Why it’s becoming more likely Samsung is getting back into Windows Phones

Samsung Ativ S, Windows Phone 8

It’s looking more and more likely that Samsung is working on a new Windows Phone handset.

Evidence first appeared last month in an online profile of the SM-W750V handset showing a 1080p screen with both CDMA and LTE support. That information lends itself to a phone for Verizon Wireless or Sprint and on Monday, industry insider @evleaks said Verizon would get the phone, which looks like a recent Galaxy S.

When news of the SM-W750V first appeared, I suspected it was destined for Verizon in the U.S.:

“I’d place my bets on Verizon for this phone, based mainly on the carrier’s subscriber count, which is more than two times that of Sprint. Samsung won’t likely want to divert resources away from Android unless it expects to reap decent rewards. And the best bet for that in the U.S. is through Verizon.”

So after offering very limited support for Windows Phone for the past few years, why would Samsung even be doing this? A few reasons come to mind.

tizen

First, even though Samsung is top the top seller of Android handsets and smartphones in general, it’s a crowded market. Samsung has been working on its own platform called Tizen to help offset any risk from Android competitors but recently a few carriers have decided against supporting an entirely new platform.

Fierce Wireless noted on Monday that Sprint and NTT DoCoMo are among the recent operators to either push back Tizen plans or abandon them completely. Without carrier support, Samsung has little to no chance of turning Tizen into a broadly used platform.

The company could look into licensing BlackBerry as an alternative but Windows Phone clearly has more momentum. And it has fewer handset makers in the market to compete with. Nokia is the biggest Windows Phone maker these days and few others are really embracing Microsoft’s mobile software as a primary platform. If successful in the Windows Phone market, Samsung could offset risk from the Android market, provided Windows Phone continues to grow.

Galaxy S4

Lastly, by using a pre-existing handset — say the Galaxy S4 — Samsung wouldn’t be starting from scratch with a completely new hardware design. The company can save money by reusing much of the Galaxy S production line instead of creating an entirely new handset just to run Windows Phone. With little financial risk then, Samsung can reap reasonable rewards with Windows Phone.

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