Sam George Microsoft

Microsoft reveals 23% of user upgrades to Windows Phone come from Android

In a motivating “introductory” session today at Build, led by Principal Group Program Manager, Sam George, some details came out about where new Windows Phone users are coming from. With the choices ranging from other smartphones (BlackBerry, iOS and Android) to just feature phones, it’s an interesting question for those who follow smartphone trends.

According to Microsoft, their numbers reveal that 42% of users who come from Windows Phone are giving up their feature phone. That backs the hypothesis that the Windows Phone OS, with its seemingly approachable UI design and the lack of complexity, is a great step forward for those who are looking to upgrade to the smartphone world (but don’t want an iPhone and find Android too difficult).

Windows Phone switching stats

To follow up that number, we’re told that 4 billion people worldwide are still “feature phone” users, which combine with the evidently high switchover rate to Windows Phone, could be a big boon for Microsoft. This is why devices like the Lumia 520 and other low-cost handsets, while not “sexy” are nonetheless a smart investment by Microsoft, Nokia and HTC.

The final number is also curious: 23% of Windows Phone devices were bought by those upgrading from Android phones (and Microsoft emphasized “upgrading” to some chuckles in the room). That’s a significantly high number, relating most likely to the somewhat high dissatisfaction rate that some Android handsets receive. That’s an area of weakness that Microsoft is wise to exploit by focusing on OS stability, speed and high user ratings.


Reader comments

Microsoft reveals 23% of user upgrades to Windows Phone come from Android


i'm already using vine on my lumia 920 thanks to 6sec, an app created by Rudy Huyn :) Yes, i can upload vines

all too short for my purposes.
if cinemagraph was a social would be more useful as people could submit creative animations instead of flashing stuff

6sec is a vine app which is in beta right now and it is AWESOME. Should hit the marketplace soon. I'v been lucky enough to be beta testing it. Let me tell you, you won't be dissapointed and will forgot about the need for official app :)

no you won't.  As long as someone else controls the API only the offical app will do.  Just look at what twitter did to 3rd party clients....if Vine starts handing out API tokens and charging after a certain amount you can be damn well sure we'll need an official app.

How to you like you 8X? I also have the L900 &  L822 but prefer my 8X due to its thinness. although they need to improve the battery life and camera it's still a very good phone that I'd like to see in a 5-5.3" variant. I believe it would be a killer device. I already use it for alot of coporate work with docs on skydrive as well as game play. with the recent release of Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, & TLC, I can see my self consuming a lot of media too!

wow i spot you out, trolling in the comments. Wouldn't have recognized you previously but I guess Talk Mobile is bringing mobile nations together.  Go figure.

Stop being so serious. FYI, Phil used to write for this site, when it was still covering Windows Mobile. He has more of a right to post here than you.

4 categories actually.
Feature Phones
The latter accounts for nearly half of the switches, meaning nearly half of the people coming from the other 3 smartphones are from Android.

Maybe Phil's Android calculator was lagging so badly that he tried to do the math in his head. Anyway, he needn't worry. His favorite mobile OS is still going to be #1 for quite some time i think.

Well as I read it the other 35% could be Windows Phone Users upgrading their Windows Phone. Either that or all those former Crackberry Heads and iSheep are flocking our way :-)

That was me. I was a big fan of android and i absolutely love my Nokia lumia 920. Loving the experience of windows phone 8 so far

I loved my Samsung Focus, Windows phone 7 except, after one battery change,and when I waited and waited and waited some more for the Ativ-S while Droid was using up their hours scfrewing with Microsoft. I bought the Nokia 920. THe 920 blew my Windows 7 Samsung to dust, especially in quality of device. Its funny my father I have him the Samsung and he switched it to Tmobile. he loves it, So much so hes getting a Nokia 520 from Tmobile. Samsungs hardware is GARBAGE and I am glad I didn't get that Ativ piece of crap.

In my opinion feature phones users are likely to make jump to a low cost device rather than a high. So MS should continue support for the low cost devices, including releasing good XBOX games to even 512MB devices.

Someone or something can look attractive without being "sexy.". For example, a car can look attractive, but you wouldn't do the deed to a car.

