Microsoft, Windows Phone 8 appears to be an awesome operating system and from everything that we have seen, mostly behind your back via leaks, it appears that you have a genuinely good product that consumers will adore. The OS is unique, has tons of cool features tucked away and offers up something truly different from Android and iOS - but I am afraid that you are shooting yourself in the foot and it’s time we have a little chat.
All of your hard work has been overlooked due to the ridiculous release cycle that you have shown to consumer and developers. Windows Phone 8 was given a preview back in June, when you stirred the pot of excitement and made your fans enthralled by your work. You showed off the awesome new Start Screen and a few other under-the-hood enhancements but after this announcement, things went downhill.
Not long after the initial announcement, the first SDK was leaked in late July which brought to the forefront a rather complete list of upcoming features that were not announced at the press announcement in June. So after a few weeks, we got our first close look at what Windows Phone 8 will really offer to consumers.
Then, about six weeks later, we got our eyes on the first hardware, the Samsung ATIV S, the new Lumia series and HTC's series of devices; all of which look quite appealing. These devices again raised attention across the media, but both Microsoft and the vendors failed to tell anyone when they could buy the devices or how much they will cost.
Here is the problem, when all of the devices were announced, the phones were not allowed to be used, simply look, but no play. Microsoft was holding back features and would not let the press who got to handle these devices actually use them; instead, they had to wait (again). So now we have gone from June to September, and we know about the OS and the leaked SDK - but we still have devices with no launch date or pricing.
Now, the pricing could be vendor-specific; that's something we could kind of understand when the devices were first shown off in September. But as you keep moving forward, the picture becomes more frustrating.
Microsoft made a boneheaded decision to only give the Windows Phone 8 SDK (you know, the one the leaked previously) to select developers so that they can prepare their applications for Windows Phone 8. This puzzling move was done to hedge off the leaks for the SDK, guess what, it didn’t work. So now, Microsoft is in a situation where the SDK they were trying to control leaked, along with the features it contained, and it has fewer developers using the SDK to build for WP8... and we still do not have a release date for the OS.
Moving forward, the Lumia 920 was announced (again) by AT&T with no price or release date. This is the second time the phone has been announced without a price or a release date; what the hell? Admittedly, AT&T is in charge of announcing the devices but it is up to Microsoft to let them know when they can release the phone. Any way you look at it, though, consumers are yet again being dangled a carrot they cannot get close to biting.
If current rumors are to be believed, and it’s looking quite obvious that they are correct, we will have to wait until the end of October to get a launch date (and likely pricing information) for the products that have been announced several months prior.
It’s quite frustrating to watch this release play out as it feels like we are all being strung along and told to hurry up and wait. There are many consumers who want a Lumia 920, but telling them to wait and then dangle the fruit in front of their eyes is not a good business model.
Microsoft, I hope you learned from this cycle about how not to proceed with the launch of such a pivotal product to your future success. You are in a game of market share and generating noise prematurely before you are ready to deliver, is not only a bad idea, but delivers false expectations.