New data shows Windows Phone on the rise in US, strengthens third position

Latest figures released by Kantar Worldpanel shows that Microsoft is actually starting to perform rather well in the US, one of the more important markets for the company. So much so that the platform is growing at a slightly faster rate than Google's Android. Microsoft still has a tough mountain to climb to tackle both Android and iOS, but it would seem as though the third position is firmly in its grasp.

Windows Phone accounted for 5.6 percent of all smartphone sales in the three months ending March 2013, according to the report. This is up from 3.7 percent a year ago. Android's share rose from 47.9 percent to 49.3 percent, while Apple slipped from 44.6 percent to 43.7 percent. Blackberry fell from 2.6 percent to just 0.9 percent. Kantar states that Nokia had the most to gain from Windows Phone growth.

Despite the launch of new Blackberry hardware, the company is still experiencing difficult times indeed. So why has Windows Phone grown significantly? Kantar pins this growth down to the operating system appealing to first-time smartphone buyers - an important group of consumers - more than Apple's iOS.

We can certainly relate to this. Large tiles, a simple user interface and a focus on typography across the majority of apps provides a familiar and integrated experience. The research firm noted that from its own survey, 52 percent of people who swapped to Windows Phone had a feature handset beforehand. By contrast, 55 percent of people who had bought an iPhone had previously owned another smartphone.

It's believed that Windows Phone will continue to capture more consumers who are looking to advance up the ladder to the smartphone world. There's a large proportion of consumers in the US who still use a feature phone. Should Microsoft (or rather Nokia) be able to tap into this pool, there'll be some more positive reports to come.

Source: Forbes, via: WMPU; thanks, Bob, for the tip!


Reader comments

New data shows Windows Phone on the rise in US, strengthens third position


How is it not "First" lol........i was the first person to post....2nd comment goes along with the first since im the first yes it is first as i was adding to it. 

Another person with a stick up his ass lmfao....relax. Every comment talking about the "First" comment should be deleted or replaced with "I'm immature, and an uptight asshole" :D

Why are you both being pathetic about this? This is good news and somehow the first few comments I see are people, Windows phone users may I add fighting about it??

It is good news. I'm pointing out that the user base is getting more, shall I say varied since the early days. And that the comments section is becoming more like youtube everyday :s

Windows phone doesn't have apps problems alone,but also doesn't boast a wide range of phones like android or features which IOS has.

iPhone has a ton of features that are not found in the world of Windows Phone.  Wireless charging, NFC, SD card slot, multiple screen sizes, different resolutions, mutliple price points, colors, removable cases/batteries, Kids Corner, Family Room, offline mapping solution that actually works.  Oh wait, do I have that all backwards?

The only problem for me is the Bing and maps problem. Bing is bad in almost every other country, except the US. And the maps offer from bing and Navteq are not up to date in my country. Google has much better satellite images of the Faroe Islands (which is the seaway connection between Scandinavia and Iceland, so tourist end up here frustrated and lost if they use their GPS)
I've been part of the Google mapmakers, and been mapping my country. But I can't do that with Navteq/Bing, becuase of crappy images!
But none the less, I love WP, and I hope to buy one soon! :)

WP8 uses Nokia maps as a default now i'm pretty sure. Nokia maps is quite better over seas than bing maps isn't it?

other than notifications & folders, i cant think of any ios feature WP is "missing" (WP has more features as far as social networks are concerned.) And the "app problem" speak of WP is faulty anyways (Theres tons of alternative apps on WP 10x better than the "brand name" Android/iOS apps, yet consumers dont know it). And a wide range of phones is debatable (1/2 the android phones are awfull, and you dont want to overpopulate the market with crappy devices, but at the same time, including variants, Nokia alone has 8 WP8 phones under their Lumia line, and more rumored devices (928, Catwalk) on the way)

This. WP has most of the major apps and where they don't there are suitable alternatives.  Like iOS was back in 2008-09 when the first-party apps usually stunk.  Personally I don't really need folders, but I'd like more sorting options for the "all apps" screen, like most used, category etc.  
I also would like the option to enable the status bar at the top to always display (a holdover from my iOS days for sure but I like it) and also the option to have the Mail tile show the number of unread items, even if I opened the app and closed it.  I used to see emails and mark them as unread with the purpose of responding at a later point.  Now I just forget about them!

That's what the follow up flag is for. I definitely like the way it works now... consistent with other notifications.

