Say hello to Lumia Voices, the new brand for Microsoft Connects

As of today, Connects is no more as a brand. The program and the team behind it has become an official Microsoft channel.

Say hello to Lumia Voices.

I had the pleasure of talking to the team recently about the upcoming changes. To a lot of people in the community, Connects has been a central part and offered some unique opportunities to connect with the manufacturer.

If you're not familiar, here's a quick background check courtesy of Bosola Ajenifuja, Global Advocacy Manager of Microsoft Lumia:

"When the Connects programme first started, it was all about giving people who love their tech the chance to put our devices to the test in new and exciting ways. Reaching out to them via their forums and blogs.The trial programme, which has been running for eight years, has been a fantastic way for us to get people to share their genuine and honest opinions about our products.It's been a really great way to build an amazing community of people who have strong friendships with each other and a strong relationship with the brand. "

Nokia World 2013 in Abu Dhabi

One of those unique opportunities has been taking some of the community out to special events. I, for example, went out to Nokia World in Abu Dhabi with Connects before I was a full-time member of the Windows Central team. Besides being an incredible experience both with Microsoft and seeing an amazing location such as that, it was great meeting other community members and making new friends.

Naturally, the community enjoys going to places like this or MWC in Barcelona, but why do it at all?

"It creates an opportunity for us to get that face to face time with the community. We love to take the time to introduce our community to the people behind the scenes who make the brand what it is, like product managers, engineers and senior leaders, who can share with them the vision for Lumia and for Microsoft, as we grow and evolve as a business."

It isn't just tech bloggers and enthusiasts either:

"The past couple of years it's been really important for us to bring together people from really diverse backgrounds. We now include photographers, artists and explorers in the programme - really anyone who is doing something inspiring and helping to push the boundaries of what can be achieved with our devices"."Whether it's meetups or launch events we're always looking for opportunities to bring our community along and help make them part of the story we're creating."

There have also been the weekly Instagram takeovers at the weekends. Someone from the community takes over the team's Instagram account and delivers a Lumia powered photo tour around their part of the world. And the results are often breathtaking.

The good news is that what everyone loved about Connects isn't going away. Ultimately the core aspects of how the team and the company interact with the community remains the same and will only continue to grow as time goes by.

So why Lumia Voices, then?

"We really wanted a name that stood for what the program is truly about, which is the voice and spirit of our community. For us, the programme is about getting the devices into the hands of people who have stories to tell, and supporting those stories through the technology we can provide."

A Lumia 435 provided to us by Connects

One of the first interactions that newcomers have is through the device trials. For some, this is a way to check out the latest that Lumia has to offer. For others, it's a first-time experience with Microsoft, Lumia and Windows Phone as a platform.

You'd be hard pushed to find another manufacturer that will willingly send out its devices to the general public to trial. Sometimes it's hard enough getting them to review as members of the media!

The trials are a great way to introduce people to the platform, and those are certainly set to continue. In fact, it's beginning to extend beyond just Lumia with Surface.

"We want to show the community what one experience really means and how we are now all part of Microsoft as a whole. With our Surface and Lumia trials, that's just the beginning of us creating new ways for you to experience a mix of our devices and services together.

Trials wouldn't be worth doing unless Microsoft saw benefit in doing so, and the success of the program ultimately comes down to the response of the community.

"Here at Microsoft we love the content you create. It's really inspiring to see how you guys are able to take our devices and create beautiful images, as well as teach other people how to use our devices and get the best out of them. There's a really strong appreciation within Microsoft for our community, and how it helps spread the word about Lumia and Microsoft as a whole.And that's not just through the trials programme but also through the amazing experiences and stories we are able to create with you."

Microsoft at Mobile World Congress 2015

So, while the name is changing, what made the Connects program so popular and successful will remain. Lumia Voices is the future of the Microsoft Lumia community and in closing they had this to say to you. To everyone who helped make it what it is today.

