This almost seems straight out of The Onion. Liz Sloan, of the WindowsTeamBlog, writes:
Fashion Week is in full swing in New York City this week, and today, we’re excited to announce five designer themes created just for Windows phones. The themes, which include custom palettes and wallpapers, were designed by some of today’s hottest designers: Diane von Furstenberg, Vera Wang, Isaac Mizrahi, Rock & Republic and Ron Arad…
Ah yes, nothing I value more in a smartphone than a snazzy fashion designer inspired and created wallpaper.
Smartphones are just as much a fashion statement as the clothes you wear and are quickly becoming a must-have accessory. The designer themes are just one more way that Windows phones help folks customize their device to fit their style. No other mobile platform offers this level of self-expression.
Translation: “We’re trying to be hip and cool.”
We’re excited to team up with these designers to let people customize their mobile device to fit their personality and express their style. It’s time to cast aside your drab default wallpaper and devices theme and make this year about style, color and fun!
Drab default wall paper, I cast thee out!! My days of suffocating under your boring death grip are now dead and gone!
All joking aside, these “exclusive designer themes” will be available as free downloads on Windows Marketplace in early October.
Now don’t get me wrong – If Microsoft wants to pay a bunch of big time designers a lot of money to create free wallpapers for Windows Phones, then by all means. Free wallpapers can’t be a bad thing, and maybe consumers will actually enjoy them. But it seems that Microsoft is simply trying to buy its way into relevancy. Given Microsoft’s current standing in the smartphone market, is paying a famous designer like Vera Wang, who’s better known for her wedding dresses, really a smart move? I’m not saying its a dumb move, but it seems indicative of a discombobulated strategy, and one lacking a direction.
People don’t buy smartphones because of exclusive wallpapers, and getting big name designers on board seems more like a marketing gimmick than anything else. And besides, on a smartphone that’s actually worth using (either for watching movies, playing games, or browsing the web), you’re probably not going to be looking at your wallpaper for more than a minute each day. Odds are that it will be more of a distraction than anything else.