The email tile thing is definitely strange. It would be nice to have 2 numbers on the tile-one for new emails and one for unread.

look at myTube on windows phone. that thing is beautiful! arguably better than the official ios/android youtube apps

I second this motion. Idk how the Dev does it, but it us just so buttery smooth its insane. Even if I still only run a Lumia 900. Not saying it's bad or anything, but... Well you get the idea :P

Dude i agree they can't name more then one downloadable app that's as good as a major name one on android/iOS. I have all the platforms and can say the selection is rough at best maybe because I actually have something to compare it to at all times instead of just saying "nah ah!".

This is true, when I only had a WP I would always say that the 3rd party apps were better, and now that I switch from android to WP on a daily basis, and I actually had a galaxy nexus and iPhone for 3 months each in between my sprint Arrive and my L920, I don't think 3rd party apps are better, they are good alternatives but not better. I use runkeeper on Android, Caledos runner on WP the original is better, endomomdo is better on the other platforms, spotify I can't even play a song on my WP, so way better on Android, pocket is better elsewhere but the 3rd party app is okay, YouTube is better on Android. Be open to the truth, you don't have to cheer for Android or iOS just be sure you demand the best for your OS, don't be happy til it's there, complain to Microsoft, to windows phone, can we get something like google now? 

Metrotube and mytube for YouTube, mehdoh and gleek for twitter, Wikipedia (Rudy Huyn) for, well, Wikipedia. There's 5 that I have on my phone right now that are VASTLY--not just arguably--better than the official app on ANY platform, not to mention apps I don't currently have, like 4th and Mayor for foursquare. I'm no math wiz, but I'm pretty sure that 6>1...

Actually, more than 1/2 of the android devices are awful (more like 99%, how many good androids can you count?), I like the way MS controls the phones OEMs produce, it's better than having 1000 samsung galaxies, and lots of cheap chinese and indian brands, cheap in price is not bad (see the lumia 520), I mean cheap in quality
and there is no app problem, there is a game problem
BTW nokia has only 5 WP8 phones, I think there are 9 or 10 WP8 devices out there, which are enough

Lol, Nokia has released a handset for every android level at £100 and up. All the bases are covered sans phablet. Name three ios features we don't have. Not app, features.

True about the malware problem. You wouldn't want to suggest an android to your granny with potential issues like that. Lumia 520 is perfect for new users.

Since there are so many Windows users (tablets, PC s, laptops, etc.) who don't even know that there is a Windows Phone, I think it'll be smart if they if they have a "For a seamless Windows experience...try Windows Phone..." during the boot up screen. Of course you should be able to disable this, but I think it'll reach millions more ppl that are actually using the platform already.

Agree, that would be a terrible idea.  Instead, MS ought to work on providing Laptop/Tablet/Phone bundles or some kind of deal like they did for the Xbox 360 for students getting a new laptop a few summers back.

First and foremost they need to create awareness, because here in Sweden most people don't even know Windows Phone exist. I have not seen one add over here ever, but I guess we are not their main priority right now, the US is.

Cell companies in Sweden had 1 month of advertising on the "Amazing Everyday" on TV. After that they gave up. Company 3 had on there web site a deal, buy a WP and get a Xbox 360 4GB free. So there been some attempts.

That's why I said there should be a way to completely disable this. I don't think that it should be on every screen in the OS, but right in the boot up area...again, my opinion.

The thing is that a line needs to be drawn somwhere and that is to NEVER EVER put ads in the OS. This is a matter of principle aswell. Also, the bad publicity from this would probably hurt them more than they gain.

My wife is getting a 928 as soon as it launches and a friend of mine is considering switching to it from an iPhone.  I think we will be surprised the impact a flagship Nokia on Verizon will make on the growth of WP.

More like LOL. My contract is up but im gonna buy it retail. I'd rather keep my old contract. But yes, this phone comes out im heading to Verizon and force them to take my money

My crystal ball says iOS and WP will have the most market share in the future. People will wake up the the complicated inconsistent interface and  security nightmare of Android.

