11 Comments

Summary:

Android and iOS have run away with the smartphone market, leaving others to fight for the remaining scraps. Windows Phone appears to be making some headway, however, as BlackBerry falters. Could Microsoft’s Windows 8 launch help boost phone sales due to a halo effect?

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Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 operating system is due out before year end and it may build upon momentum of the prior version. According to research firm Canalys, Microsoft-powered phone shipments for the second quarter were up 277 percent from the prior year. With Windows 8 using the same interface as phones running Microsoft software, perhaps there’s light at the end of the transition tunnel.

There’s one caveat to the data, which estimates shipments of phones to carriers, not sales of phones to consumers. So if there are huge stockpiles of Windows Phone devices on store shelves or in warehouses, the situation isn’t entirely positive. But I haven’t heard of any Windows Phone partners writing off handset inventory of late, even though a recent survey of 30,000 in the U.S. from ComScore show a 0.1 percent drop for Windows Phone.

What is a positive development is that at this point, nearly all of the phone shipments should be the new Windows Phone, and not the old Windows Mobile platform. Who would be shipping them in any quantity? In fact, Canalys specifically says the figures are for Windows Phone. From that perspective, we should see sales numbers over the coming months skewed towards the new platform. And that platform is about to become even newer at a very important time.

Coinciding roughly with Windows Phone 8 is Windows 8 for desktops and laptops; the code was just released to manufacturers earlier this week. In my 2012 mobile predictions, I suggested that Windows 8 may actually help Windows Phone sales due to the similar interface which greatly reduces the learning curve. That’s one of the most brilliant aspects of Apple’s iOS: If you know how to use an iPhone, then you know how to use an iPad or an iPod touch.

My other prediction was that the market share of Windows Phone would overtake that of BlackBerry devices. This speaks to the slow building of Windows Phone sales as much as it does the erosion of BlackBerry sales. Simply put: I don’t think people are turning to BlackBerry devices and Canalys’s shipping estimates loosely suggest the same. While Windows Phone market share — again, based on shipments as a proxy — jumped from 1.2 percent to 3.2 percent, BlackBerry’s share dropped from 11.6 percent to 5.4 percent.

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  1. im really corious about this os. definately gonna buy 1. iphone is boring now.

  2. MAURIZIO.LALLA Thursday, August 2, 2012

    TANK.YOU

  3. Kevin,
    Any thoughts about the implications of a popular Windows Phone 8 for Nokia? Thanks!
    Remi

  4. “But I haven’t heard of any Windows Phone partners writing off handset inventory of late”

    Just Google “Nokia writing off inventory”, it happened in the same quarter as this “growth”.

    1. Sebastian Moser Felipe Friday, August 3, 2012

      You shouldn’t confuse Nokia with carriers. They’re what matters. The shipments to carriers grew by 227%, not the *production* of them.

  5. “My other prediction was that the market share of Windows Phone would overtake that of BlackBerry devices.”

    I’m afraid that doesn’t say much for Windows Phone.

  6. Bryan Leonard Thursday, August 2, 2012

    Ugh…it is so tiring reading about “percentage growth” stories. They are irrelevant. If you go to the actual story you will realize how the real numbers tell the (pathetic) actual story.

    I expect more from GigaOm than just reahashed press release spin.

  7. vibhorchhabra Thursday, August 2, 2012

    Here you go: Nokia Lumia led a $270 million inventory write off in Q2 this year.

    http://www.bgr.in/manufacturers/nokia/nokia-lumia-leads-270-million-inventory-write-off-in-q2/

    1. Thanks for that link, Vibhor. If you dig a little deeper, you’ll see that the write off was for phone components (for Symbian, MeeGo, Windows Phone), but not for phone inventory of unsold handsets. ;)

  8. Nothing from nothing leaves nothing, Microsoft has long road ahead. The long game is Microsoft only hope.

  9. Lindsworth Horatio Deer Friday, August 3, 2012

    Data Outsourcing comes to Jamaica via MobileWorks and Freelancer.com – Flexi-work not far behind for Jamaica! amaica stil loves Microsoft and their smartphone woudl gain traction here with the right telecom Provider Push!!

    http://bit.ly/O3pFP0

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