Market

Marios Karagiannis, the developing superpower behind the title MonsterUp, has published an interesting article on his blog detailing how 2012 is going to be the "Year of Nokia" for Windows Phone. Looking at the above charts, on the left we have the total breakdown of Windows Phone OEMs since early 2011 and on the right we have the representation of the month of January 2012 only (data is extracted from devices playing his games).

There's a clear trend that is noticeable when comparing both charts. Nokia is on the rise (within the Windows Phone market anyway), helped by the quality of the handsets manufactured and the sheer scale of marketing. HTC is still the clear giant, but with the 900 uprising, as well as the probability of the monster Lumia handset being available on a global scale, we should see a further increase to the chunk Nokia owns.

While we have no exact figure for the amount of handsets Nokia has sold, apart from the 1 million shipped estimation by analysts, this is an indicator that the Lumia family is selling. Especially with the 11% jump in Windows Phone OEM shares in just under a month.

Source: Marios Karagiannis

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IHS iSuppli Mobile & Wireless Communications Service is inclined to believe that Windows Phone will overtake Apple's share of the smartphone market by 2015.  Their projections show Microsoft's market share taking a huge leap from 2011's 1.9% to 9% by the end of this year.  From there, they predict another jump in 2013, where things will level off to slow and steady growth, eventually overtaking Apple's iOS by one tenth of one percent.

IHS gives credit for this rise almost entirely to Nokia, who garnered huge praise for their Lumia 900 at CES and announced their line of 4G phones for the US. 

“One of the hottest new products unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show was the Lumia 900, a Windows Phone-based smartphone sporting a flashy set of features that makes it competitive with the best alternatives offered by the Android camp,” said Wayne Lam, senior analyst for wireless communications at IHS. “This hot product represents Nokia’s first step to reclaim its market share. Combined with Nokia’s efforts to drive the development of the Windows Phone ecosystem, the Lumia 900 and its successors will help Microsoft to reclaim its No. 2 ranking in smartphone operating system market share in 2015.”

We've heard this kind of prediction before and remain skeptical, as always.  While it looks like Windows Phone will indeed catch on and become a force in the smartphone market, claims like this should always be taken with a grain of salt.

Source: iSuppli; Thanks, damthman, for the tip yesterday

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Windows Phone is on the rise in France, as can be seen in the above browser share chart. The OS is almost hitting Blackberry, which appears to be still in decline (is there ever any good news when it comes to Blackberry?). This goes on top of the French developer who saw a noticeable increase in Lumia 800 activity using his apps on the Marketplace. If we remember the chart that the developer provided, no other Windows Phone dropped to make way for Nokia's handset so one would assume we've had a number of French platform adopters.

Although it's not all roses in the garden, prior to what seems to be the end-of-2011 surge (thanks to Nokia's marketing frenzy), the graph doesn't show the kind of growth we'd hope to see. But if the sharp increase continues with more Nokia and Microsoft marketing, we should see some positive results indeed.

Source: StatCounter, via WMPU

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Morgan Stanley, a global financial services firm, has predicted that Nokia will be shipping 37 million Windows Phones in 2012. Not only that, but they expect the number to almost double in 2013 to 64 million. This is depending on how aggressive Microsoft, Nokia and AT&T market the Lumia 900. If Europe is anything to go by, we're sure Nokia will be pushing extremely hard with the software giant and U.S. carrier close behind. With a rumoured $200 million budget available between them, we should look forward to some interesting promotions and events being set up.

As Steve Ballmer mentioned at CES, they've got a long way to go, but the road is looking positive should a strong push be effective.

Source: AllThingsD

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E.D. Kain, a contributor over at Forbes, has published an interesting article about why he believes Windows Phone will do well in the competitive smartphone market. The post is perfect to put every reader in a positive mood with CES 2012 coming up shortly. Kain provides five reasons why the platform has the potential to do well, should more hardware compliment the OS, and the future be maintained at a "bright" level:

  1. Windows Phone Has A Totally Unique UI
  2. Originality Means Fewer Forays Into The Patent Wars
  3. Uniformity Across All Devices and Carriers
  4. Zune Is Baked Right Into the Operating System
  5. Xbox Live Gaming Support

While none of the above will be anything new to majority of platform veterans, it does paint a clear picture of what path Microsoft is traveling down, not just with Windows Phone but other product lines too. Kain's verdict is 2012 will see the platform enter a three-way race against the iPhone and Android (which we can all agree with).

