Is this the Microsoft Surface Mini?

imageThe Windows Phone market continues
to be a challenge for Microsoft.

Single Digit Market Share and …

The App Gap is still a Killer of Adoption.

But, there may be a savior on the horizon.

The Rise of Continuum …

imageThe announcement of a device that can connect your phone to a docking station at the last Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Orlando last July and shown again a few times at TechEd, Build, Ignite and other Microsoft events. Including the big hardware reveal with Microsoft CVP Panos Panay led “Hardware Show” in early October in New York City.

You can learn a lot more about the technical details and nuances of Continuum here.

Microsoft’s Bryan Roper showed off what Continuum can do. It’s impressive and something that’s been bandied about for many years. I’m glad to see Microsoft making a play to win in this space. I predict this is the future for Windows Mobile, Windows mobile and the Lumia line of devices. Bring on the Surface Mini devices.

What is Continuum?
The phone connects to the hub, which then outputs to a display with an optional keyboard and mouse. The result is your Windows Phone now acts like a full-fledged computer with Universal Windows Apps.


What about the App Gap?

A lot of people I talk to say they don’t use a lot of apps on their Windows Phones. Which is the same thing I say. However, the apps that are there are getting deprecated on a regular basis. For example, the Facebook and Twitter apps are not keeping up with the capabilities of their namesake apps on Apple and Android. This is not a surprise. With less than 3% market share I wouldn’t spend a

The App Gap is still a challenge for people like me that have been loyal to the Windows Phone platform. However, the reality is … if you want to use a Windows Phone / Lumia Phone you just have to take what Microsoft is able to convince vendors to provide. Banking apps, Zillow and apps for Social Media like snapchat, instagram, meerkat, etc. just aren’t going to spend the time or money to create apps for the Windows mobile platform.

While I have high hopes for what Microsoft Universal Apps are supposed to do I think the best play for Microsoft is to continue “Embracing Everything” which means adopting / co-opting the iOS and Android mobile markets. And when need buying apps that play well on these platforms. Case in point the recent acquisition of the MileIQ Android app that tracks expenses. It will likely never be ported to the Windows mobile platform. And that’s OK.

In the end the App Gap might be somewhat offset by a suitably powerful Surface Mini device that can run either a full web browser (of your choice) and/or that can emulate the market leading mobile platforms.

Can Universal Apps re-build Microsoft’s Mobile Strategy?

Perhaps. I think the Lumia 950 and 950XL phones, along with a slough of other branded Microsoft mobile devices will continue to get fast CPU’s and lots of memory.

Why? So they can re-brand them as Surface Mini devices.

The idea behind Universal Apps is that they would allow, well apps to run anywhere and across a lot of different form factor devices. Will they allow Microsoft to regain a modicum of market share on Windows / Lumia Phones? I don’t think so. But, with the idea of a Surface Mini that may be a moot point. Only time will tell, but I think Microsoft is onto a smart path by encouraging people to embrace Microsoft products to drive productivity.

Will Microsoft Rebrand Lumia as The Surface Mini?

The Microsoft Surface devices have been a hit and continue to gain mindshare and marketshare. By riding the coattails of the Surface Revolution and introducing a new way of computing through the Continuum offering I think Microsoft is onto something here.

I don’t know for sure if they will, but I suspect they might. It would be a way to salvage some of the money spent on the Nokia acquisition and it would allow Microsoft to go after a new market that does exactly what CEO Satya Nadella is suggesting. Which is … Enable people to be productive on Microsoft products.

What do you think?

  • Is Continuum the savior of the Windows Mobile strategy?
  • Would you be willing to dump your laptop and live on a mobile device?
  • How much would you be willing to pay for that?

I think in the not too distant future more and more hotels and other remote work environments will begin to offer Continuum devices (for when you forget yours) so that you can stay productive no matter where you might be.

Do you have a different opinion? Please share or ping me directly at my contact points below.

Image Credits: Microsoft Corp, PC World


Jeff is an expert in the Enterprise Content Management industry. He brings over 20 years of Channel Sales, Partner Marketing and Alliance expertise to audiences around the world in speaking engagements and via his writing. He has worked for Microsoft, Kodak, and K2. He is currently the consulting with Microsoft and partners to drive Community Engagement and Alliances.

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@jshuey or connect on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+ He is active in the Microsoft Partner Community and is the co-founder and President of the IAMCP Seattle chapter.

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