In what seems to be an even more aggressive stance on communication The Verge’s Tom Warren has disclosed that Microsoft plans on announcing a Rooms private chat feature. Similar to how Groups work on Windows Phone but add the ability to share private notes, texts, calendars and photos. Scheduled to be launched with Windows Phone 8 devices this feature is meant to be a lot more interactive than Groups. That is why there is such an expansion on what can be shared between the group’s members.
It looks like yet another reason windows phone fans should be excited for the WP8 OS release. Microsoft tends to tie-in popular services when introducing social features and this time I’m sure is no different and gives it a leg up on BBM and iMessage. Here’s my take on the two proprietary challengers.
RIM’s BBM: With RIM’s rapidly vanishing US marketshare and mindshare the days of holding BBM up and laughing at the have-nots appear to be over. Long held as the preeminent must have feature now it is relegated to a blissful memory. Consumers have voted with their wallets that SMS, gchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, etc are good enough and that the accompanying hardware and software that BBM is operating on is too heavy a tradeoff for a single feature to satisfy them.
iMessage: I know a ton of people rocking iPhones, my wife included. Never seen a single instance where people naturally went to iMessage as the means to communicate. All my wife’s and my mother-in-law’s conversations are done over SMS or voice calling. Apple’s attempt at circumventing carrier power, developing a proprietary BBM killer has proved to be misaimed. Sure people love their Apple hardware but they want to be able to communicate effortlessly with the world, not just their fruit loving counterparts. How do I know iMessage isn’t generating the kind of user response and device adoption Apple is looking for? Follow the money. Apple puts their money on the things that hold the most weight with consumers and runs ads 24/7/365. There hasn’t been a single day I haven’t seen an Apple ad showcasing an outstanding and highly desirable feature. Not one time has any ad I’ve seen been about iMessage.
With Nokia, Samsung and hopefully HTC delivering hardware that doesn’t take a back seat to anything out of the Android and Apple camps the ball is in Microsoft’s court to help their OEM partners out and deliver this service and make it a good one. Make it cross-platform because its social and social people like to mingle without boundaries. Develop great apps for iOS and Android, make sure there is a Windows 8 app available at launch and even toss in an Xbox version. Trumpet it far and wide through any and all means available. We’re waiting to fall in love Microsoft, you’re so close to pulling it off now deliver.
As for BBM and iMessage? Well they can just get a room and hope that in this new tech-efficient world they find some kind of place for them.
Source: The Verge’s Tom Warren