Why are WindowsPhone smartphones not selling?

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wpThe first set of WindowsPhone smartphones hit the market in October 2010. Inspite of this slew of devices from over 5 manufacturers, this platform is clearly not selling in droves in the market.

The lack of sales seems to have informed Microsoft’s energy in courting Nokia to take up WindowsPhone as a primary smartphone platform. The Redmond giant mnust be hoping that with a manufacturer like Nokia pushing WindowsPhone, the platform stands a brighter chance of suceess. That reasoning is a valid one, and one can only hope that it returns great results.

I have owned two WindowsPhone devices and can tell anyone who cares to listen that the OS has a clean and elegant user interface. While its initial feature set was limited, in that it lacked lots of functionalities that are taken for granted on other platforms, WindowsPhone has seen additional features added to it.

The first update, which was named NoDo, added system-wide copy-and-paste functionality, among other improvements, to the OS

The next iteration dubbed Mango literally transforms the OS into the leagues of Android and iOS in terms of functionality, bringing multi-tasking and several other major improvements to the table. Mango has been reported as ready and being shipped to manufacturers already, so we can expect updates to existing devices, as well as a new set of devices.

It seems that WindowsPhone has all the trappings of a great product – a user-friendly UI, rapid updates with additional features, and a galaxy of hardware vendors behind it. Why has it failed to catch on in the marketplace so far?

8 comments

  1. I’ll say that the hardware requirements are pretty heavy, so virtually all the available models are top range. This means they are more expensive, and there are no middle- and low-end models.

    Also, most of the reviews I’ve read online about WP7 phones have complained about their crappy battery lives. Add this to the immaturity of the OS, and it’s not hard to understand why wp7 ain’t selling in droves.

    As you said, the alliance with nokia and release of Mango update should increase sales. But only if the battery life issue is properly addressed too.

  2. It saddens me really to see Microsoft, having devoted so much time and resources to transforming winmos to WP7, an overall transformation, still low sales. Although spacyzuma made a point regarding the high hardware specs required to run WP7, I think their is more to it. I have as well used the HD7 before. Very smooth os. However, Microsoft seems to be doing the catching all the time and I think that is the real problem.
    While WP7 competitors were already offering cut and paste, Microsoft went ahead and released WP7 without such important functionality. It will definitely put any buyer off. Why should I buy an expensive WP7 that wouldn’t permit me to copy and paste? I can do this on an android running x10 mini which costs a lot less.
    I also noticed that though the WP7 apps are not as many as you have for ibos and android, the few available ones were mostly paid apps. These are apps that are free on the android market and a nigerian user like me needs such free apps to enjoy my WP7 since we are not allowed to buy. Check for example, the yahoo messenger app that is free on android marker is a paid app on WP7. The android version,which is free, even allows video call while the paid one on WP7 does not.
    There is also the issue of side-loading apps. On android you can install apps from sources other than the android market but not on WP7(well the last time I checked).
    The issue of multitasking is so important that I don’t know why Microsoft decided not to have it on their initial release.
    Microsoft also decided to use Bing maps in place of google maps. I am a GIS student and I use my maps a lot. The bing maps is new and does not have the kind of coverage like those of ovi and google maps, especially for those of us in developing countries.
    I know that the WP7 mango update is addressing most of these shortcomings, however, the competing ios and android will soon leave WP7 behind with their release of the ios 5 and ice cream sandwich.

  3. I think the number reason as Spacyzuma said is that because of the strict hardware specifications laid down by Microsoft, most if not all the models are expensive hence the hesitation or constraint on willing customers to buy it. I believe what has made Android grow to this stage is because it is available at almost any price range and that is what gave it the major push but hopefully with Nokia now in the mix we can hope to see Windows Phone devices at different price ranges.

  4. As tight as the Mobile OS landscape is presently, any company trying to break in or press seriously for market share just need to watch its implementation of features in the OS. Disabling features that people have come to take for granted in mobile devices is not likely to help Windows Phone devices.

    Android copied iOS but Android devices are not skimping on hardware feature like support for SDcard nor is the OS lacking full support in its bluetooth implementation. Again the freedom allowed Android device owners in choosing what application and multimedia contents they put in their devices, how they put them and even where they get application from is one strong selling point for Android devices even as I admit that that freedom could counter against Android sometimes.

    Now assuming you’re to remove those distinguishing features from Android, what likely feature are you going to present to someone already using iOS device? I do not see any. It would only be plain imitation of iOS devices.

    Apple did it and got away with it because they brought something entirely new – they made touch controlled devices very natural and mainstream. Now they have a strong following they can continue in their game.

    Microsoft should try not to copy retrogressively.

  5. The making of a great OS is strongly tied to how the end user would perceive the product and the features. What Microsoft got wrong was to totally restrict itself to its fantasies of what an OS should be without much thought to what users might want. Like it is said, first impression counts a lot. The first release of Windows Phone was absolutely a let down, a fine user interface notwithstanding. Someone must have slapped Microsoft back to reality, hence Mango update…

    Update… Hey!! This is August! The month Nokia promised us symbian Anna update!!! Let the count down begins! Nokia better not messed this up.

  6. A low cost WP7 device might be totally possible. The guys at Nokia conversations just out’d the Nokia 500 which packs a 1GHz processor and Anna that costs about €150 or N35000 hopefully Nokia would be able apply themselves into producing a similar costing WP7 device.

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