Today I’m in in San Francisco, where Microsoft will introduce the full Windows Phone 8 smartphone experience and the Nokia Lumia 820 and 920 in front of 300 media. This event will be another milestone in our journey to build a winning third ecosystem.
When we signed our partnership with Microsoft back in February 2011 the development work for Mango was pretty much closed. Both companies immediately started working together on new development priorities and the result was the Tango update, which brought Nokia Lumia and Windows Phone to new price points and to critical smartphone markets like China.
With Windows Phone 8, Nokia’s influence on platform development is clear for all to see. From the expansion to markets like Turkey and the Middle East, to NFC and the implementation of the Nokia Location Platform as the backbone of all location experiences, Nokia and Microsoft have built Windows Phone 8 side by side.
At Microsoft’s BUILD developer conference in Redmond later this week, Nokia and Microsoft will stand side by side again, showing off the latest Nokia Lumia devices and encouraging third party developers to continue the incredible growth in the Windows Phone apps marketplace. From 7000 apps when Nokia joined the ecosystem to 110,000 apps today.
The events this week are the continuation of activities that started with the launch of Windows 8 in New York on Thursday last week. It was an impressive unveil event at New York’s Pier 65, showing off Windows 8 and the new Surface tablet. Both went on sale online and at all Microsoft stores that same evening, including the two new stores opened in New York’s Times Square and Columbus Circle.
I’m also impressed by the scale of the marketing and advertising campaign that will go behind Windows 8. I was amazed to see Times Square turned into one big Windows 8 Start Screen with every available screen space taken over by Windows 8 tiles.
The use of tiles in Windows 8 is one of the areas in which the launch of the new PC operating system can benefit Lumia. The new Microsoft Surface tablet was used extensively at launch to show off the latest version of the world’s most popular operating system, which takes advantage of the increasing use of smart glass and touchscreens to create a more interactive experience.
If Windows 8 is adopted on the same scale as its predecessor Windows 7, Nokia Lumia and other Windows Phone devices won’t look so unfamiliar anymore. Nokia Lumia will be recognized as an extension of the same experience people are already using at home and work on their PCs and their tablets.
In addition to showing off the full range of new features on Windows Phone 8, I expect Microsoft to play up shared experiences with Windows 8 today at the San Francisco event. Such as the ability to use Microsoft Office on a PC, tablet or smartphone to access files stored on SkyDrive.
Xbox Music now provides a premium music subscription service and the ability to access music libraries across multiple devices. Nokia Music may still be the best way for Lumia users to discover new music on the go, but Xbox music provides Windows and Windows Phone with a service to rival iTunes and more encouragement for people to make the switch to a new platform.
Of course, the flagship Windows Phone 8 smartphones, Nokia Lumia 820 and Lumia 920 will be on stage in San Francisco, together with other Windows Phone 8 devices. Thanks in no small part to Nokia leading the way with Lumia, the other OEMs have upped their game with Windows Phone 8 and the range of available devices is incredibly strong.
Not that Nokia needs to be afraid of the competition. As I purchased my own Surface Tablet at the Microsoft Store in Times Square last Saturday, the very attentive and highly professional retail assistants became incredibly excited as I told them I worked at Nokia. They held up their Nokia Lumia 900s with pride and asked when the Nokia Lumia 920 would be available to buy. Of course, I couldn’t tell them, but their enthusiasm reflects the fact that as the best smartphones on Windows Phone (if not any platform), Lumia is also the most appealing smartphone companion to new devices like the Surface.
Nokia will be there today at the Windows Phone 8 event, showing off our phones to the world’s media. Chris Weber, our global head of sales and marketing, will be talking off-stage about the PureView camera technology in the Nokia Lumia 920 and we will demo the addictive convenience of features like wireless charging. Before long these experiences will be available for people to try themselves. Then, after all the launch events, media speculation and anticipation we will start to get feedback from the people who matter most – consumers. That’s when the real fun begins.