Put simply, Rooms is Microsoft’s answer to RIM’s BBM, Apple’s iMessage and any other third party chat app. It takes the Group concept to another level for the platform. Its also a feature I’m most excited about. The key feature? Cross-platform inclusion. Not all features of Rooms will be available to everyone on Android or iOS but enough that everyone feels included and makes a strong case for using the feature while Windows Phone gains marketshare.
Having the ability to share a calendar, have private photo streams and chats and share notes with my friends and colleagues will be a welcomed edition to my social endeavors. I’m usually a bit of a recluse but have been making an effort to be more social. This will help a lot accomplishing that. Again, Rooms is Windows Phone’s answer to other platforms attempt at being social yet private. The photo streams that Apple and Samsung seem so proud to play up now has a direct counter on Windows Phone. Given the ability to pin your favorite Room to the start screen means quick access to the things that matter most.
Bottom Line: My wife has an iPhone while I use a Windows Phone. It’ll be so much easier to keep track of our kids appointments without having to communicate directly. All each of us has to do is update our shared calendar and check our Room for updates and who needs to be where to do what comes crystal clear.
For my money, Rooms not only welcome but needed. Microsoft is quietly building an ecosystem of socially relevant features and apps designed to make your mobile experience personal. Good stuff.