Rumors have been flying about Microsoft’s next step into the smartphone market. The latest speculation is that Microsoft will announce two new smartphones at a press event on April 12. The computer giant has already sent out the press conference invitations and is offering little information as to what the event will be about — just mentioning that “it is time to share,” perhaps a vague reference to the capabilities of the smartphones developed under codename “project pink.”
Most have concluded that the “project pink” phones will incorporate social networking capabilities as well as support for unified communications solutions — sort of a BlackBerry-meets-iPhone combo.
The real question here is, “Will it matter?” It matters only if Microsoft can create something that is both familiar and unique, and that may gain the attention of business smartphone users. All the pieces are in place for Microsoft to build a successful smartphone product (and platform). The company’s purchase of Danger two years ago gave it access to smartphone manufacturing and technology (Danger is the manufacturer of T-Mobile’s successful Sidekick). Combine that with enterprise level products such as Microsoft’s Office Communications Server (OCS) and a new mobile OS (Windows 7 Mobile), Microsoft might indeed have a chance to change how people interact with their smartphones, perhaps leaping ahead of products running Google’s Android OS and Apple’s ever-present, ever-evolving iPhone.
Raj Mehta, CEO of Infosys International, a N.Y.-based solution provider, believes if Microsoft does not make any missteps, the company can become a powerful force in the smartphone communications market.
“Microsoft has a unique opportunity here to empower thousands of solution providers to deliver unified communications in a mobile device and build a new platform for business communications,” he said. Mehta added, “If the company pulls this off, there could be all sorts of revenue streams created by the custom integration of Microsoft’s various products into a mobile UC platform.”
For now, the channel will just have to wait and see if Microsoft unveils something that advances UC and the channel at the same time.