Today at Microsoft's ongoing Worldwide Partners Conference in Toronto, Canada, we finally got some spotlight onto Windows Phone 8 after the Windows 8 announcement hullabaloo yesterday. Corporate VP of Windows Phone Marketing Thom Gruhler stepped on stage in front of thousands to talk about Microsoft's plan for the mobile future -- and he's only been on the job for 90 days!
Microsoft has uploaded a transcript of the keynote speech he delivered today, and there's a lot of interesting quotes and factoids to glean from his talk (which was mostly skewed towards enterprise). Gruhler revealed that several partners have begun the move to adopt Windows Phone and that "81 percent of CIOs ranked Windows Phone as great for business". He also displayed the Amazon Wireless top-rated charts to show that 7 out of the top 10 best reviewed handsets are Windows Phones.
He didn't just pat himself on the back, however, as Gruhler made a frank admission of Windows Phone's current situation and promised that Microsoft is going to make sure Windows Phone 8 is a success. Here's the choice quote:
Smartphone users today don't know about Windows Phone and that's a problem we're going to fix. With Windows Phone 8 we are truly committed to building consumer demand and are very excited about the momentum we already have with our consumers, our OEM partners and mobile operators around the world. And we're off to a great start with the tremendous response we've received to our gorgeous new Start screen, which we announced in June, and has been the subject of quite a lot of buzz.
From there the conversation got deep into a Windows Phone 8 walkthrough, with Microsoft's Augusto Valdez taking over to present the new features. He talked about how his Start screen was "really, really mine" as opposed to every other Windows Phone user, playing up the personalization angle. Then he started talking about how some of the features could be applied to a business setting like tapping the phone to an NFC-enabled business card, allowing you to import all of the contact info instantly. Obviously from there it flowed into a discussion about Tap + Send as well as the new Wallet app, and even Internet Explorer 10 Mobile's built-in anti-phishing engine. Finally he began to discuss really enterprise-focused aspects of the OS, like the new Company Hub and the ability for ITs to install apps onto a device without publishing to the Marketplace first.
To be totally honest though, the keynote followed the same format as the WP Summit presentation minus the developer tech demos. Hopefully we'll see video uploaded of the keynote soon and then we should get a better idea if anything new was shown (accidentally or otherwise).