We found ourselves standing in front of a five-meter high loop on a barge, floating on the Thames, behind the London Eye the other night. Why? To watch Danny MacAskill pull off one of the biggest single tricks of his career.
Typically we wouldn’t cover trials bike stunts, even when they’re as epic as this, but the whole affair was garbed in Windows Phone livery and served as an unofficial relaunch of sorts for the Lumia brand and Cortana.
The other week we met the first Microsoft Devices-branded Lumia, the 535 and at Wednesday evening’s event, there wasn’t a Nokia logo in sight. Instead Cortana; Windows Phone’s voice assistant was the star of the show (alongside Danny, of course).
The 28-year-old is an accomplished trials bike rider from Skye, Scotland. Punch his name into YouTube and you’ll be peppered with hours of video devoted to his incredible talents on two wheels (‘The Ridge’ is a particularly good watch from earlier this year), but despite all his experience and his achievements he’d never tried anything quite like this.
About five weeks in the making and countless trial runs on dry land, MacAskill hopped off a podium, pulling a 180 degree turn in the air before powering down a ramp, snapping into a complete loop, finishing with another hop onto and off of a bar (the only thing stopping him from freewheeling into the icy Thames), before pulling an endo, whilst rolling backwards to finally stand triumphantly, bike aloft, to soak in the crowd’s appreciation and a verbal pat on the back from an oversized Cortana on the screen behind him.
Microsoft approached MacAskill to help make this latest stunt a reality about five weeks prior and handed him a Lumia 930, complete with Cortana to serve as his personal assistant for the journey. Apparently MacAskill relied on Cortana to organise appointments, ensure he left for meetings on time and allowed him to send message to his mum using voice alone.
When you stand back from the whole affair, we suspect it’s the Microsoft money that was the enabler for this event, more so than having a digital voice assistant at his beck and call (although that undoubtedly helped). This serves as the latest example of Microsoft’s attempts to push the merits of its mobile OS and Lumia devices to consumers over the competition’s offerings.
Adam Johnson, Marketing Manager for Mobile Devices at Microsoft UK explained that the company wants to highlight the standout experiences that can only be had on a Windows Phone, “Our job is to give people a reason to buy a Lumia phone. Often that isn’t necessarily hardware based.”
He went on to say, “Cortana is a really great reason to buy a Lumia device, I don’t mention that because the 1020 might have a 41-megapixel camera, but you couldn’t get that on a 520, whereas the 930 runs Cortana and the 530 will run Cortana, so it’s much more cross-device.”
With the transition from Nokia to Microsoft Devices do you think the Lumia brand and the Windows Phone experience will grow or are consumers already too wrapped up in Android and iOS to care? Leave your thoughts down below.