Last summer, Google marveled the world with Chromecast.
It was a breakthrough at the time because for a mere $35 bucks you could plug a USB-drive-sized device into the HDMI port on your TV and then stream media from your mobile gadgets to your TV.
In today’s post I’ll introduce you to Microsoft’s latest spin on Google’s Chromecast and then I’ll close with my thoughts on the matter.
So let’s get to it – what is this Wireless Display Adapter thing?
Well, Microsoft in an uncanny case of imitation, released its own take on wireless streamcasting which it is plainly calling the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter.
I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet but it initially it looks like a decent way to share media on larger screens.
According to Microsoft, the device “delivers a reliable connection with up to a 23-foot range” and it should work as long as you have a Miracast enabled device with the latest updates.
Interestingly enough, at $60, the device is almost double the price of its competitor and apparently isn’t even compatible with Surface RT. I see that as a big issue but I’m not sure Microsoft is so concerned.
Marketing the Adapter
Microsoft recently posted a 60 second promotional video on Youtube flaunting how the Wireless Display Adapter is easy enough for a child to use, professional enough for business use and cool enough to be embraced by breakdancing hipsters.
According to Brandon LeBlanc, Senior Marketing Communications Manager at Microsoft, setting up the Wireless Display Adapter is supposed to be as easy as plugging one end into your TV’s USB port and connecting the other end to your HDMI port.
LeBlanc explains it this way:
[…] then select the right input on your TV, pair it with your laptop, tablet, or smartphone and you’ll be ready to go
Here’s the picture of his setup:
There’s no doubt that setup is pretty easy but is that enough?
Let me tell you what I think about this thing…
Here are three quick thoughts –
1. Microsoft doesn’t believe in the product
First, if Microsoft really believed in this product, why does the video promo show the subject using an Android phone instead of a Windows Phone?
Check the video at 0:36 to see what I mean.
2. Microsoft’s customer marketing isn’t memorable
Second, when it comes to reaching laypeople, Microsoft sucks.
Microsoft’s real strength is rooted in its inimitable ability to dominate the Enterprise. Most Fortune 500 companies use Windows for end user workstations and Active Directory provisioning but – seriously – when it comes to mobile devices – how many people do you know who are genuinely rhapsodizing about the latest Microsoft thing?
Microsoft simply hasn’t figured out how to reach ordinary customers – I mean, just look at the video ad. It’s so uninspiring, almost insipid and boring. There’s no mission and it doesn’t elicit any emotion from me the way a Google or Apple ad does.
3. The price sucks
Why would anyone pay $60 for something they can grab from Google for almost half the price?
The Chromecast has been out for over a year now and a lot of bugs have already been ironed out; however, the Microsoft Wireless Adapter is Microsoft’s perfunctory attempt at gaining influence in the wireless media streaming market.
When the wireless adapter drops, it will ineluctably have bugs and people will ineluctably complain and trash the product on social sites and blogs.
If I were leading the Microsoft product team for this initiative I would do three things:
- Forget everything but quality
- Forget everything but quality
- Forget every freggin’ thing but quality
If you want people to use your latest invention make it user friendly. Make it beautiful and make it affordable. Listen to what the public wants and then don’t just meet their requests but exceed them.
And make it memorable.
The name “Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter” is so prosaic that I almost want to regurgitate the sushi I had for lunch this afternoon.
The name is Lame.
Conversely, Miracast is a great name so why not name it something like MiracleStream or Miracaststick?
I don’t know what Microsoft should call it but it should definitely call it anything but “Wireless Display Adapter”.
What do you think about the Wireless Display Adapter?
- Will it take off?
- Will you buy one?
- Is it just a Chromecast rip off?
Let me know in the comments!