Microsoft has been a major player in the smartphone game since back in the days when their only competition was Palm. Windows Mobile had a very successful run before it was replaced years and years later with today’s Windows Phones.
It came as somewhat of a surprise when Microsoft recently announced they were acquiring audio/video chat and VoIP provider Skype. For those of you who don’t know, Skype has one of the best voice codecs around. Their codec (the algorithm that encodes your voice into digital data and back again) is very efficient, allowing for super-high quality audio while using relatively little bandwidth.
What if there might actually be something to those rumors? Just for a moment, let’s take a trip into the Neighborhood of Make-Believe and see what a Nokia + Microsoft + Skype merger could look like…
Microsoft already makes a great mobile OS (and it’s getting better). Nokia already makes great mobile handsets. Skype already has a great mobile communications app and an extensive network infrastructure.
Today on smartphones we have to pay a data plan, a voice plan, a texting plan, federal regulatory fees and who knows what else! You can easily pay well over US$100/month for a full-featured, “traditional” cellular service plan. What if you could get by with a data-only plan?
These plans generally go for US$50 to $70 per month (standalone). With them you use a wireless modem with a laptop or netbook and essentially have full access to anything you want on the Internet. You can watch YouTube and Netflix videos, get and send email, and even make and receive video phone calls using Skype.
Let’s take the netbook and miniaturize it down to the size of a smartphone, and put the wireless modem inside the “phone”. Nokia could make the hardware which would run Microsoft’s “Windows Phone” operating system. Using Skype (which would be built-in and tightly integrated with the OS) you could text your friends, make and receive audio and/or video calls, and using Skype Out you could even call people who are limited to an “old fashioned” smartphone or landline.
Do you think the folks in Redmond could be attempting to revolutionize the smartphone by combining their OS, hardware, and communications network all under the Microsoft umbrella?
Would you buy a data-only smartphone, built by “MS Nokia”, running Windows Phone, and connecting your calls with Skype?
Let us know in the comments!