… except Google’s updated privacy policy bothers me. My conscious is re-affirmed that I’m not sure I want an advertising company to make my mobile operating system…

…Your move Microsoft. #davegoeswindowsphone?