Apple had a good run, but their IOS is gonna fade to below 10% and join OSX, exactly where they belong. Within three years we are gonna have foldable Windows 8 mini tablets as smartphones and the iPhone will be a distant memory.

it wont be a distant memory. Windows Phone will not be top dog, but neither shouldanyone else. people seem to not realize that picking a smartphone is like picking a pc: Get the one that meets your needs. Windows Phone meets a wide range of needs, but for those mac users (and hipsters), its not exactly integrated well into their ecosystem. Android has its place in the Dev and DIY community. I wouldnt be suprised to see in the not so distant future "build your own" phone kits that run android. to try and categorize the user base and what would be best:

  • Simple business, IT, Dont want iPhone, and average consumer = Windows Phone
  • Apple Ecosystem, Dont want Windows, hispters = iPhone
  • Adnvanced IT, Advanced Business, Developers, DIY = Android 

I tend to think iOS will largely fade because of lack of options.  Apple's model of command and control does not lead to long term market domination.  Android will also fade, though I expect Samsung's OS to do quite well.  I suspect in the end that we may see LG, HTC, and others ending up in Windows Phone mostly - maybe even Blackberry if they survive.  Blackberry 10 has flailed at launch.  Frankly, they would have been ahead to take Microsoft's offer and become a premiere partner with Windows Phone along with Nokia. 
I also think on the tablet side that Haswell coupled with Bay Trail will shake up that space.  Android and iOS cannot compete if a full featured install of Windows can run and be power efficient on a tablet, especially with dockable keyboards that extend battery life.  If you can get 7-9 hours on a Haswell tablet with a Core i5 - game over.  That is what I've heard Haswell can do.  Bay Trail brings quad-core x86-64 computing to Atom and will provide inexpensive Intel devices that can run new W8 apps and legacy. 
MS got 7.5% of the tablet market with hardly any product in the pipeline - not including transformable devices.  Once the OEMs start deploying Haswell and Bay Trail, Android and iOS will be dead in the water on tablets.  If you can get an Intel tab for $500 or less at 10" and a $200-250 7" device that can run x86 even decently - GAME OVER.  Blue and Intel's new chipsets may bring the ARM tablet infrastructure to its knees.  And we'll see WP8 Intel devices in less than a year. 

can't quite see that.   Given iOS and Android's commanding market share it will take a long time for both of them to fade.   Now it is a scramble for third that Windows Phone needs to take.   There cannot be a lot of competing ecosystems, because the developers will not support so many.
I think Samsung's OS will not get the foothold you think.

Those of you touting the security nightmare of Android are the same ones saying Microsoft Security Essentials isn't good enough for the Windows Security nightmare.  Thinking that Android with an installed base nearing a billion is going to disappear is the same as thinking Microsoft going to fall off a cliff with a billion plus users.

Malware issues from their own google play store is a very different issue to malware downloaded via the browser through dodgy websites. I'm an ex android user, I don't want to have these issues on my phone.

On a PC, with all the freedoms afforded by it, I am willing to tolerate some risk. On a phone however, I expect 100% reliability and security. Many people feel similarly. Many are absolutely aghast after encountering their first Android infection. Few even consider that possible. That will affect androids popularity going forward.

Wow, this is actually pretty good news.  And with Lumia 521 and 928 coming soon, I think those numbers will get even better.  Once we hit the 10% mark you can be sure things will change with 3rd party app developers.  While I think the app difference is vastly overhyped, there are a lot of times I see a product advertise companion apps and WP is never on their list.

Any kind of headway is good news. Lately, I've encountered quite a few with Windows Phones (mainly Nokias). I guess this only means that Nokia will get even more resources to put into making even more headway. Microsoft needs to get on the ball though. They can't afford anymore screw ups.

Before everybody blows their load. 
I think this report is showing the market share in sales for the period, not devices in the market.  That is what comscore is reporting i think, that is why you are seeing different numbers and comscore reporting BB in 3rd place because there are a flood of old BB devices out there.  I think this is the case anyway. 
So 5.6 % market share, not good, but growing quarter per quarert,but if they can get to 10% by years end, will be start of something big.  This is not out of the picture as well with new phones incoming. 

I see what you're saying. The article says that WP accounted for 5.6 percent of sales for the past 3 months.. Not sure what that puts the total market share at, and I've always been confused about what the actual MS is.. I think the real numbers will show by the end of the year.

I am a staunch Apple guy but my wife is dead set on a new Lumia.   Windows Phone is a solid product. And looking at the lower cost but excellent quality products Nokia is putting out, The platform will grow.

I concur, I feel like Bart Simpson when he hold's something metal, his amazement and wonder. So yes, do miss that in Windows Phone and will be curious as to Catwalk. Would like to see a Windows Phone version of the HTC One, which kind of makes me drool.

