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30/08/2014
I think the Windows Phone brand is on the way out

Over the past few weeks there have been a couple of things that have made me wonder if Microsoft is dropping the Windows Phone brand and question it's future. I think we will have just Windows as the one experience for everything in our lives.

Yesterday I watched the UK advert for the new Lumia 930 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrtkFDnJC94&list=UUpQ0GgeaP6qbUdbSxdr-GAA) and I noticed that at the end the name "Windows Phone" wasn't used, instead just "Windows" was displayed. I don't know if this is a new branding exercise or if it has been the same on recent #WindowsPhone adverts, but I know the 1020 advert (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMKPx9je3R8&list=UUpQ0GgeaP6qbUdbSxdr-GAA) did show "Windows Phone".

On its own it might not signal much but when considering that the new HTC Windows Phone is called the HTC One (M8) for Windows (not Windows Phone) then maybe there is something to it.

This got me thinking...

We know that #Microsoft is hard at work on #WindowsThreshold which is looking to synchronise and simplify the various #Windows systems. It is not clear how the Threshold exercise will take shape but its effects are thought to be felt across all Windows versions. However, we do already know that Microsoft is working to combine Windows RT and Windows Phone into a single version of Windows that runs on ARM.

All this convergence follows on from the advances already made such as the Universal Apps that allow developers to make apps that only require smaller tweaks in order to run across both Windows and Windows Phone.

When a user can move seamlessly and easily across any Microsoft device does the OS need a brand?

Threshold is likely to only increase this convergence and seamless experience. It should enable apps to run across all devices running a Microsoft OS which also sync all files, settings and profiles across them too. As Microsoft is already putting it, "one experience for everything in your life."

The development of Threshold must already be making some people question the Windows brands. For instance the combined Windows Phone and RT system will need a new name; "Phone" can't really be used for devices that aren't phones and RT should never have been a brand. I have heard that Windows Mobile might make a return as the Windows on ARM name, this should not be a brand though.

Windows Phone as a brand doesn't make sense, Windows phones as name does

I can see why Windows Phone might be disappearing as a brand and it makes sense to me. From the evidence it looks like this is already happening with Microsoft moving to simply "Windows". We are already used to Windows prefixed to device categories such as Windows PCs, Windows laptops and Windows tablets so why not Windows phones too?

In the Lumia 930 advert Microsoft shows how well the phone works with a Windows hybrid laptop and having just the one brand surely makes the Windows ecosystem easier to advertise. One experience for everything in your life.

The idea of a single Windows brand might become even more important with the coming of the Internet of Things. We might have Windows fridges or even Windows windows.

Windows Phone as a brand has already had a short yet interesting history (Windows Phone 7 Series?!), maybe it is time for the brand to be put aside for the single Windows brand to take over.

Microsoft is expected to announce #Windows9 / Windows Threshold at the end of next month and I am eager to know how much they are going to be demoing/talking about. It might be only be the traditional Windows or it could be about Windows on ARM too.

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