I was watching Bones last night on Fox and was briefly startled by the very prominent exposure given to a Windows Phone 7 device. It was in the hands of the title character, Temperance "Bones" Brennan (Emily Deschanel), and it received what seemed like an inordinate amount of screen time for something that didn't necessary influence the storyline at all. But what struck me and grabbed my attention so quickly was how recognizable the Windows Phone 7 UI actually is.
As Bones tapped a Live Tile on the phone's Start screen, you see the tiles go flying off to one side like leaves in an autumn breeze, revealing the next-level screen. It's altogether an unmistakable look—proof that Microsoft has both produced something different from the other smartphones on the market and been able to quickly get that image out into the mainstream. Much has already been made about Microsoft's marketing budget for Windows Phone 7; clearly product placement is a big part of that strategy. And I have to wonder how long in advance the planning for such a placement goes so that we get this shot in the very week the new phones go on sale in the US.
I later saw on Twitter that @windowsphone, the official Twitter feed for Windows Phone 7, had given a heads up of the appearance:
#WindowsPhone 7 guest stars tonight on @FOXBroadcasting's Bones to help Brennan & Booth solve their case easier & faster.
A bit of an overstatement, but sticks to the company-line message of "easier & faster" for the new phones. Apparently, Windows Phone 7 devices have already received prominent placement in The Vampire Diaries on the CW Network and in CBS's Hawaii Five-O. Yes, it does seem like Microsoft is doing everything to make its new smartphone platform into a hip, exciting alternative for all those Apple and Android fanatics. We'll see if it takes.