Article first published as Does Microsoft Really Understand Smartphone Users? on Technorati

They go by many names: SmartphonesiPhonesCrackberries. Whatever you call them, our culture has become so reliant on these devices that many people feel almost naked without having them attached to their hip. Some users go as far as sleeping with them.

I wish I could prove to be the exception and not the rule but I am just as guilty of being addicted as the next guy. Hi, my name is Ryan and I’m an iPhone-a-holic.

Let me explain:

From the moment I wake up my iPhone is as much a part of my morning routine as anything else. More than an alarm, it enables me to catch up on morning news with the Sirius XM iPhone app and The Morning Briefing with Tim Farley on POTUS, or verify that the DC metro is on time before I leave the house. Then there are the discounts I get when I check in with Forsquare while I’m in line at Starbucks for my morning coffee. All of this is before I even reach the office.

I’m so dependent on my phone it makes me sick.

 That’s why I was so surprised when I woke up this morning to the TechCrunch story headline: “Microsoft Promises You Will Use Your Phone Less With Windows 7.”

 To borrow a line from Wayne’s World, "Exsqueeze me? Baking powder?”

With Windows Phone 7, despite an array of features promising to keep us connected to what we consider important Microsoft is actually hoping we’ll use our phones less? Yeah. That’ll happen.

Microsoft isn’t making any arguments about the phone’s ease of use or citing any particular rationale for why you would use their phone less as opposed to competition. Perhaps users may not want to use the phone as often. But that won’t help sales. The phone is feature packed and includes many of the staples we have come to expect from our smartphones, so unless ease of use is an issue, I wouldn’t count on users being so disciplined with their handsets.

The whole “less is more” mentality is great, so long as users don’t mistake Microsoft’s latest campaign with the notion that the device itself actually does less or performs inferior to the competition. That would be unfortunate and a disservice to what looks like a promising product.

With the phone slated for launch next month, Microsoft has stepped up its marketing efforts. The objective presumably is to convince many users (including those who currently use other smartphone platforms) that the Windows Phone 7 should be their phone of choice. That can only happen following an influx of early adopters who wield their influence convincing others that the phone is a major player worthy of consideration.

When early adopters invest in a piece of technology, they do so because they want to play with it. They don’t mind getting their hands dirty and dealing with the early glitches, kinks and the unknowns of what will happen. Early adopters will not be happy just keeping the phones in their pockets, and as far as Microsoft is concerned, that’s a good thing.

Microsoft’s website for the Windows Phone has a series of testimonials about the device. One such testimonial reads:

“It doesn’t take long to realize two things about Windows Phone. First, Microsoft gets it. Second, you’ll never go back.” –

That made me think. Does Microsoft get it? Or is their latest campaign a contradiction that demonstrates a lack of understanding of how these devices have shaped our lives?

Take a look at the commercial and decide for yourself.