Sales of Windows Phone 7 lag, creating problem for Nokia and Microsoft

Since Windows Phone 7 is essentially a dead end, the mobile platform’s popularity is unlikely to improve before Windows Phone 8 arrives.

Its going to be a long, dry summer for Microsoft and Nokia, with consumers roundly rejecting Windows Phone 7 and little hope that things will improve until Windows Phone 8 launches this fall. Despite a critically acclaimed OS that is popular with people who actually own a Windows Phone, Microsofts next-generation smartphone OS just cant catch a break.

Nokia, Microsofts biggest Windows Phone smartphone partner, announced that it shipped just 4 million Lumia phones worldwide between April and the end of June. Nokias biggest rejection came in North America, where the company during the recent quarter shipped just 600,000 Windows Phone and Symbian devices.

Compare that to Samsungs upcoming earnings announcement, which is expected to include sales of more than 50 million Android-powered smartphones over the past three months. And Apples most recent quarterly numbers reported iPhone sales topping 35 million. Even the struggling Research In Motion saw a bigger demand for BlackBerry phones, shipping 7.8 million devices between March and early June.

Windows Phone Gets Smoked

Nokias struggles in North America are no surprise, given the paltry adoption of Windows Phone in the U.S. A recent report by Nielsen pegged Windows Phone 7s American market share among smartphone users at 1.3 percent. Thats less than Windows Mobile, Microsofts previous mobile OS, which is still holding strong at 3 percent of U.S. smartphone users. Nielsen in May put Windows Phones market share at 1.7 percent in the U.S., with Windows Mobile making up 4.1 percent of smartphone users. Android is in the lead in the U.S., holding 51 percent of smartphone users, followed by Apples iOS at 34 percent and Research in Motions BlackBerry at 9 percent.

Since Windows Phone 7 is essentially a dead end, the mobile platforms popularity is unlikely to improve in the coming months, despite cheaply priced devices like the $50 Lumia 900. This fall, Microsoft will launch Windows Phone 8, a new version of Windows Phone that is incompatible with the current iteration. That means that every current Windows Phone 7 device -- including Nokias flagship Lumia 900 -- will not be able to upgrade to the new OS. Instead, Windows Phone 7 users will receive a cosmetic update called Windows Phone 7.8 that will give current devices the same start screen as Windows Phone 8.

Lucky Eight

Microsofts new version of Windows Phone will offer many new features that could herald more attractive and capable devices to win over users. Windows Phone 8 will support two new screen resolutions (1280-by-768 and 1280-by-720), removable SD card storage, a new digital Wallet hub, and near-field communication. But even with a promising new OS its not clear that smartphone users will flock to Windows Phone 8.

That must be frustrating for both Microsoft and Nokia since, at least in my opinion, Windows Phone is a very good OS. Its missing a few key apps in the Marketplace such as Dropbox and Instagram, and personally Id like to see Instapaper and Chess.com. And some of the functionality in Windows Phone is not as well thought out as it should be. The Pictures hub, for example, can automatically upload your camera images to SkyDrive, but Windows Phone doesnt provide an option to upload pictures only when youre connected to Wi-Fi.

Nevertheless, I am seriously considering Windows Phone 8 as my next smartphone, depending on how the app situation shakes out. Its a good, functional mobile platform, but it seems quality is not enough when it comes to taking on the more popular Android and iOS juggernauts.

Connect with Ian Paul (@ianpaul) on Twitter andGoogle+, and with Today@PCWorld on Twitter for the latest tech news and analysis.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?