CES 2012 will house Nokia's Lumia 900 announcement, which will kick off the aggressive marketing campaign in the U.S. and join the media tsunami that has been witnessed across Europe and beyond. Be sure to check out the full read at Forbes (link below).

Source: Forbes

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According to the November '11 report by Appcelerator, Windows Phone has overtaken RIM to become the third platform with regards to developer interest. What could be the factors that have boosted interest for the platform? The superb developer relationship Microsoft has in place is bound to be attractive, not to mention Nokia's announced dedication to the app craftsmen.

Android is sitting comfortably in second, while iOS (both iPhone and iPad) is the reigning champion for developers. It will be interesting to see how HTML mobile web, as well as Windows Phone, increases with hardware acceleration and how Metro UI will take off across Microsoft's product line. 

On an off note, do try to ignore the fact that the 68% and 66% lines are above the 70% marker.

Source: Appcelerator, via: SlashGear

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Not to beat a dead horse...well, actually that's exactly what we are doing, but looks like either Microsoft is becoming lax in enforcing mass-publishing of apps or we misunderstood what they meant.

Back in June, in reaction to negative complaints of a few devs "spamming" the marketplace, Microsoft posted new guidelines to cut down on these types of scenarios. Here we're referring to spamming as mass-publishing the same app but with a different location or institution, instead of having a single app with the ability to choose from within. This clutters the Marketplace, inflates numbers and just plain looks bad. And we're not even counting here the "fake" apps that don't do anything.

Part of those changes was a cap:

1. "To avoid the scenario where bulk publishing crowds out other apps in Marketplace in the future, effective immediately, we are limiting the number of apps any one developer can have certified in a single day to 20. Developers creating a large number of apps can still submit all of them for certification, but they will be certified at a maximum rate of 20 per day rather than all at once."

Evidently this does not mean publishing those apps though. We just noticed no less than 37 'MyTranso' apps being published and pushed at once to the Marketplace. That's more than 20, even if we're off by one or two. Sure, it's the weekend but we thought the change Microsoft implemented would cut down on such nonsense. Guess we were wrong, but perhaps we're just being too picky? Let us know in comments.

via: WP7AppList

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IHS Screen digest has come out with their yearly report on online movie sell-though and Internet video-on-demand (iVOD) service and while Apple is stil at the top (by a lot, we might add) their dominance in the market appears to be waning.

In 2010, Apple controlled 64.5 percent of the online VOD market, but that's down from 2009's 74.4 percent--that loss of 10 percent seems to be quite a large number. Though to be put into perspective, the market itself grew by over 60%, meaning Apple still took away a nice chunk of change.

Reason for the decline in market share though? According to Arash Amel, IHS digital media research director:

Apple faced serious competition from Microsoft's Zune Video and Sony's PlayStation Store, as well as from Amazon and -- most significantly -- Walmart.

More importantly to our concerns, Zune Video platform increased to 17.9 percent from 2009's 11.6 percent--in large part due to the success of the Xbox 360/Kinect combo. That's actually an impressive gain if might say and shows that Microsoft does seem to have a plan here for getting into consumer video content. Combined with Windows Phone 7 (assuming it gains significant market share), we think Zune has a very bright future--so much so we wonder what Android could offer that is remotely analogous?

Although the conclusion by IHS is that Walmat (and Amazon) may be the biggest competitors against Apple, due to their sheer market size and brand-advantage. That may be true, but we don't see any Walmart video service on our smartphones and so far nothing from Amazon either--and the mobile market is an important one, for sure.

Soruce: IHS ScreenDigest; via: Twice; Thanks, Mark, for the tip!

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We have to admit we get a little cynical with these 'analyst' stories only because we often get the feeling that these experts are often behind the curve or they make somewhat obvious, vague predictions about mobile tech.

In this case, IDC, who should be quite familiar to mobile phone users by now, has gone on to state that they think Microsoft has a chance with Windows Phone 7 in 2011, but only if they do what they basically said they're going to do. Al Hilwa, an analyst with IDC, wrote in a Dec. 29 publication:

CDMA phones are expected to arrive in early 2011, ensuring that WP7 devices are available on all four U.S. carriers, thus helping increase device shipments...To bring the platform rapidly to a level of parity with other major mobile platforms, Microsoft will need to deliver several key features in the first quarter of 2011.