I wad referring to what was said in the article (about the 520 not being sexy). I also meant that while its doesn't have the design of the 920 it's still attractive with its own design.

Yaknow, every time I  pick up and android device I get the willies! I have never liked the os while my best fried loves it and hates my Lumia 920. I handle all the phones all the time in my business and the one I've landed on is Windows phone and I'm really happy with it.

Good windowsphone 8 very interesting & future style,,,,,,, android suck, more virus, malware & ADS. Come on developer....!!! Come to windows phone :)

Add me to the list of android converts to Windows Phone users and proud to have finally made the switch!!! :)

I second that. I actually had a good 3 android handsets before I tried WP7.5 on the sammy focus. It was okay but I really fell in love with Nokia and WP8. More apps would be nice but I get along day to day with little to no sacrifice barring an official Nest Thermostat app. But they're just being dicks about it.

I actually went from the HTC One to the Nokia Lumia 928. The principle reason had to do with having one too many carriers on my household, but as much as I enjoyed the superb technical aspects of the One, I am extremely happy to be back with WP 8. The hardware is very good and the OS is simply the best available. Microsoft needs to stick with it!

My brother loved android, but mt dad convinced him to switch to a titan on at&t. He now is a happy Windows Phone 8 user

I walked into AT&T yesterday, and stated that I was looking for a phone with a great camera, and something different in terms of the interface. The rep rattling off Galaxy S4, iPhone 5, HTC One as choices. I asked, how about the Nokia? "Oh, it has a great camera. I compared the low light shots with the others, and this was the best." Then Y U NO SUGGEST THAT THEN?! This is the reason why WP8 sales are still low. These reps don't know anything beyond Android and iOS.

I know! Microsoft and Nokia needs to strike where the sales actually occur! The ads are improving and the commitment from Verizon is great but what good will that be when people who are curious about the phone come into the store and have to listen to slander about the phones???

Tell me about when I got my focus I read up all I could on it so I asked him if it had office, he opened the box and read the user manual right in front of me. This was 2 years ago so it might have changed.

Its funny when I went into At and T when the 920 was released, I heard Microsoft was giving classes and incentives to sell Windows phones. The guy that was selling me the 920, was like Im so impressed already im dumping my droid and getting one, so all phone sellers are not the same and Microsoft learned after the windows 7, you have grease the palms of the employees and teach them about the devices and much more$$$ to sell them.

Started with android back when Droid Eris came out on Verizon. Been on Android since than. Had iPhone 4 and 5 but couldn't hold on to those for more than a week. Had Galaxy S4, build quality is just horrible. Feels like its made out of cardboard. Had Lumia 710 on T-mo and fell in love with nice, simple and uniform OS. Now on AT&T 920. Couldn't be happier.

These numbers really aren't that interesting.  If I said "98% of ChromeBook users switched to it from a Windows laptop", would that tell you anything?  They have to come from somewhere.

It makes perfect sense...Windows owns the pc market so if people were to defect to chrome then statistically speaking this is problem where they would come from. Much like android is the dominant platform. people had to come from somewhere.

I think this is really only interesting for devs, which is why they release these numbers at a dev-centric conference. Wpcentral just happens to feel like sharing the info with us.

I sort of defected with a crumb trail. I love both OS but I live the simplicity and layout over Android. Its officially my primary. The 920 is simply a beautiful combination with WP

I often become frustrated with windows phone and Microsofts slow updates. But like any relationship it takes work haha. I am an android convert and I can't ever see myself going back to android...even if the HTC one is nice.

I used to love android when it was first released,but after every update I liked it less and less. It got too complicated and bloated especially the Samsung devices. My last android device was the HTC One and although a beautiful phone it just didn't do it for me anymore, so I took it back and bought a Lumia 521 from Wal-Mart just to give WP8 a try and I love it more than I ever did android,,,will be gettin a 925 when its "EVENTUALLY" releases for tmo.

scuse me mates, as a non native speaker I don't understand what a "feature phone" is. can somebody plz explain it to me? thx in advance.

The Nokia Asha line are feature phones. They're some where between the functionality of a phone that can do nothing but make calls, and a full blown smartphone like WP 8, Android, iOS, etc.

