As it hopes to build smartphone market share, Microsoft has created a new HTML5 site that allows smartphone owners to interactively demo the Windows Phone operating system. People with devices running Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android platforms can point their mobile browser to this link, which simulates an actual Windows Phone handset. With such a unique take on the mobile user interface, Microsoft is smart to get it in front of more people.
I’ve been suggesting this interface — called Metro UI — is a fresh take on the now-standard rows of mobile app icons found on many smartphones. But seeing is believing, as they say, and this demonstration — mentioned by PCWorld— does the trick. Users can see the interactive tiles on Windows Phone as well as some of the features, such as setting up a unified inbox, navigating through the endless landscape interface, and switching a conversation from Facebook chat to text messaging.
Will this demo sway a sizable number of smartphone owners away from iOS or Android? I doubt it, but it’s still important. By showing an alternative to this audience, Microsoft is at least getting a chance to build its user base. Without a demo like this, people would have to go to a store and see a Windows Phone device for themselves or bump into a friend who use a Microsoft-powered smartphone: two unlikely scenarios.