Windows Phone. It’s time for some home truths

Windows Phone. Its time for some home truthsHmmm…

Reviews for the Nokia Lumia 900 over in the USA are certainly mixed. What seems to be coming across isn’t necessarily the hardware either. The specs aren’t as good as other handsets, but Windows Phone doesn’t necessarily need it.

Strangely, over here in Europe, the Nokia Lumia 900 is around the same price as the HTC One X.

Perception. It’s a word that I’ve had drilled into me. Your product can be amazing, but if people don’t see it that way, you’re screwed.

The Lumia 900 has a 1.4GHz single-core CPU, has 16GB of storage and runs Windows Phone 7.5. There’s some great apps, but not the selection you’ll find on iOS and Android. It’s £486 on Clove.

The HTC One X has a quad-core 1.5GHz CPU, has 32GB of storage and runs Android 4.0. There’s a boat-load of apps. It’s £492 on Clove.

Why is the Lumia 900 so expensive here in Europe? Is Nokia or the retailer ramping up the price to increase the perceived value of the phone? If so, it may well work, or it might not. Single-core Android phones with 8 megapixel cameras can sell for half the amount that the Lumia 900 is. What would you choose?

That’s just skimming the surface. I’m more than aware that Android fans are HUGE Android fans, Windows Phone fans are HUGE Windows Phone fans and iPhone fans are… well, you get the idea. But I feel something bad in my waters.

Why the hell is the Windows Phone market share SHRINKING in the USA? Will people really pay extra for the Lumia 900? Has Nokia still got that “brand value” ?

I can’t emphasise the point about the app catalogue enough. If you don’t have at least three versions of Angry Birds you’re in trouble, and Microsoft are in a massive Catch 22 situation. Developers don’t want to make apps for a platform with a tiny customer base, and customers don’t want to buy a phone with a tiny app catalogue. Microsoft are trapped in market where major apps are advertised and promoted on TV and newspapers for two platforms only – Android and iPhone. Where’s Instagram, Draw Something, Cut the Rope ? Unless Microsoft turn up with a briefcase full of cash, even those big games won’t appear on Windows Phone anytime soon, and when / if they eventually appear, everyone else has moved on.

The marketing campaign and “Smoked by Windows Phone” challenge hasn’t convinced many, and you can beat Windows Phone merely by dragging the right widget onto your homescreen and disabling your lock screen.

I’m in the UK though, and the market share numbers we’ve seen are from America. So, I asked someone in the US, I won’t mention his name but he’s a massive Windows Phone fan and uses one daily. Why does he think that Windows Phone is showing a drop in market share?

There’s a number of reasons for me..

Virtually no advertising compared to iPhone and Android devices, few “new” devices (new Android models seemingly launch weekly), (relatively) no phones in the wild for people to see/covet, not actively “pushed” by the major carriers (part of the advertising/new devices problem), and, really, the lynchpin, IMO, Windows Phone doesn’t, (and has never,) offered anything really compelling over iOS or Android. A neat UI just can’t trump missing features, missing apps, etc. for most consumers.

Windows Phone has a lot going for it though. The voice calling experience is great, there’s some good Xbox Live games and a decent Office / Onenote / Skydrive integration.


I’m going to stick my neck out here. Something is wrong.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

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  • Something is seriously wrong. Laggard comes to mind. They don’t seem to understand their position in the market and what it will take to become a serious contender.

    • Chris

       WP& is fluid and smooth, but not customisable enough for a “smartphone” UI; the lack of USB sync with Msoft Outlook still hasn’t been sorted – this is a major problem for businesses which for confidentiality reasons cannot put their data in the cloud.  There is a limit to the size of a contact/company name and also to the number of contacts. WP& still doesn’t deliver.  iOS and Android have neither of these problems.

      • Adam Wolfe

        Completely agree here. I was a complete Windows Mobile user with FULL integration with Outlook via USB. Phone network shop staff in the UK are clueless about this and keep telling people that sync will work, but you need that cloud thingy – if they even say that! I was nearly suckered by certain fruity network until I did my own research and discovered the truth. Now I use Android with the Google system and it all works perfectly. I don’t need the same confidentiality, but many do. In essence MS has alienated their entire business user base by removing ActiveSync from the Windows system.

  • Anonymous

    Windows Phone market share is shrinking in the USA…?  I’ve not seen it show up in a marketshare infographic since it launched — there isn’t anything there to shrink.

    The continued failure of WindowsPhone has nothing to do with Nokia, it’s just the overall user experience of owning a Microsoft mobile device.

    It continues though to be the favorite OS of professional clowns everywhere:

    • Early on windows numbers were being dismissed because they
      still included WM6 phones, I wonder if their shareis shrinking because those older
      phones are being retired?

      • Anonymous

        Sssshhhhh… don’t say that, it would make WP7 appear to be doing even worse ;-)

  • Steve

    You pretty much have summed up my thoughts on WP7. What that guy said about a neat UI not being able to trump missing features, apps etc is bang on.

  • Lee Marshall

    I’d love to give WP a go, being a long term Windows Mobile user in the past. However I love Android and am concerned that the lack of apps would spoil my enjoyment of the phone. Also the price of the handsets is too high for the technology included, particularly screen resolution.

    If it was cheap enough to give it a punt I probably would, but to risk 18 months of payments on one? No thanks.

  • The answerr is that they came to the phone 2.0 party too late hanging on to wm6 for far too long.
    Now if they spend some money and buy Rim before apple they could go back to their corprate routes and have a chance….

  • Last comment…. Vhs vs Betamax proves a better product does not mean mass sales….

    • Lee Marshall

      Actually the commercial variant of Betamax, Betacam went on to great success. Just goes to prove that if you have a good product it is just about finding the right market.

