ADOTAS – When my band heads to the recording studio, we have to confiscate our singer’s phone. Unfortunately, he is easily distracted by shiny objects on the Internet and constantly texted by attractive and infatuated female fans (I’m trying not to sound jealous here) — you can’t hammer out the vocal tracks if you’re giggling, double-thumbing the keypad and trying to beat your high score on Angry Birds.
This isn’t the first band I’ve had phone issues with. In another, we had a drummer that routinely missed cues in practice because he was glued to his iPhone — we never asked what kept him so captivated. However, texting did come in handy in one band — via SMS, the drummer and I were able to vent our frustrations with the lead singer during practice without her having any idea.
Smartphone addiction seems to be predicated on three things: SMS obsession, digital social networking overload and media addiction. None of those really have anything to do with the operating system, which is why I found the Windows Phone 7 ad campaign coinciding with its launch to be confounding.
Sure the TV spots had some chuckle-inducing slapstick and copy was clever, but what the hell does “We need a phone to save us from our phones” actually mean? Does WP7 offer enhanced functionality and intuitive interfaces? Well, actually, iPhones and Android devices offer such qualities — if anything the WP7 interface looked pretty unintuitive (though I will give it points for style).
I don’t appear to be the only one who didn’t buy into Microsoft’s marketing. On stage at the D: Dive Into Mobile conference, Jon Belfiore, director of Windows Phone Program Management, dodged All Things D’s Walt Mossberg’s questions about sales, explicitly saying, “We’re not talking numbers.”
Then at Le Web, Charlie Kindel, general Manager of the WP7 developer ecosystem, ducked several questions about sales numbers, noting instead that 50,000 developers have signed up to build apps and there had been 750,000 downloads of the developer tools. In addition, app and developer analytics will be arriving in the next few months, which Mashable’s Ben Parr notes will give an idea of WP7 total sales.
TechCrunch’s Greg Kumparak notes that Apple sold 1 million iphones 74 days after its launch in 2001. Despite the $100 million ad campaign and a product launch that pulled out the stopes, first-day sales were reportedly only 40,000, which pales in comparison to Google’s constant boasts about 200,000 Android devices activated daily. It’s pretty typical in the mobile space to brag when you’re doing great — a lot can be read into the silence around the WP7 sales numbers.
Although it’s not taking the path of Microsoft’s Kin (which had its price slashed in half right before being discontinued, though there are murmurs that, like Google’s Nexus handset, it shall rise again) apparently WP7 isn’t saving us from our phones, or saving Microsoft from getting left behind in the mobile OS race. At D: Dive Into Mobile, Belfiore admitted to Mossberg that it would likely be a few years before a Microsoft mobile OS could be competitive with Android and iOS.
However, the holiday season is upon us, and will likely make WP7’s sales numbers go up. If the execs still are mum about figures post-holiday, that’s a pretty good sign WP7 is a bust.
Anyway, the best way to save ourselves from our phones is to turn them off for a while. I do it all the time — especially during band practice — and the world keeps on spinning.
UPDATED: Developer Jeff Weber, whose Krashlander app released for WP7 on Oct. 20 is the 32nd most popular paid application, released his download figures since the launch: 2420 free downloads and 680 purchases for an average 17 sales per day. TheNextWeb graphs it here.