Thats the ativs. Yes it looks amazing in the picture but dissappointed me when i saw it up close and almost chased me out of the store when i held cos i was forced to compare it to my lumia 920 and it felt like the work of a fresh university graduate. At least thats the way i perceived it.

Haha, yeah ok man. It looks really awesome in person, too. Like a smaller version of my Note 2.
I would have kept it over my 920, but it didn't support the right LTE bands for AT&T which the Rogers site said it did, so I unfortunately went back to the 920. The larger screen, battery, and SD slot were great though. 

Ha, I just asked that, guess I should've read the comments. I like that phone. It looks pretty, I like the idea of a physical home button. And home/start is the same thing don't try and tell yourself different. I think Microsoft should sell all the phones unlocked from the Microsoft website. And call them signature series, capable of running on any carrier.

"The research firm noted that from its own survey, 52 percent of people who swapped to Windows Phone had a feature handset beforehand. By contrast, 55 percent of people who had bought an iPhone had previously owned another smartphone.
It's believed that Windows Phone will continue to capture more consumers who are looking to advance up the ladder to the smartphone world. There's a large proportion of consumers in the US who still use a feature phone."
That's a couple of interesting facts which bode well for WP.    However I would like to know the number of people in the US who still use a feature phone.

I'm pretty sure is close to 50/50 now because I was reading yesterday that smartphone sales just barely surpassed feature phone sales for the first time recently. If this is true then it could be 49-51% of people out there who still have feature phones, and that's a huge number.. MS, and its partners better get moving, and fast!

So that is good news.  I was unaware that so many people still had feature phones, if MS is tending towards picking up more first time users, then that trajectory maybe quite helpful for MS and Windows Phones.

Yeah, but awareness needs to be increased greatly.. We need more marketing in the form informative television commercials, and they need not let up on the amount of commercials that are shown. I'm getting sick of saying this year after year.. They should just put me in charge of Marketing.. I would spend $1 billion the first year on tv commercials alone!! Seriously!!

As much as I hate to admit it, Windows Phone success hinges on all those people getting ready to purchase their first real smart phone. Get them locked into the ecosystem just like apple did and they will stay because it's too much hassle to switch. 

having something be too much of a hassle to switch is always a inferior way of viewing that issue. Once should make it easy to switch, but instead focus on having the best product. For instance MS recently put out a product that allows Android users to switch to WP and find the same or similar products in the Store as they had in Play. If you cannot make an easy switch, then you are only focusing on the untapped market, which will not exist for ever. One will need to at times induce someone who is already in a different ecosystem to switch.

They gave me an Android phone at work. I lasted two weeks. If there ever was an operating system designed by a committee, it would be Android. I don't know how its run of success can last. The integration and aesthetic of an OS like WP, iOS or BB10 is far superior in my view; my Lumia is far more relaxing and efficient to operate.

From the beginning MS has said they will be in it for the long run.  I hope the success continues.  Lets look forward to the Nokia May 21st announcement!

I will say I have a920 and surface rt for work I have a iPad and iPhone. I'm starting to like apple products alot the UI is beautiful and smooth

Therefore it is only a suggestion :) The majority of WP users have a Nokia or HTC anyways..i think..

I understand your point, and respect your opinion.. But, I think we need to encourage Samsung WP sales because Samsung is currently making WP devices and we need all the support we can get.. Now, if it was a picture of a old LG, or Dell, device then I would have a problem.. Lol!

So you like Micro$oft, but not Samsung?
And because of this you would rather the picture be changed to HTC or Nokia...

Odd ball no doubt.

Uh, I like WP. That may refer to M$ but seriously the point is I just don't like Samsung. And this isn't even suppose to be sth to reply to its such a minor comment c'mon man.

Thats fine, just dont understand why you would not like samsung for money reasons, but then like Micro$oft who charges for everything. 
Not only that but M$ forces manufacturer to keep to hardware that is underperforming, including forcing them to not go above 768 x 1280 resolution screens.
Coupled with M$ not letting you browse files on your phone, locking you into using Bing to search, and forcing you to use Internet Explorer as a browser... 
M$ is extremely limiting and restrictive, while charging a premium for it. 

MS is not even close to Samsung IMO. MS is keeping the OS simple for simple navigations. I never need to browse files on my phone, Bing does the job fine and there are other 3rd party browsers out there if you don't like IE. Like iOS, it's not that they can't put in everything in a phone, they just don't because it is not necessary. Btw every company's actions should lead to their profits and I would understand why MS handles things that way. 