"We just want to say a big thank you to the entire community for how much they've supported us over the years. We always talk about how much you guys really give and how much you create and how amazing the content you create is.We're really inspired by it, and it's a massive thank you from us for being on the journey with us and we're really proud of it."

The journey continues, and we're proud to be a part of it. So, welcome, Lumia Voices!

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

  • Love em since Nokia days..
  • Yaa!! I agree with you!!
  • And some brainless people are still talking about Death of W10Mobile and Lumia ... Wake up guys.. ;)
  • I think they are always half sleeping or drunk..
  • or bunch of brainless iSHEEP and Google people trying to start bunch UNTRUE BS rumors, just to get them talking and have negative thoughts in people's head. This is how negative brainwashing works. All those paid off medias working for CrApple and Google(90% of them working for CrApple, since they own pretty much ALL OF THEM), working so hard to make windows/MS phns and win10 to fail.   
  • Or they are visionares with muddy crystal balls.
  • Wake up to what? Single digit marketshare? If there was a reason for app developers to wake up they would.
  • You'll figure it out soon enough. In the mean time take our word for it and just wait.
  • Your argument doesn't really make any valid point. OSx only has about a 4 market share, Linux is only like 1%, they aren't considered dead.
  • Re: Axmantim,
    Thank you. People always forget the market share numbers for OSx and Linux. They never speak of them at all.
  • Actually this site did an article last week on the differences.
  • @Rishicash... You better give a reply to @Axmantim.. Or consider yourself as a JackAss
  • I'm sorry that nearly 600,000+ apps in app store is not enough for you, and that single digit you are referring to equals to millions of windows phn devices, which is in 2nd place in several countries ahead of CrApple's overrated iJUNK. Also, With Win10 running on all devices, including PC's, Phns, Xbox,............there will be well over 1,000,000,000+ billion devices, which also equals to DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS seeing HUGE opportunity for universal windows apps running on ALL those 1,000,000,000+ billion Win10 devices. This war just got started buddy, and MS is about to kick some serious ass.   
  • Some people with brains are talking about the imminent death too.   FYI, this guy literally wrote the book on billing for wireless networks that all mobile carriers use today.
  • Maybe I didn't read far enough, but all he did was mention rumors (that he never sites any source of) and that was it. Also I fail to see how writing a book about billing qualifies one to be an expert on OS development and distribution.
  • But he's still talking about rumours.  Yes, credit for getting billing right.  But billing is not a product. I doubt they will suddenly kill off WP.  They might do something like announce it will stop being supported by 20xx.  Also they are heavy into cloud and services.  They also do hardware - (Xbox),  Is WP really a loss for them?  Yes, the acquisition of Nokia was expensive, but would have been more for them to start from scratch.  Asia is still a huge growing market. Android controls 80% of the world phone market.  I predict Apple will stop making phones ... sometime.   So out of curiousity, if you knew WP was going to be killed off in two years, but still fully supported (upgrade, apps) - when would you ditch it for another OS? Right away? Wait a year? The day it dies? Btw, I hung on to my Nokia N8 till November 2014.  When Foursquare stopped working - I knew as a smartphone I was done.  A 12 MP camera, solid build and yes a phone still worked, but time to move on.  If symbian was still supported today, I'd still have a Symbian phone.  It is because MS bought Nokia - I gave WP a try.  
  • Nokia was not bought. They sold one loss making division to MS.
  • Sounds like a confusing beta connect
  • Well, it's confused you, at least.
  • Glad to see the rename. Not that itll be something the avg. Joe will see including MS connect(especially since they went all in for the consumer dashboard preview being hosted on forums)
  • Maybe they should've colled it Confusions?
  • Fitbit?  That's... interesting. I know they've been bundling a Fitbit with the Lumia 830 in certain markets, but I wonder if this is a an uninended slip that signals some kind of deeper relationship between the companies?
