HTC may have found an even worse comeback plan than building a third Facebook phone. Unnamed sources tell Bloomberg that Microsoft has approached HTC with a plan to load Windows Phone 8 onto its Android handsets as a way to give consumers more than one platform option on their devices. In exchange for loading Windows Phone onto Android handsets, Microsoft would consider waiving licensing fees for using the mobile operating system, Bloomberg’s sources say. Amazingly, HTC is apparently warm to the idea and is pondering the logistics of making a dual-boot Windows-Android handset. The fact that such a deal is even in consideration shows how desperate both HTC and Microsoft are to make bigger dents in a mobile market that has largely been dominated by Apple’s iPhones and Samsung’s Galaxy-branded devices.
Windows Phone adoption has been surging in Europe, thanks mostly to the efforts of Nokia. Kantar Worldpanel’s latest data on European smartphone market share shows that Windows Phones accounted for 9.2% of all smartphone sales across five major European markets in August, led by low-cost Nokia handsets such as the Lumia 520 and the Lumia 620. More →
This could be just the thing that Microsoft needs to reignite developer interest in Windows Phone: A common app store for its multiple platforms. Unnamed sources tell The Verge that Microsoft has been testing out a single app store for both Windows 8 apps and Windows Phone 8 apps that will offer a common platform for developers to sell their software. Microsoft is planning to launch the store with the release of Windows Phone 8.1 and with a special update to Windows 8.1 in the first half of 2014. Although we still don’t know how the combined app store will work, The Verge speculates that “it’s possible that Microsoft may take an approach that’s similar to Apple’s App Store, where tablet specific apps don’t run on the phone, but phone apps scale to run on a tablet.”
Steve Ballmer might want to break out the checkbook and start an extra big “Developers, developers, developers!” chant. IDG News, via CITE World, reports on a new survey of more than 800 app developers showing that interest in making apps for the Windows Phone platform has actually declined since the beginning of the year. The survey, conducted by app development platform Appcelerator, showed that just 26% of developers surveyed said they were interested in making Windows Phone apps, down from 29% in the first quarter of 2013. For comparison, 80% of developers surveyed were interested in making apps for the iPhone and 71% said they were interested in making apps for Android phones. More →
Google’s Android operating system has ruled the roost in China for a while now but research firm IDC thinks that its iron grip on the Chinese smartphone market looks set to slip. According to the firm’s latest projections, Android’s market share in China will top out at around 90% this year before gradually tapering off in subsequent years while both iOS and Windows Phone gain at its expense. IDC says that the iPhone 5c and a likely deal with China Mobile will give Apple a big boost in the country while Windows Phone figures to get a bigger marketing push from Microsoft now that it’s bought out Nokia’s handset division. A chart of IDC’s projections follows below. More →
New research confirms what we’ve known for a while now: Nokia is really the only company putting effort into developing and marketing Windows Phone devices. AdDuplex, a cross-promotion network that tracks usage on Windows Phone devices, has found that Nokia handsets account for 88% of all Windows Phone devices in use as well as 9 out of the top 10 most used Windows Phone devices. Nokia’s budget Lumia 520 is the most used Windows Phone device with a 21.3% share, followed by the high-end Lumia 920 at 9.3% and the Lumia 620 at 9.1%. The only non-Nokia device to crack the top 10 for Windows Phone usage was the HTC 8X, which had just a 3.2% share. From this perspective, it’s easy to see why Microsoft was so eager to buy Nokia’s handset division: If it’s going to be the only major supporter of the Windows Phone platform, it might as well work directly with Microsoft’s own software engineers.
Microsoft is making a big shift from being a software company to being a devices and services company, which means that we should expect the firm to have its fair share of hiccups over the next few quarters. Paul Thurrott reports via Twitter that Microsoft COO Kevin Turner admitted during the company’s financial analyst meeting on Thursday that Microsoft has had its fair share of growing pains with its new business model and said that the company in particular has a lot of work to do with Windows Phone, which he said was a “distant third” behind iOS and Android. More →
After Microsoft picked up Nokia’s handset business in a deal worth $7.2 billion, some observers believed that other third-party manufacturers would flee the Windows Phone platform. But The Wall Street Journal reports that Chinese manufacturer Huawei, which has risen to become one of the top smartphone OEMs in the world, has no plans to abandon Windows Phone 8 anytime soon. Richard Ren, the head of Huawei’s European consumer division, told reporters on Thursday that his company remains one of Microsoft’s strategic partners and that it would not go exclusively with free-to-use platforms such as Android and Firefox OS. The Journal notes, however, that Windows Phone devices represent a relatively smaller percentage of Huawei’s overall handset shipments.
Although it seems that Microsoft has beaten BlackBerry in the battle for third place in the global smartphone market, the company may not be too thrilled with the prize that it’s won. The latest projections from research firm IDC predict that Windows Phone won’t reach a double-digit share of the global smartphone market until 2017, when it will account for 10.2% of all smartphones shipped. IDC projects that iOS will increase its market share slightly between now and 2017, when it will account for just under 17.9% of all smartphones. IDC also sees Android remaining the dominant mobile OS in 2017, although its market share is projected to slip from 75.3% in 2013 to 68.3% in 2017. More →
It’s no longer a fluke: It looks as though Windows Phone has taken a commanding lead over BlackBerry in several key markets and has firmly established itself as the world’s No. 3 mobile platform. Kantar World Panel’s latest report shows that Windows Phone’s market share reached a record high of 8.2% across Europe’s five biggest markets in July 2013. BlackBerry, meanwhile, saw its share in those markets further deteriorate to just 2.4% in July, a drop of 4.3 percentage points from the 6.7% market share it had in July 2012. More →
It was only a matter of time — and possibly cash — before Instagram finally decided to develop a mobile app for Windows Phone 8. WMPoweruser points us to some remarks made by Nokia executive vice president Chris Weber, who claims that Instagram is at long last coming to Microsoft’s mobile platform although he didn’t give any specific release date for the popular photo-sharing app. Instagram is one of the major apps that Windows Phone is still missing, along with such mobile standards as Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, Google Maps, YouTube and Flipboard. Microsoft has been aggressively throwing money at developers to bring their apps to Windows Phone so it’s probably only a matter of time before most of these apps make their way to the platform.
Although Windows Phone has little short-term hope of denting the iOS-Android duopoly in the United States, the story is different in emerging markets where many consumers are buying smartphones for the first time and are interested in low-cost handsets. Microsoft this week started passing around new research from IDC showing that Windows Phone has now become the No. 2 smartphone OS in Latin America behind Android, a critical milestone for a platform that needs to gain traction in key countries such as Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. Windows Phone performed best in Colombia where it was found on more than a quarter of all smartphones in the country.
Google seems determined to make Microsoft’s life miserable when it comes to approving a YouTube app for the Windows Phone store. The Verge reports that Google has once again blocked Microsoft’s Windows Phone YouTube app because it still allegedly violates Google’s terms of service. Google first blocked the app three months ago when it said that Microsoft created it without Google’s permission and added features to the app that prevented ads from playing on YouTube videos. The two companies have since vowed to work together to make an app for Microsoft’s mobile platform but this latest dustup shows that the two companies are still far apart. Microsoft tells The Verge that it is working with Google “to resolve the issue.”