The difference with Samsung is ever since the ugly S3 (their "own" design that didn't take cues from the iPhone), they've been milking this design to the last drop. You can line up a S3 - S4  / Note II - Mega(!) and probably cannot tell apart which phone is which, hell even the phablets look alike. (Before you jump into the iPhone clone thing, yes you can tell apart a 3GS / 4 and 5.  They've released 5-6 phones this past year with the same shape but different label slapped on. Talk about charging a premium for lazy design and "upgraded specs" that only gives you a slight boost in performance. I probably don't even have to mention the polycarbonate they use. It's not solid. "Durable" is just a marketing phrase they use to hide how cheap it is. Guess how much these phones cost?

Finally the Ativ is no different from a GS2 except the back is slapped with a "aluminum" STICKER. Talk about ripping consumers off. With what they're doing mentioned above, it's not hard to see they're pissing on consumers by using specs as a camoflauge. Even though they may have the best specs, despite the performance boost being only a little, I don't appreciate their attitude towards making "new things". 

Just has to add, in the US we couldn't buy the new BB Z10 in March. I think it launched in April If I'm not mistaken. So that's why the sales were probably so low.

My Nokia and windows phone is great, before I using IPhone and I got tired from changing screen glasses , 4 times per 3 years almost 1 new phone that operation cost

For me the biggest problem with windows phone is that many apps which were free on android do get ported to windows phone but however they rarely get updated like the android and IOS versions eg. Angry birds, fruit ninja , amazing Alex etc..Also many apps which were free on other platforms are paid on WP.

Exactly, that price is adverts. I especially like how Cocktail Flow is free on Android but you have to pay for the addon packages of drinks, unlike Windows Phone.

Coupled with terrible updating for the OS, and poor hardware restirictions, not to mention no file browsing and Bing..... WP8 needs a big refresh and Microsoft to step back.

I think you're in the wrong place, Android Central is three buttons over at the top of the page.
We get it, you hate Windows Phone 8.
Really, "terrible updating for the OS". You sure you aren't getting Windows Phone mixed up with Android!!!!
The hardware restrictions are one of the best things about WP, it means that you don't get cheap phones with crappy performance like with Android!!

This proves that Win 8 is a valid format here in the US, at least for now.  I love my Lumia 810 for its' simplicity.

The bit about first time smartphone users is true.
I picked up my lumia 810 a couple of months ago, as my first smartphone. Wp8 was honestly the thing that made me finally take the jump - that and tmobile's cheap monthly offerings. Android is too much of a mess for me to want to splurge a smartphone over it (I have an android tablet, doesn't run that smooth, app quality is all over the place as well as stability, etc), iOS is too expensive "name brand" and too closed off to make me want to to use it. Meanwhile Wp8 gives me everything I'd want in a smartphone on top of a slick UI, great music/media capabilities (coming from a zuneHD which I used heavily, this was very important), stability, good app quality, all the apps I'd actually use, etc.

Oh, how much I love my 920, yet I still hate windows. SURFACE RT really sucks, much worse than Windows Phone, even though they look like each other. GO Windows Phone, though still not mature, lacking some features, but I count on you!

Limited options, flagship nokia phone a brick, upcroming nokia 928 even more a brick... Look like a lego block actually....
If WP8 had a decent line up and micro$oft didnt force hardware limitations like the outdated screen resolution, along with file browsers, unlocked internet browsing, not E9 garbage, and updates that were pushed on time, I would not be jumping from my Focus S to an S4. 

you have posted the same thing in this thread about 5 times. if you are not satisfied with your windows phone enjoy your s4. Why do people like you gotta come in here and whine about things that are easily rectified? and another thing your talking about a focus s that has been EOL for a while and not upgradeable to 8. Why not try wp8 before bashing every single aspect you dont know about it.

