Would you agree Windows Mobile 6.1 came in for a lot of criticism?
AR: 6.1 was a successful product for us, sold a lot of phones as a 'rational' purchase [ie users who needed the Windows Mobile features] and to business. Now we need to earn consumer trust and affection, we have their trust through our brand but they probably don't love what we do [in the mobile space].
But the user experience is now very nice, and we're stating 'We know we've got to earn everyone's trust in this market, and we've really got to set out to do that and build awareness, desire and trust for device.'
The fact consumers only have a 10 per cent awareness of Windows Mobile is very low, and that's probably because we've aimed primarily at the business user. The reality is if we're going to drive market share and gain a stronger position with consumer, we need a more emotional connection to the mobile brand.
Is Windows Mobile 6.5 not just a touch-friendly upgrade from 6.1?
DW: While the UI is important to consumers, Windows Mobile 6.5 is more than just that. There's been fundamental engineering going on around the OS, it's got better battery life, better handling of services, we've improved the number of apps it can run, so it's more than that.
Is it revolutionary? No, it's an evolutionary part of the journey, but we've got to start somewhere. Yes, the UI is more touch-friendly for people to use, and we're exploiting the capabilities of 6.1, it's just we haven't exposed those in the way people want as yet.
How do you react to the early criticism of Windows Mobile 6.5, with some stating it's still not good enough for users?
AR: I would implore anyone to use it for a while before passing judgement, as I don't understand the criticism. It's just a nice product to use, it doesn't claim to be anything it isn't, if you only have negative feelings about it I would say use it – use MyPhone, use Marketplace and use the new UI and then come back and tell me it's not good, because it is.
For instance, my wife is a user of the product and she doesn't work for Microsoft or anything. It's easy to use right out the box, does what it says on the tin.
Are the skins being put on top of the OS, for instance Samsung's TouchWiz and HTC's TouchFlo 3d, annoying?
DW: Yes, it is frustrating, but all these manufacturers are looking for differentiators in the market. However, we hope that customers will go to the phone's settings [to see the original Windows Mobile 6.5 UI], we're going to push the marketing on that, to educate them about the fact that option is there. The they can decide whether they like TouchWiz, or TouchFlo, and choose for themselves.
How will Bing be integrated into Windows Mobile 6.5 phones?
DW: Bing mobile will offer local search and location services, so if you were in London and wanted a pizza, you could search and get directions from the phone. It's all about finding locations.
It will be a Windows Mobile marketplace download, we actually finished the OS before they made Bing, so it will be made available for OEMs to install on their phones too.
However there are core things that have to be installed on every Windows Mobile 6.5 handset, such as Marketplace and MyPhone, and these will also be available as a download to Windows Mobile 6 and 6.1 devices.