Seems sort of obvious but okay, lets go on. What are those features? According to eWeek they are "multitasking support, copy-and-paste and increased hardware support for augmented reality applications such as business card scanning". Since we know Microsoft is doing all the requested from Al Hilwa, we guess this is a shoe in, right? CDMA devices will be announced at CES, rollout in February and we can see "several" OS updates in 2011, many bringing the required-for-success features Hilwa expects.

Finally, Hilwa concludes with

IDC believes that it will have a seat at the small table of the top two or three mobile application platform players in the next five years.

Seems to be a safe prediction. We don't see such claims for WebOS, Bada or MeeGo, do we? Although perhaps we could say RIM is knocked out of that top-three club, but even that is becoming more and more obvious with every labored BlackBerry release these days.

Source: IDC (12/29/10); via eWeek

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Pfffttt...Although LG has been boasting big about Microsoft and Windows Mobile/Phone for...well a few years now, not much has come of it. (See last week)

As it turns out, LG reportedly plans to launch 20 phones this year, with 15 of those being Android devices, the remaining five for Windows Phone 7.

He said that 4.2 million phones will be Android-based, while 1.8 million will use Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system, the executive said.

"We can't exactly predict the market. But one thing clear is LG is heavily betting on Google’s Android operating system. The number of Android phones will be more than earlier expected," an LG spokesman said.

Hmmm, lets see if this ratio balances out in 18 months?

Okay, I guess we shouldn't be too shocked. Android is selling like hotcakes, Windows Phone 7 is...well, untested at this point. LG needs to make money so they're going to follow that trail as any wise company would do.

But we get it LG: you love us and Android, someday you'll leave her because we're really the best, but you don't want to lose the house. So for now we'll play the part of the mistress. Hmmmph

Finally, it is still worth noting that LG plans to have five WP7 devices--so far we've only seen one, the Panther GW910.

[The Korea Times via TamsPPC]

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Well, the tweet says it all.

Of course what it means exactly is unclear, but with the recent ruling on DRM and 'jailbreaking', there's no reason to think that XDA members won't be able to unlock our devices at some point and support 'sideloading'. Just like we suggested.

w00t

footnote: While XDA Market is the product of XDA-developers member davidgiga, it isn't an official XDA-developers product. 

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File this under "duh" but for those who are wondering, Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.x has dipped below 10% in terms of market share in the U.S, according to NPD.

To put that in perspective, a year and half ago it was at 20%.

In a way, it is odd since devices like the ubiquitous HTC Touch Pro 2 and drool worthy HD2 had a lot of headlines and presumably market share, but alas it was not so as many more switched to Android.

Other numbers for those with morbid curiosity:

  • RIM 28% (down from 32%)
  • Android 33%
  • iPhone 22%
  • WebOS 4%

Like we said, not even Android ousting the aging (and increasingly boring) RIM was that shocking (didn't something like 6 gazillion Android devices come out in 2010 so far?). However, this does put into perspective the challenge Microsoft has in terms of branding and recouping consumer awareness.

Hey, at least we're not as bad as HP Palm.

[via SeatllePi]

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No doubt the media seems to be riding Microsoft pretty hard these days, especially with the KIN situation which was a divide that should have stayed behind doors at the company. Throw in the supposedly influential, yet sketchy world, of "analysts" and you have a perfect storm of just bad media complete with regurgitation.

The latest comes from 'Gerson Lehrman Group' the "most valuable NYC company no one outside of Wall Street has ever heard of." which means of course you're suppose to take them seriously, even though like most things tied to Wall Street it has the academic research chops of a fourth grade show-n-tell project.

In an "article" (we use the term loosely here) called "Microsoft's Mobile Demise" who's main prediction is that "It is highly likely that after the KIN fiasco, Microsoft will exit the mobile OS space within the next year.", it is put forth that Microsoft blew their cred with KIN and that Windows Phone 7 just won't deliver. Full of assumptions, lack of context, splash of straw man and no data and you have yourself some headline making material that lacks any substance.

