Lumia 530

Latest AdDuplex numbers reflect Microsoft's gains from yesterday with the Lumia 535 becoming a hit

Yesterday, Microsoft released their FY2015 Q2 numbers demonstrating year-on-year and sequential growth for their Lumia smartphones. Although selling 10.5 million phones in one-quarter can be seen as a drop in the bucket when compared to Apple or Samsung, it is rather impressive. Microsoft posted gains during a time when the OS is in transition, and no new Lumia flagship was announced.

This morning, AdDuplex, who runs a very popular cross-promotion advertising network on Windows and Windows Phone, posted their latest stats about the ecosystem. Collected from 4,995 different apps (not users) the AdDuplex report paints what is considered the most accurate picture of the landscape.

The story is the same, in many ways, from previous reports: low cost and budget phones rule the roost for Windows Phone. This time, the Lumia 530 and Lumia 635 make significant strides globally while the Lumia 535 is taking off in India.

Windows Phone on a global scale

What is most interesting about the worldwide distribution of Windows Phone devices is the sheer amount of budget phones and the lack of high end. Granted, the Lumia 930 was announced nearly a year ago, but it does not even factor into the main categories. Instead, it is lumped in under "other". Same goes for the Lumia 1520. However, the venerable Lumia 920 and Lumia 925 sit at nearly 9% globally. The fact that the Lumia 830, Lumia 930 and Lumia 1520 have not pushed out of a smaller data point is telling about those phone's resonance with customers.

The Lumia 930 is no Lumia 920 in terms of market – or – mindshare.

In more positive news, the Lumia 635 has jumped from the ninth position to number six worldwide. Likewise, the Lumia 530 climbs from the tenth spot all the way to becoming the fifth most popular Windows Phone.

As evidenced by yesterday's numbers, Microsoft's broad release of both devices (including in the US on most carriers), and heavy promotional discounts have put many new Microsoft Lumia phones into people's hands. More so than I think many would have anticipated due to the negative press surrounding Windows Phone these days. Then again, people who typically buy these budget phones are not the type to follow tech news too closely. They are a very different demographic from the techno glitterati that try to define trends.

Lumias own 96% of the Windows Phone world

In terms of manufacturers, it is all Nokia (Microsoft Corp) with a massive 95.6% of all Windows Phones sold. HTC (2.56%), Samsung (0.99%), and Huawei (0.56%) make up the remaining amount. The absolute number of Lumia Windows Phones, when compared to others is astounding. It makes you wonder why a company like Verizon would continue to push the Samsung ATIV SE (which is a superb phone) over a Lumia, where customers tend to gravitate.

Indeed, with nearly 96% of devices being a Lumia, you have to wonder how can any company claw back into the Windows Phone ecosystem to compete. HTC is having middling success with its HTC One M8 for Windows, but not enough to make a difference. In addition, despite that phone being an excellent flagship, its limited release to just two US carriers (AT&T and Verizon) with a much more limited rollout on T-Mobile is clearly hindering any gains for HTC.

Lumia 535

Lumia 535 doing gangbusters in India

Back when the Lumia 535 was announced, I wondered if Microsoft could push the phone broad enough to make a difference. I guess we now have an answer.

In India, the new Lumia 535 has become the second most popular Windows Phone in that country. Sitting at 9.1%, it is only bested by the nearly two-year-old Lumia 520, which still commands a massive lead at 26.8%.

The numbers appear to back recent reports of shipments nearing 500,000 of the new phone to India. The Lumia 535 is on its way to becoming a bona fide hit in India.

The Lumia 535, despite some touch screen sensitivity issues, is a perfect budget Windows Phone. It has 1 GB of RAM, a rather generous 5-inch display, well-performing processor and more importantly, a front-facing 5MP camera. Combined with swappable back covers and an affordable price, the Lumia 535 is turning out to be a great decision by Microsoft for India.

However, it remains to be seen if the Lumia 535 can exhibit the same level of growth outside of India. Currently, the Lumia 535 has no presence in the US, despite it being an ideal budget phone for this market too.


The need for a disruptive flagship

Pooled together with yesterday's numbers from Microsoft and the Windows Phone landscape does not pose many surprises. With no new flagship Lumia this holiday season and an OS in transition, it is only because of the low-cost Lumia phone segment that Windows Phone has show growth of 1.3 million phones.

That's the good news.

However, Microsoft's high-end problem looks to be quite severe. The Lumia 830, Lumia 930 and Lumia 1520 are not making much of an impact. Compared to the Lumia 920, which I still consider to be the most iconic Windows Phone to date in terms of mass adoption, and Microsoft really needs to consider their next move.

A new Lumia flagship is not expected until later this summer. The timing is likely for two reasons:

  1. Windows 10 launch
  2. Microsoft is putting much effort into the design

Many people have desired a 'Surface Phone', which is a meaningless phrase. However, what people do mean by 'Surface Phone' is a Lumia that has the same distinctive quality as the Surface line of products.

Indeed, when it comes to hardware, Microsoft has proven that they can make some exquisite devices. Between HoloLens, the Surface Pro 3, the new Surface Hub, and the Microsoft Band, Microsoft has the chops to re-invent the flagship Lumia.

I am convinced that Microsoft could have stamped their name on a high-end Lumia that was already in the pipeline, much like the Lumia 535. However, my guess is the company is going back to the drawing board after canceling their 3D Touch 'McLaren' phone. And why not?

At this point, I would rather a phone built by the same people who brought us the Surface Pro 3 and Microsoft Band combined with the ex-Nokia crew that now works with Microsoft. If this is what Microsoft is doing whatever arrives this summer could be much more than just the same old Lumia Fabula design. It will be the closest thing to a Surface Phone, and I think it should be worth the wait, especially with Windows 10.

Source: AdDuplex