This great news. As Microsoft targets these users, they'll beat out iPhone on price and Android by stability and usability. Plus, low end spec means we can see app devs push their memory usage down or keep high end features reserved for high end phones.

^This! Windows Phone beats iPhone on price (the new lineup vs iPhone 5 anyway), and it bests SGS4 in camera, smoothness, bloatware, malware, etc., and price. Market these points and you've gained more ground.

I was one that came from the feature phone side. Was ready to finally trade my razr for a smartphone in 2010 and the original Samsung Focus caught my eye. Since I had never used ios or android I had no bias or apps expectation, and the Focus just looked more interesting. I remember the sales person trying to talk me into an iphone.
Moved to the Lumia 920 last year but still use the focus for a music device.  At this point I can't even imagine going away from WP.

The slide just says 'devices' so I assume that includes WP7->WP8 upgrades.  Otherwise I can't figure it out either.

I was wondering the same thing. You are missing one tidbit- 42% of those 65% are coming from feature phones. So where do the remaining 23% come from? Statistically, you would assume iOS being that it was the "it" phone for people that could afford it 2+ years ago.
My wife was one of these switchers, from the iPhone 4 to a Lumia 928. Her best friend used to be just like my wife- raving and raving about her iPhone, talking smack to me about thinking it was crap. When she was in town visiting last week she revealed she now hates her phone and the buttons don't work. Oddly enough, these are similar issues my wife had and were reasons for her change. When you look at market share numbers and the available market, it seems the trend (in the US at least) is to get an iPhone first and the switch to something else. I am in no way saying this is the case for everyone- I know plenty of people on a second or third contract with the iPhone. The point is the the market still has room for smartphone growth. When you ignore prepaid and ultra-budget devices, magically Android doesn't have nearly as much marketshare and the iPhone is clearly at the top. It appears that a number of people using whatever device they have first on a contract are not truly loyal (what a concept!) and thus Microsoft really needs to start working on retention. Of course, that generally comes down to app selection for far too many people.

I wish I had the money to buy into some of the other ecosystems, though. It'd be fun to buy a nexus 4 or something and give that a go for a while, so I can stop relying on what others say about Android around here and form my own opinions.

"I wish I had the money"
Lol this! Windows Phones are also by far cheaper than its competition; the highest-end WP device is priced the same as a crappy Android mid-range.

Started with the G1...and was a hardcore fandroid.....then saw colleagues Samsung WP7, rest was history.

Went from a Sony Walkman phone to a palm pre on sprint. Then to a used HTC arrive, then switched to at&t for the 920. Interestingly, I was *this* close to going in with android after my Walkman phone, but then I happened upon a palm pre vid on YouTube or something and ended up falling in love with it.

Funny thing...upgraded from Droid X to iPhone 5...and then bought a HTC Trophy off eBay because I hated the iPhone and didn't have much money to use on another device. While technically "downgrading" from iPhone 5, I have not regretted the decision one bit. Much love to WP!

Been Nokia since my first phone in 97, have never bought from other manufacturers, was disappointed that meego was shelved after such a good os on the N9 and camera tech taking a step back after N8 but iam very happy with wp8 and hope Nokia continues this partnership with Microsoft for many years. I do have an android tab for security system interface and an iPad hard mounted in my car. Long live Nokia and can't wait for the alloy bodied eos with next Gen hardware.

I received a brand new NL 920 for testing for the company I work for. Then I ran into a white NL920 in the wild. While talking to it's owner, I learned his wife got a black 920 and his FIL has one. They all had iPhones and are happy with the change.

My personal daily driver is the Yellow 920.

The Android conversion is probably coming from users who were on really old or low spec'd phones, not the current mid and high-end crop. If I were running a single-core CPU phone with Gingerbread, then yeah I can see the huge appeal of WP. So we'll see, if MS can capitalize on snatching current users of really low-end Androids in India, it'll be interesting.

That was the primary reason I went with a windows phone. The budget Android ones were brutal. Either running 2.3 with half decent hardware, or running 4.0 with terrible hardware.
The Lumia 520 was the best bet for the price.

