With Microsoft planning to release an overhauled version of Windows 8 over the summer, some may be wondering when the company will give a similar treatment to its Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system. The answer, says ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, is likely not until 2014. Instead, Foley’s sources say that Windows Phone users can expect three smaller updates to roll out throughout the rest of 2013 in preparation for a more substantial update sometime next year. These updates will include “support for CalDAV and CardDAV, so that it will continue to work with Google contact and calendar syncing services” and will “reintroduce support for FM radio… a feature which was part of the Windows Phone 7 operating system platform, but which was cut for Windows Phone 8.”
It may be time for Steve Ballmer to crank up his famous “Developers, developers, developers!” chant again if it will get software developers more excited about Windows Phone 8. Sameer Singh at Tech-Thoughts has charted the growth history of the three major mobile app stores and has found that Windows Phone’s app store is lagging behind where iOS and Android were 30 months after their initial launches. What’s more, he’s found that the additions of new apps to the Windows Phone 8 app market have markedly slowed over the past six months, whereas iOS and Android both saw significant rises in app additions over the same periods after their initial launches. Singh speculates that the slowdown in interest from developers is due to “limited install base, low user engagement, monetization challenges and regional developer restrictions,” among other factors.
Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 platform has slowly increased its market share since being released last October. The latest numbers from Kantar Worldpanel found that the operating system accounted for 5.6% of sales in the United States in the first quarter of 2013, up 1.9 percentage points from the same period in 2012. Android smartphones continue to dominate the market, increasing 1.4 percentage points and accounting for 49.3% of all smartphone sales, compared to the iPhone’s market share, which fell from 44.6% in Q1 2012 to 43.7% last quarter. More →
Everything we’ve seen so far indicates that Windows Phone 8 is barely making a dent in the consumer market or the enterprise market while Android and iOS remain the world’s two most popular mobile operating systems. Regardless, Microsoft’s Windows Phone division chief Terry Myerson described Android as “kind of a mess” during AllThingsD’s D: Dive Into Mobile conference this week because Samsung has been the only vendor to consistently turn a profit from selling Android smartphones. Myerson said that because of this, there is “clearly mutiny in the Starship Android” and implied that more vendors would start looking away from Android and toward other operating systems, presumably including Windows Phone.
Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Phone 8 hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire since its release last fall and the company could face trouble gaining traction if things don’t turn around soon. Per Barron’s, BGC analyst Colin Gillis has released a new research note that casts doubts on Microsoft’s future in the mobile computing market despite the fact that he remains “supportive of the quality and innovation of Microsoft’s software to power phones and tablets.” The big issue for Microsoft, Gillis says, is that the company hasn’t figured out how to make people care enough to buy its mobile products, no matter how good they might be. More →
After some delays, Nokia’s (NOK) Lumia 520 and Lumia 620 budget models have debuted in key Asian markets and they have clearly eclipsed the supposed flagship phone, the Lumia 920. Recent discussions with two United Kingdom operators reflect an emerging consensus that the Lumia 920 is fading fast in Europe, while the low-end Lumia 520 is sparking a lot of early interest. India’s most popular e-commerce website Flipkart reflects the same phenomenon: The new Lumia 520 and 620 models hog 2 of the top 5 spots, while the Lumia 920 has vanished just months after its debut. More →
If Citrix’s mobile device management customers are any indication, then Microsoft (MSFT) has its work cut out for it in making Windows Phone devices staple features of workplaces. Citrix, which specializes in developing cloud, networking and virtualization technologies, reports that 62% of its North American MDM customers use iOS as their mobile platform of choice versus 35% for Android and just 3% for Windows. Although Citrix’s picture of mobility in the enterprise is incomplete since it doesn’t measure BlackBerry (BBRY) use, it does give an interesting glimpse into what industries use which platforms for their mobile computing needs. Among all the industry categories surveyed, Citrix found that only the oil and gas industry used primarily Windows-based mobile devices while iOS or Android topped every other industry.
Microsoft (MSFT) has revealed support timelines for the current versions of its Windows Phone mobile operating system. The company will issue security updates to Windows Phone 7.8 and Windows Phone 8 for 18 months following each of the platforms’ launches. Windows Phone 8 support will therefore end on July 8th, 2014, while support for Windows 7.8 will run until September 9th, 2014. Microsoft notes that while it will issue fixes, “distribution of the updates may be controlled by the mobile operator or the phone manufacturer from which you purchased your phone.” It also revealed that updates will vary based upon “country, region, and hardware capabilities.”
If it looks as though Samsung (005930) isn’t putting that much effort into selling Windows-based devices, that might be because it isn’t. Per Barron’s, a new research note from Detwiler Fenton analyst Jeff Johnston contends that “there is no evidence that Samsung has any interest in seeing the Windows Phone platform succeed,” and that the company is simply biding its time until it can release its own Tizen platform to act as an insurance policy for Android. More →
The new comScore smartphone market share numbers are out and the weirdest number by far is the Windows Phone market share shift between October and January, when it actually shrank by 0.1 percentage points over three months to 3.1%. Of course, Nokia’s (NOK) Lumia 920 has been one of AT&T’s (T) top 3 models for the past two months. Verizon (VZ) has been selling the Lumia 822 as a free phone with a two-year contract. HTC’s (2498) new Windows model 8X has been at Verizon and AT&T since December. Nobody expected Microsoft’s share of the US smartphone to rocket with these new devices, but how can it be going down at the same time the BlackBerry (BBRY) market share is collapsing? More →
Instagram may finally arrive on Windows Phone devices, but there is a catch. A report from Chinese website WPDang suggests that the popular photo-sharing app will only be available as a Nokia (NOK) exclusive for its Windows Phone 8 smartphones. The report comes shortly after promotional material for the Nokia Lumia 610 that included an Instagram icon was spotted. The company is reportedly planning to offer Windows Phone users an extra filter to compensate them for the delayed release, and the app is expected to be “landing shortly” in the Windows Phone Marketplace.
HTC (2498) confirmed earlier this week that it plans to release new Windows Phone 8 smartphones later this year, and a recent report suggests the vendor’s first new device will feature modest specs. According to Evleaks at Unwired View, the company has cancelled earlier plans to bring a high-end Windows Phone product, originally codenamed Zenith, to market. HTC will instead offer a mid-range handset running Microsoft’s (MSFT) latest mobile operating system in the coming months. More →
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.