The Windows Phone mobile platform may be looking to have an even better 2014 after showing some encouraging momentum this year, at least according to a Windows Supersite article written by Paul Thurrott. While Windows Phone is still trailing in third place behind Google and Apple when it comes to mobile market share, it has been growing at a faster rate than its competitors even though at the end of 2013 it still only owned just 3.6% of the overall market. In certain regions of the world including Europe and Latin America, Windows Phone has registered even better sales and has even surpassed an 8% share in the five biggest European markets. More →
In addition to mentioning several unconfirmed details about upcoming Windows Phone 9 changes, Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin has also revealed an even more interesting note about Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone plans: apparently the Redmond-based giant plans to pay an astounding $1 billion “bribe” to another tech behemoth to ensure that it continues making Windows Phone handsets. “Another ‘good’ news from Microsoft,” Murtazin wrote on Twitter. “Company negotiates with Samsung and offer $1 billion support if vendor will produce Windows Phone devices.” More →
Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin, known for some of his accurate tips on the mobile industry in the past, said on Twitter that Windows Phone 9 will launch at some point in the second half of 2014 (third or fourth quarter) without the iconic Metro user interface that’s currently present on all Windows Phone handsets and Windows tablets. In several tweets that followed, he suggested that the tiled Metro UI will still remain as an option to users. More importantly, he said that Windows RT will cease to exist as a standalone OS fork, as it will be incorporated in WP9, which will become the “same system” for phones and tablets. A previous report said that Microsoft sees Windows RT merging with Windows Phone by 2015. More →
Windows RT still might be folded into Windows Phone or canned completely at some point in the near future, but Microsoft is reportedly considering another, less severe option. According to a report from Verge, Microsoft is debating whether or not to release free versions of its Windows Phone and Windows RT software. The company currently charges partners a licensing fee per installation, just as it does with its Windows desktop operating system. Meanwhile, Android is free to smartphone and tablet makers. Couple that with Google’s massive app ecosystem and OEMs don’t have much of a reason to bother with Windows Phone or Windows RT. Verge says if Microsoft does offer versions of its smartphone and tablet software that don’t carry licensing fees, the move will be accompanied by an increased effort to push Microsoft’s apps and services.
What goes up must come down and on Wall Street, billions are made and lost betting on which direction companies are headed. Apple is the most valuable technology company in America by a huge margin so needless to say, it gets plenty of attention on the Street. At some point, be it sometime in the next few years or sometime in the next few decades, Apple will no longer be on top. It is inevitable. The question countless industry watchers try to answer, of course, is when. More →
In our review of the Xbox One, we talked about the potential of the console as a platform that will evolve over the course of this generation. According to ZDNet, part of that evolution will include unifying the game console even further with the Windows and Windows Phone operating systems. An update codenamed “Threshold,” reportedly set to be released in 2015, will roll out to virtually every Windows-powered device. If the site’s sources are correct, this convergence will bring even more shared features and capabilities to Microsoft’s lineup than the previously-reported merging of Windows RT and Windows Phone. This update could also play a significant part in the single, OS-wide app store that Microsoft is working to bring to Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1.
Microsoft’s mobile platform has made some impressive gains over the last year and the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel show that Windows Phone’s market share has passed the 10% barrier across Europe’s five biggest markets, a huge improvement from a year ago when it accounted for under 5% of smartphones sold across the U.K., France, Germany, Spain and Italy. Windows Phone sales have gotten a big boost in Europe thanks to the efforts of Nokia, which has long been a popular brand in the Eurozone and which this year released some top-notch handsets such as the Lumia 1020 alongside some very competitive budget handsets such as the Lumia 520.
Windows Phone has definitely shown some very promising momentum this year and it has soundly beat BlackBerry in the race to become the world’s No. 3 mobile platform. But there’s one asterisk next to Windows Phone’s impressive growth in 2013: It’s been driven almost entirely by low-end and mid-range smartphones while it’s languished in the high-end market dominated by the iPhone 5s and the Galaxy S4. Neowin points us to the latest research from AdDuplex showing that just 1 of the top 4 Windows Phones in the world is a high-end model while the rest of the platform’s top devices are in the low-to-mid-range market.
Rockstar Games on Tuesday announced that its popular “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” console game will be available on mobile devices this December. The game will work on select iOS 7, Android, Kindle Fire and Windows Phone devices, although the developer has not revealed launch dates or prices for either of these platforms yet. According to the developer, the mobile version of the game has been upgraded, featuring “newly remastered graphics including dynamic and detailed shadows, grater draw distance, an enriched color palette,” and enhanced character and car models. Rockstar Games has also announced that the iOS 7 version of the game will launch with full support for mobile gaming controllers.
Although Windows Phone’s app market trails the iOS and Android app markets in just about every metric, it has received some good news the past couple days. On Wednesday, Instagram launched its Windows Phone app (though, without video support). On Thursday, a Strategy Analytics suvey suggests app developers are warming up to Windows Phone. And to cap it all off, Microsoft has now released some statistics to Neowin that show increased activity on the Windows Phone platform. More →
Instagram, the popular photo-sharing app acquired by Facebook for $1 billion last year, is finally coming to Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform. The announcement came early Tuesday morning from the Nokia World 2013 conference in Abu Dhabi. ”Our ultimate goal is to bring Instagram to everyone who wants to use it,” Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said on stage as he joined Nokia executives during the company’s keynote presentation. “We’re looking forward to watching the Windows Phone community use Instagram to capture and share beautiful moments in the coming weeks.” Windows Phone has seen numerous unofficial Instagram clients launch in the past, however many of them were eventually blocked by the company. According to Systrom, the Instagram app for Windows Phone will launch sometime in the next few weeks.
Microsoft may not be planning to perpetually support three different operating systems after all. An unnamed source tells ZDNet that Microsoft will likely fold its tablet-centric Windows RT into its Windows Phone smartphone operating system by 2015, a move that would let Microsoft use the same OS for smartphones and tablets, just as Apple and Google respectively use iOS and Android for both form factors. ZDNet speculates that “because it tends to be easier to take a ‘smaller’ OS and add to it than to take a larger one and remove features from it, it’s likely that the Windows Phone OS is the one on top of which the new operating systems group will build.” A move to combine the two operating systems into one makes a lot of sense, especially if Microsoft really does plan on creating a single app store for both Windows and Windows Phone platforms.
HTC’s disastrous Q3 performance has triggered speculation about how the company may try its luck in the Windows Phone market after getting clobbered by tough Android rivals. Microsoft may be considering waiving its licensing fee to keep HTC involved in Windows device design. HTC is also widely expected to finally pivot towards cheaper price points now that its premium phone strategy has seemingly gone up in flames. The problem with all this is that price competition in the budget Windows Phone market is going to be intolerable to HTC considering its quarterly smartphone shipment volume hovers around 6 million units. More →