Microsoft today announced it will be officially taking the plunge into the mobile phone market with French operator Orange, the unveiling of the SPV (Sound, Pictures, Video) Phone that uses Microsoft’s Smartphone 2002 software marks Microsofts first entry into this market. Orange claims that the SPV will pay for themselves in less than five months by selling them at the price of $277 each, this price includes a digital camera add-on. The SPV is manufactured by Taiwan based High Tech Computer (HTC), the same manufacturer for Hewlett-Packard’s original iPaq PDA and also the British wireless carrier mm02’s XDA handheld.
Richard Brennan, executive vice president of OrangeWorld and Brands, commented “We want to give the likes of Nokia and Ericsson a wake-up call. At the moment, we feel Nokia and Sony Ericsson are not innovating fast enough. We need to make a clear statement that we are not going to wait around.”
The so-called Orange SPV (sound, picture and video) phone will hit British high streets in around two weeks, and should appear in the U.S. at some point before the middle of next year. U.S. wireless carriers Verizon, Cingular and AT&T are all committed to releasing devices running Microsoft’s operating system in 2003. Juha Christensen, vice president of Microsoft’s Mobility Group claims that “Within the next two years we’ll see (our) devices sell in the millions per quarter.
Industry analyst John Strand of Danish telecoms consultancy Strand Consult said: “I believe in the next year we’ll see a dozen devices. In our opinion, it is not a question of whether this product will be a success, but how big the success will be.”
Microsoft has tried to break into the mobile market since 1999. Initially disregarded by mobile phone makers, the U.S. giant switched tack last year to convince mobile operators to order phones using reference designs from Microsoft and chip maker Texas Instruments. This shift has resulted in winning part of the mobile industry over. “Microsoft thought in 1999 they were going to take on the (mobile) world,” Brennan reported. “But they’ve changed their mentality to one where they now want to work with, rather than compete against, operators.”