Microsoft is to launch its Windows Phone 8 operating system across the globe next month, with Nigerians finally set to get access to the product having been excluded from previous versions.
Among the company’s four launch partners, only Huawei and HTC have revealed their intentions to formally unveil devices that run on the platform. Other launch partners are Samsung and Nokia. HumanIPO spoke with Dele Akinsade, Director Developer Platforms, Microsoft West, East and Central Africa, to find out Microsoft’s plans for the launch and why it took long for the OS to be available in Africa’s most populated country.
HumanIPO: We haven’t yet had the Windows Phone 8 in Nigeria. Samsung, HTC and Nokia make Windows Phones, but not yet for the Nigerian market. Why has this been the case?
Akinsade: When we release a product, we need to make sure that everything is in place. We want our customers to have a hitch-free experience. We want to ensure that there is an authorised point where support services can be rendered when customers have issues that need to be sorted out.
The phone is just the device, but there are services like Bing Map or Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive, the Marketplace that are part of the offering. We need to answer this question: “can you as a Nigerian use local cards and payment solutions to purchase apps in the application store?” Not all these services have been put in place.
In the next few months when the Windows Phone 8 is going to be out, Nigeria is going to be covered.
There is a new batch of countries that have been selected where the full range of Microsoft Windows Phone services will be available. Nigeria was included in the batch back in June 2012 and things are about ready.
HumanIPO: What is Microsoft doing in preparation for the launch?
Akinsade: Windows Phone 8 launch is on October 29 and we will be releasing information after that. We have been working very hard with OEMs, Operators, Students and the developer community in Nigeria and across Africa to make Windows Phone available in the market.
Although we do not have a date to share at this point, we look forward to having Windows Phone available towards the end of this year. Specific names of Operators and OEM’s will be released upon the launch.
HumanIPO: What should we expect when Windows Phones become available in the Nigerian Market?
Akinsade: Developers will be able to upload their applications to the Windows Phone Marketplace. Users can buy phones locally, enjoy warranty and have support whenever they have issues with their devices. Customers will also be able to buy different applications and services made available in the marketplace.
The only restriction is that if the content or service provider of certain apps and services restrict access to his service and product based on location, then that will be the only barrier stopping users in Nigeria from accessing certain content in the Marketplace.
Windows Phone 8 is scheduled for official launch on October 29, three days after the launch of the Windows 8 platform.