Goodbye, “phone”: Windows-only branding leaks out on a handset

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Credit: NeoWin

That was quick: Last week leaked documents indicated that Microsoft is going to the drop the word “phone” from Windows Phone, and now there’s a picture of the new branding on a handset. On Sunday, NeoWin spotted a picture of the My Go GoFone in the U.K. and there’s a simple Windows logo on the back of it. Until now, all recent phones that ran Microsoft’s software had the Windows Phone logo on them.

My Go GoFone brandingThe photo is hosted at an unlinked microsite that’s clearly ready to go live once My Go decides to activate it. My Go sells other mobile products such as low-cost tablets and e-readers; the links for those are active from the microsite, suggesting the GoFone and new Windows branding are legitimate.

The branding change doesn’t come as a complete surprise, and not just because of last week’s leaked information. The underlying theme at Microsoft’s Build developer event in April was one of platform unification. The company introduced a new Windows runtime so that developers could create their apps for computers and have them run on phones or tablets with minimal extra effort, for example.

Dropping the “phone” from Windows Phone also resolves another potential challenge: Creating Wi-Fi tablets that run on what’s currently called Windows Phone.

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Current tablets from Microsoft and its partners run either Windows 8.1 or Windows RT, but not every device needs the Windows Desktop. Windows Phone runs solely in a touch-friendly mode originally called the Metro interface. Hardware partners will likely start building tablets using the leaner phone software after the official branding change. Microsoft has already positioned itself for this scenario: Last month, it updated the Windows Phone software to support non-cellular tablets with screens up to 7-inches in size. As a result, I’d expect to see some smaller, less expensive Windows slates on sale this holiday season.

4 Comments

Oluseyi

On the one hand, this is a very positive move. It is increasingly clear that “smartphones” and “tablets” are just variants of computers, and that what users really need is for software to adapt its user interface to the current device/form factor. On the other hand, it remains to be seen how coherently Microsoft’s tools encourage that sort of adaptation—how well applications span desktop to tablet to handheld; this is just branding.

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