Choosing a new phone is a fairly easy task these days, you pick your favourite OS, then you pick a size, then a manufacturer, then a particular model, then a colour and that’s pretty much it. But what happens if you’ve only got one manufacturer to choose from? Unless you want an iPhone then it’s going to be a problem.
I’ve written lots about Windows Phone in the past and I’m starting to get a little bit concerned. The relationship between Microsoft and Nokia is in my opinion damaging Windows Phone. Microsoft currently pay Nokia $250 million per quarter, to basically keep their loyalty. That extra money which Nokia can put into bribing developers and for marketing.
With Windows Phone 7 we had a choice of devices from ZTE, Samsung, LG, HTC, Acer and of course Nokia. Even at the launch of Windows Phone 8 ZTE, Huawei and LG were meant to be releasing phones. So what happened?
Is the Nokia factor off putting for new manufacturers?
The current Windows Phone offering is becoming a one horse race with only really Nokia showing any ongoing interest. I really thought that Samsung would have announced a new Ativ Windows Phone last week, but no they seemed to have given up on the OS. HTC also don’t seem to have said anything about Windows Phone recently, there are the rumours about the HTC Tiara which is a mid range device and also the rumours of a HTC One inspired device. But it’s not exactly inspiring.
Even if a new manufacturer were to move to Windows Phone they would have an upwards struggle. Nokia have every corner of the market covered, cheap, not so cheap, mid range, not quite high end and also high end. Doesn’t leave much space does it?
Also the Nokia exclusive apps as great as they are, are damaging for the OS as a whole. The few manufacturers left release a cheap ish phone, about the same price as one of the budget Lumias, no one is going to buy it, take the Huawei Ascend W1 or the HTC 8S. The consumer wins because of all of the added extras offered by Nokia. But as a whole it is another factor stopping new manufacturers from bothering.
For a new manufacturer to get any leverage they’d have to spend money on marketing, developers, exclusive apps, schmoozing networks and carriers and also they’d need to target all corners of the market and also come up with competing technology to Nokias PureView and also lastly come up with something different. A unique selling point that no other company had. Sounds easy really, but I can’t see HTC, Huawei or Samsung bothering will all of that. So who will it be? Personally I don’t think anyone will and that is a problem.
So why do I care? I like choice that’s why, I don’t just want to choose from five different Lumia phones. If something doesn’t change this time next year we might be exactly that postion.