One of the things I’ve been studying very closely is the various themes that Microsoft uses when it discusses Windows Phone 7 Series. The company is very serious about consistency this time around and while this sounds Apple-esque, Microsoft is also more transparent than Apple (which I like), so it is also communicating this new system in a formal way.
Microsoft is very upfront about this. A small custom publication the company provided to the press (and presumably attendees) at MIX’10 includes the following statement of intent.
As we go through the process of building Windows Phone, we want to think about how we design and develop in ways that will set us apart.
Ultimately, it is how Microsoft sets apart the Windows Phone platform from the competition that will determine how successful it is with customers. And Microsoft intends to set Windows Phone apart in the following three general ways:
Metro. The Windows Phone UI, or UX (“user experience”). Metro is currently just a codename, but I hope they keep it and not give it a silly name like Windows Phone Presentation Foundation. Microsoft also describes Metro as a “design language.”
- Modern, clean, light and open. The UI feels light and responsive. A UI with white space.
- Fast and in motion. Motion (animation) brings Metro to life. It feels good.
- About content. Everything else is minimized. With a touch UI, content is the UI.
- About typography. Weight, balance, and scale. Make words beautiful.
- Entirely authentic. The hardware is naturally simple and modern. No decoration, no ornamentation, no need.
Seven Areas of Differentiation. Some of these may surprise you. They include:
- The Start Experience. “What matters first and foremost.” A dig at the iPhone, sure, but people want to customize their devices and see what matters most to them right up front.
- Social Communications. “The here and now.” Facebook, Windows Live and so on.
- Hardware Choices. This part of the previous Windows Mobile strategy lives on. It’s debatable but there it is.
- Photos. “Yesterday and today.” Photos are pretty obvious. But it’s a first tier differentiation experience, which is interesting. Other devices already do photos pretty well.
- Location Aware Search. “When you don’t know how to get there.” This is the Bing integrated experience, including local searching and maps.
- Gaming. Integration with the Xbox Live pieces that make sense on a phone. Note that this is not “all of Xbox Live.”
- Best in Business. And you thought Windows Phone was only for consumers. Expect some announcements around this over the next few months.
Red Threads. A poorly-named set of guiding principles. These include:
- Personal: Your Day, Your Way. “Your Windows Phone contains your life, and is as unique as you are.”
- Relevant: Your People, Your Location. “Your Windows Phone knows where you are and who you care about to give you what you need, just when you need it.”
- Connected: Your Stuff, Your Mind. “Your Windows Phone connects you to what you need and keeps it safe – across your PC, the web and beyond.” Note that this is a restating of Microsoft’s “three screens and the cloud” mantra.
We can (and will) dig deeper than this. Many, I’m sure have noticed the language around “hubs” and “integrated experiences” and so on. I’ll have more on that as I begin doing my own formal note-taking around the public discussions of this new platform.