In an effort to further increase its presence in the retail space, three Windows Phone 7 devices have just found their way to Radio Shack, one of the country's top retailers for mobile phone sales. Radio Shack is an important player in the smartphone market because it attracts a lot of the tight-budgeted consumers. The store offers discounts and promotions that official carrier stores and other retailers like Best Buy do not.
In stock now at the discount electronic store are the Samsung Focus from AT&T, HTC HD7 from T-Mobile, and LG Quantum from AT&T.
It was known from the beginning that Microsoft would have an uphill battle with Windows Phone 7, and that's definitely proving to be the case. Its launch sales were just 40,000 units, an absolutely abysmal number in this market.
Microsoft's marketing message with the new platform is "a phone to save us from our phones," meaning the platform gives users instant access to all their important info on one screen - no need to thumb around the device to see your e-mails, texts, etc.
The problem is other phones already do this, and in fact some of Windows Phone 7's best features are actually ones that require users to spend time looking down at their phone. For example, its integration with Xbox Live and initial lineup of gaming content is attractive and something that sets it apart.
Microsoft is not going after that angle. Most people who watch a Windows Phone 7 commercial won't even know you can get Xbox Live achievements and talk with your Xbox Live friends. It'd be like if Sony released a PlayStation Phone and then never mentioned in a commercial that it could connect with your PlayStation.
In at least one Windows Phone 7 commercial, Microsoft does briefly mention connectivity with Xbox Live, but only in a 2-second blip as it mentions the other features. If I were Microsoft, I'd be heavily promoting the Xbox capabilities of the device, because offering social network and texting notifications is absolutely nothing new.
Then again, the other issue is the fact that consumers without a lot of money can't buy expensive smartphones, and expanding to a store like Radio Shack, which has historically offered great deals on otherwise expensive phones, is a move that certainly can't hurt.