  • I hope so, I'd be pretty happy if I could use my band's step and sleep tracking with FitBit's platform
  • Its a rule that some MS products must be dissed. Now Band got selected.
  • They are indeed a bunch of cool people. And now with the new name, Nokia can also take back their Connects branding which is also good. After all, it makes more sense to have something regarding "Connecting" attached to Nokia than to Microsoft. I just wonder why go with "Lumia" if they're bringing in the Surface too. Somehow I think "Microsoft Voices" would have made more sense. But oh's Microsoft after all. We all know how messed up they can get their brandings =P
  • They might actually launch a crazy device called "Lumia tablet" with Windows 10 Mobile and Continuum, where you flip between Mobile and Desktop whenever you want, like a phone/tablet hybrid/laptop device. Who knows? We already know that this is going to be the case with phones, but they might actually make a specially branded device that does this in a more dedicated "laptop"-like fashion or something, rather than being a phone first. Yes, Nokia made a Lumia tablet, but I think there might be a remake of that later on, with Windows 10 focus, at some point.
  • I actually doubt you'll see another Lumia tablet. Actually, I expect you see a decrease in the number of Lumias as it is. With Microsoft expected to turn Lumia phones into a more reference-device type like the Surface, I could see such a tablet appearing more under the Surface brand than the Lumia one. BUT yeah, who knows? Asus has already done a couple of tablet/phone combos like that called the Asus PadFone, between 2012-2014. They did the exact same thing Continuum does but on Android. Which was an odd choice but the only one they could do at the time, really. Maybe, with Continuum, Microsoft manages to have them ressurect the PadFone concept. We'll see.
  • Wow - that PadFone is cool!  Hope MS does somethign similar - but amazingly so!    
  • Where did you get the idea of Lumia becoming reference devices from? They provide the best WP experience (Thanks to Nokia, of course) out there. Lumia and Windows Phone are alive thanks to each other and if MS were to stop selling these phones they will never have more than 1% market share. As for a Lumia-branded tablet or a Surface-branded phone, I call BS.
  • There are various indicators that the Lumia line will follow that path. Nadella always opposed the D&S deal and Microsoft Mobile is a money waster. The company will probably be soon closed (hence Eflop leaving) and the integration of the devices with others like the Surface and the Microsoft Band point to that path. Daniel wrote an article on that already. There are actually plenty of articles that will enlighten you in that area around, from WCentral and other tech sites. Google it ;)
  • Maybe it will just have a main focus of Lumia but also devices that work well in conjunction with them? I'd expect that to be the idea anyway.
  • where do I sign up? Eh, I probably missed that.
  • Cool cool. Cool cool cool.
  • I have used this service a couple of times trialling the Lumia's 1320 and very recently 640. It's really good and glad to see they're continuing it. Interesting to see they're adding the Surface line into the mix.
  • Where do I sign up?! :)
  • I also want to sign up!
  • It's not a thing you sign up to as such. When they're trialling devices you can apply to try one.
  • Great! #thelumians
  • Microsoft needs to make just 2 high end flagship lumia devices per year and leave the low end to OEMs
  • Voices in my head...
  • MS all day!
  • Why does it bother some of you for Microsoft to make phone that working people can afford? It can only be that you are arrogant,snotty,little elitists. Not much fun to be excluive unless someone is excluded. Most of your ilk have never done a hard days work in your lives but you think yourselves superior. I hope Microsoft continues on the present course of inclusion. Your way led to the tiny market share Windows phone enjoys right now. Some never never learn.
  • Did Connects ever get re-branded from Nokia to Microsoft? Whenever I do a reset on my phone to the latest stable 8.1 ROM using the Microsoft Recovery tool, the OOBE still prompts to join Nokia Connects program. I was confused thinking this had something to do with Microsoft Connect, the site for sharing feedback about beta software which seems to have been all but abandoned after the re-organization.  
  • What your Windows Phone invites you to join is the Nokia improvement program, not Connects.
  • Really enjoyed this article. Thanks guys.