Here's a fact: even if WP7 doesn't sell well at first, Microsoft won't fold shop because they are stubborn as heck with tons of money to throw at the problem. The Xbox market is a perfect example, with them notoriously writing off $1B in repairs for the dreaded 'Red Ring of Death" hardware failures, or even just taking a loss on hardware sales for years just to gain market place strength. KIN was so unknown, distanced from WP7 and under the radar that no will be talking about it in 6-months, which is precisely why it was "killed" now.

Sure Microsoft has a huge hill to climb, but to predict their exit from the market in a year? That takes cajones. And to have such poor "analysis" passed off on such a supposed influential financial consulting site/expert network is sort of insulting.

Sound off in comments.

[Thanks, Anon tipper]

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One of our favorite pocketpc freeware sites, Freeware for PocketPC, has released a pretty darn good marketplace app dubbed OpnMarket (hey, it's freeware, they evidently have to pay for extra "e"s).

In fact, dare we say, it's snazzier than Microsoft's own attempt?  Best analogy is it feels similar to the Netflix Mobile Manager application, with kinetic scrolling and tight graphics. Of course, it only works on touchscreen devices. Sorry WM Standard.

So do we recommend?  Heck, yeah!  For one, it showcases a lot of hobby developer software and number two, it's all freeware. The store itself works well enough, and did we mention free?

The application does require registration, which can be done on the device or on their website.  This will allow you to manage your programs via a "dashboard" interface as well as keep your software up to date.

Use MS Tag to download now and give it a go.  Read more on it here.

[Thanks, Veselin N., for the tip!]

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Everyone is hurting this year and even the head-honchos at Microsoft have received a small cut in pay as a result. That would Ballmer & Liddell and the rock stars Bach-Elop-Turner Overdrive.

Sure the numbers are all over the place: base salary went up slightly while cash incentive payments went down and lets face it, Ballmer is far from poor as a result.

Still, as the article points out some of the base salary was set before the economic downturn and more importantly, Microsoft has a considerably low base salary for all their executives when compared to some other industries, ahem. Instead, their real income is through stock options and therefore tied directly to company performance, which we think makes sense and all.

We're just glad we guess that Microsoft seems relatively down to earth in terms of executive compensation.  There, we said something nice.  Now can someone please take care of our ridiculous college loans?  Thanks!

[Source: Seattle Times]

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No doubt lots of people are clamoring at the notion that "Windows Mobile is dead" (evidently this crew has moved on from mocking Palm) and what with Motorola on WM hiatus, Palm parting ways, the eternal delay of WM7 and the perhaps too-little-to-late Windows Mobile 6.5, it is easy to see why.

On the other hand there is the stark reality: Microsoft has a lot of licensees (14 to be exact), including most recently LG, which is committed to a reported 50 devices in the next few years. HTC has lots of hits with its Touch series and their increase in market power is unrelenting.

To back this up, iSuppli, which performs market analysis, came out with a report stating that though Microsoft is down right now, it is poised for a strong comeback. It is predicting "a 15.3 percent share of the global market in 2013, second only to the Symbian operating system, which will control 47.6 percent." Basically they're going to bounce from No. 2 to No. 3 this year and back to second-place by 2012.

Expanding on this, Tina Teng, a senior analyst at iSuppli, goes on to correctly note

“To win in today’s environment, a company needs not only an operating system but also device support, an application store, a broad portfolio of applications and support from the developer community. While Windows Mobile is losing some share to competitors in 2009, most of the alternatives cannot match Microsoft’s complete suite of offerings.”

This isn't too hard to fathom either with Ballmer revamping the Windows Mobile team and making it the second top priority for the company. Heck, look at all the Live services (Bing, Mesh, MyPhone), tech previews (Recite, Deepfish), Marketplace, the Chassis-1 specifications, the Orion project, TellMe, gesture navigation, non-touch gestures/Side Sight, Silverlight, free automagic-ness and Windows Mobile 7 looks to be a monster OS with very advanced technology. Now combine all of that with 14 hardware manufacturers, market presence, integration with Windows 7, Xbox and that Zune HD thing. Ka-ching.

Microsoft has all the pieces, now it just has to merge them all into a unified and compelling OS.  One year from now we thing will be very interesting times.

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