  • I have just got a Lumia 800 and I am currently testing it against my Xperia S and I am liking some of the aspects of it but i am also not sure on some of the other aspects. Time will tell on this one for me but i cannot help but feel that the Android device will win out in the end for me.

  • M U F C_matt

    The app store (marketplace) is where wp7 lacks the most, I have a hd7 and in due a upgrade soon. About the same time as the lumia 900 is out in the UK, but im seriously contemplating switching back to android and just using the wp7ui app..wp7 is a relatively new Os and I can understand that, but not being able to send mp3 via blutooth just doesn’t cut it. Wp7 is too closed source

  • Anonymous

    MS just don’t seem to be trying very hard. They’ve got a solid base for a successful platform but they need to build on it quickly and strongly.

    Where’s all the marketing? I’m struggling to remember the last time I saw an ad for Windows Phone. They need spend a few billion to get it in everyone’s face. I’d bet if I asked 10 random people about WP, over half wouldn’t have a clue about it.

    They also need to iterate more quickly. Yearly updated just don’t cut it when you’re missing crucial features that the completion have had for ages.

    And they really need to pay devs more to get the top apps onto WP as soon as possible. I can’t believe they didn’t get Rovio to make a WP version of Angry Birds Space to release alongside the other variants.

    Yes, WP is beautiful, and a breath of fresh air. But that hasn’t been enough and they need to do more.

  • The issue, as you said, is perception.  No other platform can offer the same
    performance, smoothness, consistency or battery life on equivalent
    hardware.  However Microsoft isn’t cool
    in the way that Apple has managed to become. 
    Apple has presented itself as hip and stylish while MS is often seen as
    a mix of young Bill Gatesesk geeks and the old IBM corporate suits that are
    still imagined as bumbling their way through a windows 3 release.


    Visually WP7 is clean and fluid but it lacks the visual eye
    candy that people have gotten used to on other platforms.  That makes it different and not instantly
    appealing to everyone.  By contrast
    Android is almost infinitely customizable with several variety of chrome available
    by software venders and phone OEM’s.  However
    from the way I’ve seen people customize their phones with horrendous color
    schemes and home screens packed with incoherent combinations of links and
    widgets this practice should be banned by an international treaty.


    Hardware wise the variety of devices is good but the quality
    isn’t there.  Not having held the Lumina
    900 HTC makes the best WP7 hardware but it’s not even HTC’s best hardware.  I’m not even talking specs I’m just referring
    to build quality and design.  Same
    applies to Samsung.  My wife’s Samsung
    infuse isn’t a high end device but holding it in my hand it feels much nicer
    than my Focus.  I’m still waiting for a
    WP7 rom to find its way onto my Desire Z…


    Hardware specs are part of the perception problem.  WP7 doesn’t need quad cores to run smoothly
    but to the uninformed potential converts it stands out as a negative even when
    it isn’t.  The screen resolution is
    another sticking point for some but again this is irrelevant.  I have watch videos alongside my friend’s 4S
    and the picture quality on my 4 inch screen was easily a match for his smaller
    screen.  Sadly the only ways to win this
    game are to go dark (like Apple) and not release detailed info or compete spec
    for spec with Android.  Until they do
    they will continue to lose the spec battle.


    The app gap everyone mentions is a red herring and purely a
    perception issue.  Of all the apps that
    are missing I only find one that I actually used on my android phone, Google
    Navigation.  I have tons of apps
    installed on my Focus, just like my Androids, that I never use.  This seems to be typical for a lot of
    people.  They want the apps, install them
    then rarely if ever use them but they become important if they aren’t there.  I admit I probably use some of these apps
    more on my Flyer than on any of my phones but the things that I do use often
    are built into WP7 and I find them far superior to the Android and iOS offerings,
    even compared to my beloved HTC devices.


    What WP7 can’t do is become an elitist platform.  It has to become the everyman platform and to
    do this MS needs to address its marketing, and irrelevant as they may be they
    need to take on the spec perception problem and the app gap. 


    Ultimately WP7’s key to success is going to rely on working
    well with Windows 8 and hopefully a clever integration of the two.

  • Anonymous

    agree with you again willian n – (see other story for more agreement)! i miss google navigation, but i unlocked my htc titan and bunged nokia drive on there and it does the trick just fine. used turn by turn before that but it was a bit american on the instructions :-) other than that basically all the apps that i actually used daily are there on wp7. examples – imdb (the android one i use on my galaxy tab is now awful – wp version much better), facebook (again the android one has become slower and buggier over time – wp version lovely), tunein radio, pulse, skype, bbc news, twitter. metronomes and tuners (i’m  a musician). all there and mostly free :-)

  • I love it.

  • Trevor

    I’ve never really bought in to apps, so I don’t miss them on my Omnia W (only £300 for an AMOLED screened WP7 phone from Play/Amazon if anyone is looking!). However, I fully accept that WP7 is a difficult switch for existing smartphone users.

    I’m not sure how many non-geek-types care about the number of processors or what that means to them, so I don’t think that is stopping adoption. I can only compare my dual-core Android tablet with my single-core WP7 in terms or performance and the phone wins hands down. That may be screen related, although in resolution terms there isn’t a massive difference. It’s mostly physical size. Certainly I can’t have live wallpaper on, otherwise the tablet experience is awful.

    I suspect nothing will happen with developer take-up until Windows 8, because developers will want to be seen on that platform and hopefully the apps will be interchangeable between the desktop and mobile experience.

    Hardware choice/proliferation is what I blame. Having only Nokia and HTC releasing devices and then only infrequently is ridiculous. The offerings from Samsung and LG are even more woeful. Samsung has a great device in the US, but didn’t bring it to Europe. Why? Still, I’m happy with my Omnia W and my wife wants one too, so that’s another 2 for Steve’s team. :-/