It is a bit of a surprise how Microsoft did not do this sooner. As far as brand names go, the Windows Phone name is pretty straightforward, simple, effective, and not easy to forget. But it is also kind of redundant and can be awkward-sounding ("I own a Windows Phone phone right now").
Thankfully, Microsoft is deciding to drop the "Phone" part altogether and merge the branding to its next-generation operating system, Windows 10.
By doing this, Microsoft is pushing the idea that all of its devices -- be they personal computer, laptop, smartphone, tablet, or wearable device -- will be running on one unified operating system.
It just might help in building more brand awareness for Microsoft's operating system, especially with regards to mobile devices. Sure, Microsoft's platform still has a lot of catching up to do with the big two of Android and iOS. Indeed as of the end of the third quarter of 2014, Google's Android platform dominates with 84 percent of the entire market. Apple's iOS is second with an almost 12 percent market share. As for Microsoft's system, it makes do with just 2.9 percent of the market.
Industry experts may actually see the unified branding as a good move. Apart from grouping all of its devices under one big umbrella in Windows 10, this decision also allows Microsoft to have or aim for more consistency in all its products, no matter what the format.
Of course, this is easier said than done. For all its improvements over the years, the Windows system for mobile devices still has a lot to work on. For instance, the number of mobile apps supported by the Windows platform is still very limited. Although it is not entirely Microsoft's fault that developers still are not that enthusiastic in making their apps Windows-compatible. Then there's the phone makers themselves -- aside from a very select few, most of the handset manufacturers do not produce devices that run on Windows. And when a Windows-run smartphone does arrive in the market, it easily gets outshone by Android and iOS devices in terms of marketing, distribution, and store visibility.
But now that Microsoft has merged the branding into one name -- Windows 10, it may have a decent chance of gaining some market share. It may help that the company's smartphone segment has been pretty aggressive in producing handsets that people actually buy. Indeed, Microsoft's Lumia lineup of inexpensive smartphone products have been doing nicely, despite threats from Chinese brands who also push similar budget-friendly offerings. Just about a week ago, Microsoft released two affordable devices, the Lumia 435 and the Lumia 532, both priced below $100.
And now with the unified Windows 10 branding, many are expecting Microsoft to release a flagship device soon, one that will be the standard bearer of its platform's new identity. Whether or not that will happen, the Windows operating system is definitely ready for a fresh start in 2015.
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