Samsung hasn’t put very much effort into selling its previous Windows Phone smartphone models that have launched over the past few years, but the consumer electronics giant will continue to build and launch new Windows Phones in 2014. Gadget leaker @evleaks on Tuesday posted an image of what he claims to be a Windows Phone 8.1-powered Samsung phone with the model number SM-W750V and the code-name “Huron.” The phone looks just about as unexciting as Samsung’s previous Microsoft-powered smartphones, and it’s seemingly headed to Verizon Wireless. More →
The chances of Windows Phone overtaking iOS in the United States are slim to none. In other countries, however, the story is much different. Jana Research recently conducted a survey among smartphone buyers in several key markets and found that Windows Phone enjoys strong popularity in countries such as India, Brazil, Kenya and South Africa. In fact, Windows Phone’s popularity in these high-growth markets is so strong that Jana thinks that “2014 could be the year that Windows phone establishes itself as the second most popular smartphone OS worldwide” behind Android. More →
As we’ve noted before, the key for Windows Phone is to not just get developers to eventually bring their apps over to the platform but to get them to develop apps for the platform right from the get-go. With that in mind, it’s heartening to see that Rockstar Games has released Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for Windows Phone just one month after releasing the game for iOS and Android. This is particularly important because for a long time it’s taken Microsoft several months — if not longer — to get key apps such as Instagram onto Windows Phone after they’ve already launched on iOS and Android. If Microsoft can keep narrowing the times between releases of important apps then it will go a long way toward closing the “app gap” that it faces with rival mobile platforms.
No, Windows Phone won’t be catching up to Android in terms of market share anytime soon. However, there is one key area where Windows Phone may at last surpass Android: It might soon generate more revenue for Microsoft than Android does. Beyond Devices takes a look at some of the latest numbers for Windows Phone revenues in Microsoft’s latest earnings report and finds that revenue generated from Windows Phone licensing has narrowed the gap with licensing revenue collected from Android handset manufacturers. More →
Windows Phone has made some impressive gains in terms of market share over the past year but Microsoft still has a ways to go toward filling in its app gap with iOS and Android. In fact, Microsoft is so determined to get more developers onto Windows Phone that it’s giving developers payouts of up to $100,000 to bring their software over to the platform. The bigger long-term problem for Microsoft is that iOS and Android are still the top destinations for up-and-coming developers who want to have the best chance of making money. Or put another way, Microsoft doesn’t just need to worry about the hot apps it doesn’t have right now but the hot apps it won’t have a year from now. More →
Microsoft has denied an earlier report suggesting that the company plans to pay out billions of dollars in 2014 in an effort to ensure that a number of top smartphone vendors release phones powered by the Windows Phone platform this year. According to plugged-in Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin, Microsoft has plans to dole out more than $2.5 billion this year to Samsung, Sony, Huawei and several other smartphone makers to guarantee that they build and launch a single Windows Phone handset each in 2014. The exact purpose of the funds was not detailed. While Microsoft has not denied that payments will be made, the company’s head of communications has gone on record in stating that Murtazin’s report is not accurate. More →
Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform is more than three years old now and its global market share still sits in the low single digits. The platform is starting to gain momentum in some markets thanks to Nokia’s low-end phones, but Microsoft wants to make sure that momentum doesn’t hit a brick wall when it finally takes over Nokia’s devices and services business. According to one insider, Microsoft will use its sizable cash reserves to give various vendor partners the push they need to keep building Windows Phones. And that “push” will apparently cost the company several billion dollars. More →
It doesn’t seem likely that Microsoft plans to give up on Bing anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean its customers are following suit. According to a tweet from Kantar Worldreport, Windows Phone users only resorted to searching with the default engine 52% of the time in Q4 2013. The rest are “actively avoiding the integrated Bing Phone search” and instead opening their browsers to search with Google. Bing might not be a dead platform, but when users are willing to expend more energy to use another service that provides similar results, it might be time to rethink your strategy. Kantar also claims that users are “quickly switching” to Google, so before long a majority of Windows Phone users will have deserted Bing.
Sony has confirmed in an interview that a single mobile OS strategy is not good enough for its mobile goals anymore, even if the collaboration with Google has been fruitful, bringing several interesting Android-based Xperia flagship handsets to consumers in recent years. “We are continuing our discussions with other partners, including Microsoft, as part of our partnership with this company on the broader Sony spectrum,” Sony Mobile Europe head Pierre Perron told TechRadar in an interview. “We don’t want to be a single OS manufacturer, I don’t think it’s a viable position in the long term.” More →
Here’s some more evidence that 2014 is shaping up to be Windows Phone’s breakthrough year. Per Neowin, Microsoft has released a statement this week claiming that Windows Phone devices have out-shipped Apple’s iPhone in 24 markets, including Italy, Finland, Poland, India, South Africa and Nigeria. More →
In an attempt to better compete against Google in the mobile business, Microsoft reportedly considered various “unconventional tactics,” including letting smartphone buyers choose the mobile OS for their future handset, The Information reports (via The Next Web). “In one scenario, a smartphone buyer would be able to walk into a wireless carrier store, find a phone they like and only then choose whether they want Windows Phone or Android software to power it permanently,” a confidential document from a potential Windows Phone partner revealed. More →
Outside of the Apple ecosystem, affordability reigns supreme. According to the latest data from AdDuplex, the budget-priced Lumia 520 has now taken more than 30% of the Windows Phone market share, and when combined with the Lumia 521, the two phones make up more than one-third of all Windows Phone sales worldwide. And if you narrow the results to just Windows Phone 8 devices, then the Lumia 520 and 521 account for more than 40% of all devices sold. The Lumia 520 has been the undisputed leader of the Windows Phone market for quite some time, and to further cement itself in that position, the phone has captured an additional 4% of the market over the past month. More →
While we’ve been laser-focused on Samsung’s split from Android, another major electronics company has purportedly been exploring other options as well. The Information reports that Sony is currently in talks with Microsoft to release a Windows Phone of its own as early as next year, breaking a four-year streak of Android exclusivity and pairing up two long-time rivals in the gaming console market. The sources say that Sony has already shared designs for a Windows Phone prototype with Microsoft, and also that any products released under the partnership would be branded as Sony Viao devices. The two companies have yet to finalize any plans, so roadblocks could undoubtedly arise, but if Microsoft can expand its mobile OS as far as Sony’s lineup, the platform might finally stand a fighting chance against Android and iOS.