Sam George Microsoft

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.