Microsoft (MSFT) struck a nerve with customers when it revealed that smartphones running Windows Phone 7 could not be updated to Windows Phone 8. This will not be the case for Windows Phone 8 with the company’s rumored Blue update, however. Greg Sullivan, a senior marketing manager at Microsoft, confirmed to PCMag that the company has “an upgrade path going forward” for Windows Phone 8 devices. The executive added that Microsoft’s current mobile operating system is also powerful enough to adopt to new hardware components, something Windows Phone 7 had trouble with.
This wasn’t the sort of glittering debut that Steve Ballmer had in mind when his company launched Windows Phone 8 last quarter. According to the latest numbers from comScore, Microsoft’s (MSFT) share of the United States mobile operating system market actually shrank to 2.9% in the fourth quarter of 2012, despite the high-profile debuts of Windows Phone 8 and devices such as the Nokia (NOK) Lumia 920 and the HTC (2498) Windows Phone 8X. ComScore also found that Android maintained its position as the top mobile OS in the U.S. with a market share of 53.4%, while iOS closed the gap a bit by increasing its market share from 34.3% in Q3 2012 to 36.3% in Q4 2012, aided in part by the launch of the iPhone 5. More →
Strangely, Nokia (NOK) has yet to offer a top-line Windows Phone device on Verizon Wireless (VZ) even though it’s the largest carrier in the United States. The company’s high-end Lumia 920 smartphone is only available on AT&T (T), while Verizon have been stuck with the mid-range Lumia 822. This may be about to change, however. According to The Verge, Nokia is preparing a flagship device for Verizon’s 4G LTE network. The handset, codenamed Laser, is said to feature similar specs to the Lumia 920 and will be heavily backed by Microsoft (MSFT). More →
Nokia (NOK) CEO Stephen Elop on Thursday shot down rumors that his company might be interested in developing Android-based smartphones. During Nokia’s fourth-quarter earnings call, the executive reiterated his support for the company’s Asha phones and Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Phone platform, while shutting the door on earlier Android rumors. More →
Verizon (VZ) on Wednesday announced the availability of the Samsung (005930) ATIV Odyssey. The smartphone joins the HTC (2498) Windows Phone 8X and Nokia (NOK) Lumia 822 in Verizon’s lineup of Windows Phone 8 devices. The ATIV Odyssey is equipped with a 4-inch WVGA display, 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor and a 5-megapixel rear camera. The device also features 1GB of RAM, 4G LTE connectivity, 8GB of onboard storage, a microSD slot and a 2,100 mAh battery. The Samsung ATIV Odyssey will be available online and in stores beginning January 24th for $49.99 with a new two-year agreement after a $50 mail-in rebate.
It could be that Samsung (005930) simply does not care, but the world’s biggest smartphone brand is off to a notably weak start in the Windows Phone 8 race. On a British website tracking handset sales across all UK carriers, Nokia’s (NOK) Lumia 920 is at No.5 and the Lumia 820 is at No.10. Samsung’s ATIV S does not crack the top-10 list. More →
The PC industry is in shambles and manufacturers have begun to explore new options to increase revenue. According to The Wall Street Journal, ASUS (2357) is in talks with Microsoft (MSFT) on a licensing deal to offer Windows Phone 8 device. This makes sense for ASUS since smartphone shipments increased by nearly 50% in 2012, compared to a mere 3.2% growth in computer shipments, and the company already has experience in the mobile world after developing a variety of Android tablets. More →
LG (006570) is looking to branch out in 2013 and expand its mobile offerings beyond Google’s (GOOG) Android operating system. The Korea Times reported that LG expects to sell 75 million mobile phones this year, an increase from 55 million in 2012. A majority of the handsets, or roughly 45 million, are expected to be profitable smartphones, while the remaining 30 million will be budget and feature phones. LG’s smartphones won’t just be running Android, however. The company is reportedly also readying devices that are powered by Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Phone 8 operating system. More →
Dave Heiner, vice president and deputy general counsel for Microsoft (MSFT), took aim at Google (GOOG) and the company’s unwillingness to develop for Windows Phone 8 in a blog post on Wednesday. Heiner claims that, “Google continues to prevent Microsoft from offering consumers a fully featured YouTube app [among other] for the Windows Phone.” Microsoft has been apparently been trying to get a full-feature YouTube app for its Windows Phone operating system for more than two years, however it has been unsuccessful. More →
Windows Phone has had a difficult time battling Android and iOS in the mobile space this year thanks to a glaring lack of apps. Unfortunately for Microsoft (MSFT), its Windows Phone Store falls short compared to Apple’s (AAPL) App Store, Google’s (GOOG) Play Store and even the Amazon Appstore. Microsoft is gaining ground, however, as the company revealed earlier this week that it published more than 75,000 new apps and games to its Windows Phone Store this year alone, more than doubling the catalog’s size. To put that figure in perspective, Google and Apple boast more than 700,000 apps in their respective stores, and Research in Motion (RIMM) will look to start strong with more than 70,000 apps promised for the release of BlackBerry 10.
Kantar Worldpanel’s report for November came out and much has been made of the iPhone market share surge in the United States. What I find interesting in the November numbers is just how ice cold the iPhone has gone in so many international markets, from Australia to Brazil to Southern Europe. The iOS market share showed hefty declines outside in many major markets: down 5.4 percentage points in Australia to 35.9% and down 1.6 points in Brazil to 1.6%. That’s right — the iPhone market share has halved in the most important South American market over the past year. And this happened while BlackBerry and Symbian market shares absolutely caved in. This should have been the period for Apple (AAPL) to pick up points while RIM (RIMM) and Nokia (NOK) floundered. Instead, the sky-high pricing of the iPhone models has effectively started reversing Apple’s market share gains across several major markets. More →
The exclusive partnership between Nokia (NOK) and AT&T (T) surrounding flagship phones is coming to an end. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop revealed in an interview with CNET that the company is pleased to have restarted its “relationship with Verizon” and is “planning a lot of exciting things” for the future. The company recently teamed up with the nation’s largest wireless provider to offer the low-end Lumia 822, however it has continued to rely on AT&T for a number of its flagship devices such as the Lumia 910 and Lumia 920. HTC (2498) has taken a different route for its flagship handset and has offered the Windows Phone 8X across three of the top carriers in the United States. Elop’s comments have us speculating, however, that Verizon (VZ) will soon offer a high-end Windows Phone 8 device from the Finnish company.
As just about every major smartphone maker gears up to introduce their own 1080p-resolution Android “phablets,” one platform that apparently won’t be getting larger screens with higher resolutions is Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Phone 8. According to Bloomberg, HTC (2498) canceled plans to build a large-screened smartphone with Windows Phone 8 “because the screen resolution would have been lower than competing models” – 720 horizontal lines instead of 1080. The company recently released the Android-powered DROID DNA with 5-inch 1080p-resolution display in a svelte chassis and had plans to “claw back share from Samsung Electronics Co.,” with a large-screened WP8 smartphone. But Bloomberg reports HTC concluded large-screened WP8 phones “wouldn’t be competitive against Android devices from HTC, Samsung and others.” More →