Mobile devices

Published on December 12th, 2015 | by Guest


Will Windows 10 help increase Windows Phone sales?

Windows 10 Mobile is slated to release towards the end of the year, and beta versions of the mobile OS have already been attracting a great deal of attention from developers. But will Windows phones ever be able to get close to the sales of Android phones? Some analysts feel the answer is no, that Windows Mobile will be too little too late.


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Windows 10 Mobile was originally supposed to come out in September, but as of September 11 Microsoft was still finding serious enough issues to cancel developer build releases (the latest would have prevented newer builds from installing entirely). Once it does come out, Windows 10 Mobile will take over from Windows Phone 8.1 on devices like the Microsoft Windows phones from Lumia family (which was formerly made by Nokia).

Still, despite all the excitement around Windows 10 for laptops, PCs, hybrids, and tablets, analysts are still unsure if Microsoft is fully committed to phones.

According to one analyst from Kantar, Microsoft may have given up their vision for a third ecosystem on phones, and will instead start focusing more and more on winning users on other devices with Windows 10, as well as with cross-platform services.

There are some indications that the recent Microsoft staff are restructuring future Microsoft mobile catalogue, focused more on higher-end and enterprise users in order to demonstrate Windows 10’s capabilities. Microsoft might then work with their manufacturing partners to develop a fuller device portfolio.

Microsoft still has their perennial problem of an app ecosystem which is far weaker than Apple and Google, and Windows 10 Mobile may not do much to change this.

However, Microsoft’s main services (Office and Skype) are still available to Android and iOS users, so they can still earn revenue from customers who aren’t buying Windows phones.



Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, February 24, 2015

Data from IDC indicates that Windows Phones made up just 2.7 % of smartphone sales worldwide in 1Q 2014, lagging well behind Android’s 78% and iOS’s 18.3%. It’s a slight increase from the previous year, but since 2012, Microsoft’s Windows Phone hasn’t even been able to get 5% of the worldwide market.

Samsung and HTC, who both built Windows Phone devices when the platform launched back in 2012, seem to have given up on Microsoft and now focus wholly on Android. (Samsung also has their own OS, Tizen.) Most Chinese manufacturers don’t seem all that interested in Microsoft’s offering either.

Dealing with fragmentation

For those who are using Windows Phone, analysts feel the upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile will be worth it. Apple has long figured out that there’s benefit to be had by offering updated software to some of the older iOS device users. The Android platform, which is inherently fragmented, has struggled with this on many occasions.

Microsoft’s policy means that customers can be confident knowing they can buy even the cheapest Windows devices and they will still be able to get updates later.

Some analysts in fact feel that, since Microsoft hasn’t been able to really capitalize on the impact which the Nokia Lumia brand had on the smartphone market’s high end, they should now focus on the low-end.

The new Windows 10 Mobile upgrade already seems to be taking this path: there’s word of devices priced around $80 running Windows 10 Mobile, which present significant opportunity to grow sales volumes in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa — both places where analysts expect significant mobile usage growth, as smartphones are the main way of using the Web there.

Nevertheless it’s unclear whether Windows 10 Mobile will be able to bring enough demand to make it worth the effort for Microsoft to stay in the market. A fairly weak and small handset portfolio might be disastrous if it doesn’t grow fast after the release of Windows 10 Mobile.

To be sure, the latest version of Windows 10 will help prop up Microsoft’s Lumia business a while, but hardware is as always key — Microsoft needs a strong portfolio of handsets to stay in the cutthroat and quite costly smartphone game.

Release issues

After a flurry of Tweets on the morning of September 10, Microsoft’s Gabe Aul announced the latest Windows 10 mobile build — a “beta” version so that developers can experiment with it before the OS is formally released to the public — would be released to members of the Fast Ring Windows Insiders group the following day. He warned there was a major bug affecting Windows Store purchases, and asked his Twitter followers whether they should put out a build. Still, the new build was supposed to fix a number of problems with earlier pre-release developer builds, and the response was very positive.

Unfortunately, on the release day, Gabe Aul sent out a series of tweets — they’d discovered the previous night that there was a serious bug that would prevent installing newer versions on top of the “developer test” version, and so they had to cancel the previously announced release.


About the author:


Kerry Blake – MS Office expert, IT lecturer and trainer with over eight years of experience. You can find him contributing on several technology sites, also, don’t be surprised if you find his name written under automotive articles.

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