Given the insanely high price for Android flagship phones, most Android users are forced to buy mid-to-low range Android devices.  Most low-to-mid range Android devices don't even run Gingerbread well, much less ICS or JB.
Given all that, it is no surprise that many of those users (myself included) have converted to WP8 as an alternative.
iOS run very well on all of the Apple phones, so there is less motivation to switch to WP8.

I came from an HTC One to a Nokia 521,,,after the first week of have the HTC I wanted to return it,not so with the 521. Now I'm just waiting on the 925.

I came from Galaxy SII, Nexus 4, and iPhone 4S. Can't stand the buggy Android anymore. iPhone 4S has a horrible screen in refresh rate, can't look at it for long. It's bad for your eyes. WP8 is the only OS left for me.

23% of new wp8 users are coming from Android ... NOT 23% of Android users are abandoning Android.

Not an astonishingly high number, as our man writes, eh? If only it were the latter! Yeah, baby!

 925 rocks but isn't  930 announcement just few months away? Not the best time for upgrade and 2 year contract. I still want official Instagram and Vine though. 

the 925 is on t-mobile, so at least in the US, it's a no conract buy. you can get it and use it with a prepaid plan (like the 30$/month plan they have)
There's no 930 but in two weeks  they will announce the EOS with 41MP camera (will probably be exclusive to AT&T for now)
You can always wait for the next great tech gadget, but you'll just end up waiting forever

Glad to know a large proportion of Android users finally figure out that they want "smartphones" instead of "portable computers"......

I don't consider a 5+" phablet as portable. Man it's difficult to call with such giant devices. And how do you even put them in your pocket!!

I never considered any of my android phones portable computers,,,but I do consider WP8 a far better OS and a far better overall user experience

Its a wonder why, their practically giving away Droid Tablets because people hate them, I pad and the Surface, are going to be the note pads in the future people hate the Android tablets. Which is going to trickle down to phones too. Come on Samsung, please drop Droid and start Tizen phones and ditch droid PLEASE. :) It will be the deathnell of Samsung phones :)

I own a Nexus 7 and love the thing. To say people hate Android tablets is beyond ridiculous.

Windows Phone marketshare is pitiful. Let's all tweet microsoft to give all Windows Phone users 50GB of free Skydrive space!!! Go go go!

I've had my Lumia 520 (my first smartphone) for about a month now. And while I have loved nearly everything about it, I'm still not convinced when I look for my next smartphone, that I will stick with a Windows phone.
In about a years time I was planning on getting a higher end smartphone, but unless MS can do something to solve the issue of apps (lack of official ones), I can't see staying.
If I plan on spending between $400-600, currently I don't see why I wouldn't opt for an iPhone or Android.
I know it's an ugly cycle, where people won't switch to a Windows phone without the apps, but developers won't make apps if people aren't using WP. Hopefully budget phones like the 520 get more people using WP, then more apps get developed.

I love my Lumia 920. Have been an android user for 2 years before this.
WP8 is a fresh breath of air.
Lot of scope to improve but I am sure it will beat the other OS(s) soon.

Well it's true on both counts- WP8 is easy to use and just works! And with Android phones usually carrying a TON of bloatware from carriers with low battery life (stock ROMs), it is an awesome transition to know that YOU control what's on your phone, not the other way around. (I know, I did it myself, and I'm never going back.) Go MS!!

Assuming that WP8 has sold about 7 million phones in 2013 so far, that would mean that 1.6 million Android users have moved to WP8. abysmal. Samsung sold more than 1.6 million GS4's in one month than Android users have defected in two quarters. Why would anyone brag about that statistic?

They did not put the numbers of people going back to Android after seeing the lack of official apps and functionality (Freedom).  I have been going back and forth between Android and WP8 since the 920 launch day, trying to give WP8 a chance to finally convince me that I can live with it.. but I always come back to Android. it is just a better OS, with more APPS that actually work like they should and the freedom of doing what ever I want with my phone.

The iOS mentality is much more firmly entrenched than the Android one. Plus the Apple folks are much more into what's "trendy". Once iOS falls from favor you will see a lot more people defect.

when are you going to resolve issue for others folder.. i cannt format my Phone every month because of this..waiting for solution Since launch..(8 months)...i doubt if this issue gets more of highlight in ONLINE..what will be fate of WIN PHONE 8