trends

If you are a Windows developer, you would’ve noticed the Explore Store Trends section of the Windows Store Dashboard. The trends section includes user demographics and catalog information. Since few developers can draw useful interpretation from those numbers, Windows App Builder Blog has shared interesting statistics about the most popular app categories.

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Design and innovation is hard. And a lot of times, those in the industry tend to arrive at the same conclusion, even if designers took different paths and they weren’t watching the competition. Such is the case when two things look 'inspired' by each other. But all too often accusations of "copying" abound when in fact, it was more a meeting of general design trends.

The Zeitgeist of Style, if you will.

In other words, we’re not accusing Apple of anything here except maybe of not being too different than current fashions. (It's cool, Apple. You don't always need to lead.) What we are saying is that these two “technology things" look very familiar. Kind of.

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The Nokia Lumia 800: Trend setter

We’ve had discussions before, sometimes heated, about what should be the proper name for Windows Phone and whether it’s catchy, unique enough or even hampered by the “Windows” name. But one thing is for sure, Nokia seems to have a hit with the 'Lumia' brand.

Using Google’s Trends function to compare searches for 'Windows Phones' against 'Lumia' you get an interesting result. Since about November 2011, 'Lumia' has been searched for much more often than 'Windows Phone' which is curious only because Nokia’s handsets are a subset of Windows Phone, yet they’re clearly leading in terms of brand awareness and consumer curiosity.

Last 12 months of Google searches for 'Lumia' vs 'Windows Phone' vs 'Windows Mobile'

Going further, looking at “news reference volume” which details how often Lumia is cited in the media, we can see that although it trails Windows Phone, it often follows the same pattern of interest and is near the same level.

Perhaps just as interesting is if you compare ‘Windows Mobile’ versus ‘Windows Phone’ you can see a slow downward trend for the former but it still trends quite high. That reinforces the belief that many are still confusing the two brands and Microsoft still has a naming problem, which is slowly being overcome. 

There should be little doubt that Nokia with their branding and ability to make headlines has raised awareness a lot for Microsoft’s mobile OS, so much so that they’re in fact leading the interest, often getting ahead of “Windows Phone” itself. That’s impressive work and is a good sign that Nokia is resonating with users out there and backs up what many of us have been saying, which is Nokia is the key to Windows Phone success now and in the future.

Source: Google Trends; via TNW; Thanks, piaqt, for the heads up

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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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Tam Hanna has taken the time to go over Handango's "Yardstick 2007" report (not my favorite company, but that's a different rant) which shows how the industry is changing in terms of platforms (PalmOS, WM Standard, WM Pro, Sybmian, BB) and category of applications e.g. games, productivity, etc.

With the added touch of some simple Excel graphs, Tam finds some very interesting results. For instance, in the number of new applications added for WM Professional, it actually dipped in 2007 compared to 2006--which is quite the surprise. However, WM Standard actually increased, suggesting non-touchscreen devices, which have become more prevalent and cheaper, are quickly growing and balancing out Standard's big bro's position.

Some other interesting findings:

  • PPC-6700 & 700wx are the top PPC devices adding software
  • Moto Q and Sammy BJ are the top Standard ones
  • Average application price has dropped in 2007
  • SPB has 7 out of 10 of the best selling PPC apps

But probably the biggest shock is how Windows Mobile (while increasing for Standard by a bit and decreasing for Professional) is being eclipsed by Symbian and BlackBerry who are rapidly growing. Yikes. Go over and take a look at all the perty numbers and graphs and drop a comment below on your thoughts.

Personally, I think the explosive growth of the WM freeware and home-coder community has taking some market from the professional developer community, things like PointUI, WeatherPanel, multiple free IM clients and all the happenings at XDA has resulted in what looks to me as an explosion in high quality free apps. Agree?

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