if Lumia 520/5xx can sell at least 2mil-3mil/month, 6xx-9xx for another 2-3mil/mo and phablet for 1mil/mo  nokia will be ok.
next year, keep the same strategy with Lumia 530, 630, 730 for emerging markets and 2nd phone at the same price point.
just 4 fun, guess what's up next march in 2014
- lumia 530:  dual core 1ghz (keep price low) 3g support, 4inch screen
                      1 gb ram
                      improve battery issue with software patch and 1700 mah battery.
                      Nokia Drive
                      Windows Blue with FM radio, notification, flip to silence, volumn profiles... many fixes.
- lumia 630:
                     dual core 1.2ghz/ 3g support,   3.7 inch
                     1gb ram
                     Nokia Drive
                     improve battery issue with software patch and 1700+ mah battery.
                     Windows Blue with FM radio, notification, flip to silence, volumn profiles... many fixes.
-lumia 730:
                     dual core 1.2ghz/ 3g support,   4.3 inch
                      Nokia Drive
                     1gb ram                    
                     Windows Blue with FM radio, notification, flip to silence, volumn profiles... many fixes.
of course app should be strong now with Instagram, better support from banks, VPN, better skype integration...
Lumia eos could be a phablet with the ideal specs:
5 inch screen 440 ppi 1080p( to enjoy pureview better)
41 mp pureview
Quad core s800 to support pureview 41 since s600 can only support up to 20mp
2gb ram
2500+ mah battery
Always on voice search, search by voice without touch/press a button(only supported on S800)
Wp 8 gdr3 (blue is only avail on 2014)

it is just taking in blackberry users that don't want to go apple or android.
well besides windows phone, all the other phone OSs are *nix based.

"The research firm noted that from its own survey, 52 percent of people who swapped to Windows Phone had a feature handset beforehand."
Yeah, that kinda confirms my long standing suspicion that people who use WP just don't know any better... :-\

Like I said further up, Android Central is three buttons over at the top of the page. If anything we Windows Phone users do know better, far better than Android users who can't see the slow laggy wood for the trees!!!

Except that I am not an Android user and I hate Android!
Samsung's Omnia 7 was my main phone for over a year, and I still use WP device (HTC 8X) as my second phone. However at the end of 2011 I was given iPhone 4 and since then I am an iOS convert. I really want Windows Phone to succeed - and I do think it will break 10% marketshare worldwide by the end of this year, but it is no longer good enough OS for me. After trying iOS, I can no longer justify lack of apps and limited WP OS.
And my comment was mostly about the fact that I know quite a few people who got themselves WP7 devices as their first smartphone in late 2011 - but by now, not a single one stayed with WP. For various reasons (lack of apps, hardware problems with Lumia 800, non-upgrade to WP8, etc) they have all switched to iPhones 4S/5 or Galaxy S3. The general gist seems to be: WP looks pretty but lacks functionality either as OS or as app platform.

why do people like you think you know whats best for the world? focus on what you enjoy and let people make their own decisions... They are adults and are capable of making their own purchases. You android/iphone guys are some of the most ignorant fools by thinking that people are not allowed to buy what attracts them. its your fault that wp doesnt get app support because people like you try your hardest to get people to get something else when it really isnt your decision.

I have personally convinced 6 friends and family members to get WP devices for themselves - and then felt like shit when they kept asking about missing apps or had to send that damn Lumias 800 for yet another "repair". I've done quite a lot for the well-being of the platform, thank you very much.

When promoting windows phone I always caution them about applications possibly not being there. You feel like crap because you failed to point out things to the people you converted that should have been the obvious thing to do. In regards to faulty phones hey it happens nothing to complain about it happens to iPhone and android users alike. Saying that people who buy windows phones don't know better means your applying your own personal situation to others and we both know that it isn't the case for most people considering customer satisfaction.

I did tell them about the lack of apps issue - but I also told them that I think the situation will improve soon. Alas it did not.
And the hardware issues with Lumia 800 were completely separate and nobody expected those from Nokia.

No one ever expects those issues with the hardware. And app development does not take days it could take months and even more so if people are not keen to devving for WP.

Are you answering just for the sake of answering?
Clearly issues with Lumia 800 were unexpected, but considering that replacements were just as bad as the original phones and many issues were never resolved - it was much worse than occasional manifacturing error.
As for apps, since original release of WP7 we are constantly waiting for the platform to finally 'make it' as an popular app platform - back in the fall of 2011 a lot of people (including myself) expected that situation will dramatically improve because of Mango SDK improvements. It didn't.

I don't understand why smaller and pre-paid carriers like Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, etc. aren't all carrying the Lumia 520. It would be priced at a great price point and sell a ton of units with its range of color options. If Microsoft ever realized how huge this market is their market share would take a considerable leap up. As it stands right now in the US Android is the only game in town on smaller and pay as you go carriers.