Samsung Shows us the First Windows Phone 8

Samsung is out the door with the world's first Windows 8 Phone. The Ativ S. Basically a Samsung Galaxy S III running Windows Phone. I don't mean that as a put down to the device. One of the reasons (in my mind) why Windows Phone hasn't succeeded when compared to the iPhone or Android is because of hardware buzzwords that Windows Phone couldn't stack up next to it's name. Does the average consumer know how the dual or quad core processor in their phone is or isn't helping them? Of course not. But they'll tell you it's there and claim to feel the speed difference over their old phone that likely has nothing to do with the processor. We all saw how many AT&T iPhone 4S customers thought their iPhones were going so much faster after the "4G" label got added to their phones with the iOS 5.1 update when they were still using the same 3G network as before. This perception is real enough that consumers will spend money on what they believe to be true, so having the same specifications as their iPhone and Android brethren is a win for Windows Phone.

The Samsung Ativ S
Even though Samsung spent a whole two minutes showing off the phone in their presentation after spending 30 minutes plus on the Galaxy Note 2, the fact that Samsung went with what is obviously a superior phone build quality for the Ativ S over the Galaxy S3 says to me that Microsoft's OEMs, while cautious about the future of Windows Phone, see it at a premium brand. Together with Windows 8 on tablets and desktops, Microsoft is putting together it's most cohesive environment for consumers it's ever offered. Samsung wants to make sure they are a part of it, and they want to look good doing it.

With the exception of the Nokia Lumia line of Windows Phones, both HTC and Samsung have used somewhat tired, uninspiring and recycled designs in their phones for Windows Phone 7 and 7.5. This lackluster support for Microsoft's platform has been reflected in sales and in the brand perception of Windows Phone. Microsoft changed all that when they unveiled the Surface line of tablets. Microsoft showed the world that once again, Windows is a premium brand and that it deserved premium products to show it off.

The winds of change are coming to the mobile computing world. Android has awakened the sleeping giant in Microsoft. In my opinion, Android has the most to lose from a Microsoft resurgence. Many Android users bought in because they couldn't get an iPhone or didn't like Apple's system, now that Microsoft has begun to play it's hand, Android is going to be the odd man out, without a home operating system to tie into and pull users from. If the other OEMs give their Windows Phones the same white glove treatment as Samsung has for the Ativ S, Android is going to lose consumers to the premium feel and the overall ecosystem of Windows' rebirth from Microsoft.

Update: Clarified my statement about the iPhone 4S and it's "4G" network indicator for AT&T


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