Telecom marks Windows 8 turf

Perhaps the most remarkable feature of today’s Windows Phone 8 launch held at Telecom’s headquarters in Auckland was the scale of the event.

Almost 50 people were packed into Telecom’s presentation room. There were journalists, bloggers, a film crew and representatives from at least five companies as well as at least a dozen Telecom employees. I counted at least a dozen Windows 8 devices – certainly not all phones.

There were devices on show in the presentation room and then out in the main atrium area where three displays showing Windows 8 devices at home, at work and at play. There were even remote control cars being driven by phones.

Consistent Windows 8 on every device

Clearly the intention was to show Windows 8′s consistency across desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. This point was underlined by Telecom chief executive retail Chris Quin and Microsoft New Zealand managing director Paul Muckleston during their presentations.

The event was by far the largest technology product announcement I’ve seen in Auckland in the last seven or eight years. And that goes to underline Telecom’s determination to carve out the Windows Phone 8 territory ahead of its rivals.

Telecom plans to begin selling Windows 8 phones later this week. On show at the event were models from Nokia, Samsung and HTC. All were impressive devices. The first phone to hit the streets will be Nokia’s $999 Lumia 920.

Real interest

A Nokia representative told me there’s a real interest in this phone, far more than with the company’s earlier Windows Phone products and initial quantities shipped to Telstra in Australia sold out immediately.

Vodafone is expected to offer its own Windows Phone 8 devices before Christmas.

Today’s event comes two weeks after I wrote NZ carriers not behind Windows Phone 8 - that story is now outdated.