So it seems Microsoft is on a buying spreed as of late, and the acqusition ofcould be seen as another entry point into the younger, hipper market for mobile devices. Windows Mobile has always been in the realm of the "business" mindset, and they may be making a run at the consumer audience with trying to grab companies like Danger, who makes the popular Sidekick. I think with Microsoft’s investment in the Windows Mobile platform features, with a friendlier consumer focus could really be a future hit in the making. A large problem with Apple’s iPhone, is that it’s almost all consumer driven, leaving the hip business person out in the cold with features they have come to expect in a smartphone platform. If Microsoft could build some of those business driven features into a consumer device, the best of both worlds could be had. I am one of the people who carry a Blackberry for work email, and a Windows Mobile phone for everything else, but a true one device for everything would be great.
Could this be the beginnings of Micrsoft developing their own consumer driven devices to stave off the elite iPhone from Apple? Years ago when the first Danger sidekick photos started leaking, I thought it would make a great consumer device, as texting was just starting to take off. When I think of Smartphones today, I don’t think of the Sidekick because of the market is in today, but the younger crowds who are growing up in the time of Social Networks like MySpace and Facebook have definate value to these convergence devices. This would be another avenue into the hearts and minds of consumers if they could deliver a portable device which acts as conduits to their personal networks, and to be able to do it on the go.
I wonder what would be in store if they planned on using Windows Mobile to build such consumer driven devices, and if they included Zune functionality. As SSD continues to drop in price, it’s not very long till we have the capacity to store our music collections like we can with our hard drive based 80gig Zunes, and have all the functionality of the phones. After all, much of the hardware is already the same between these devices, so it’s just a matter of making slick and smart software the exposes the phone and media functions in a positive way. We already saw in the Windows Mobile 7 mockups that a Zune application is already being investigated, so this maybe the direction they are intending to go in.
I think this is another stake in the ground of Microsoft’s slowly evolving quest, and change of image. Hopefully we will see some great products in the pipeline, and not see what Danger has accomplished put on the shelf and another vendor pass Microsoft by. They have developed and owned some great ideas in the past, but unfortunately their execution in the market may not have driven them to the success of other more focused vendors.
With Danger’s experience and relationships in the mobile market space, it could be just what Microsoft needs to break out of the "For Business people" category, and expand into the "For All People" category. It’s going to be about content, and services, and if Danger provides the experience it could be the winning combination Microsoft needs to succeed.