Windows Phone could top Android in emerging markets

Windows Phone and Android have a lot in common. Both are competing for second place in app revenue against the juggernaut that is Apple, and both types of handsets/tablets are more affordable than iOS devices. Although Android has a leg up over Windows Phone worldwide, Microsoft’s mobile platform has a great opportunity to surpass Android in a number of emerging markets like China and Brazil.

There are many factors at play in the ongoing mobile battle between Microsoft and Google. To get a better idea of how each side stacks up, we spoke with Martin Koppel, COO at mobile payment specialist Fortumo. If Martin’s predictions are correct, Windows Phone’s continued growth in developing markets will soon put it on much more even footing with Google’s mobile OS.

Why should developers choose Windows Phone?

Microsoft advertizing expenses


: Asymco

During April’s BUILD conference, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella pushed for developers to build apps and games for mobile Windows platforms. Creating software for Windows Phone and Windows 8 has just gotten a lot easier thanks to universal app support. And Microsoft has significantly increased its marketing budget for Windows platforms (as shown in the image above), although many of us would like to see Windows Phone marketing taken further still.

“But why should developers care to build for it rather than Android when Windows Phone runs on a small fragment of smartphones?” Martin asks.

We’re leaving iOS out of this discussion because it’s not a true competitor for Windows Phone and Android in emerging markets. These markets matter because they’re nowhere near saturated yet, thus providing the largest potential for new revenue for app developers. Consumer income in emerging markets tends to be lower than in North America and Europe, so customers in India, China, and similar regions often can’t afford devices from Apple. That makes Windows Phone the biggest competitor to Android in several key markets.

Still, Windows Phone can’t compete with Android’s popularity just yet. Android smartphones outsold Windows Phone by a 20:1 ratio last year, according to device shipment data. With numbers like that, it might look more reasonable for developers with eyes on worldwide sales to focus solely on Android instead of Microsoft’s mobile OS. But device sales aren’t the only factor that matters. Let’s look at this breakdown of Google Play (the de-facto Android software store) revenue-versus-downloads, courtesy of App Annie:

Google Play revenue versus downloads from App Annie

Notice that the top paying countries don’t line up with the top downloading countries. India, Brazil, and Russia are all among the top six markets for smartphone shipments this year. Those countries should be at the top of the revenue chart for Google Play, but they’re not. Even though Android devices sell in significantly larger volumes, Android revenue per app download is 8x smaller than Windows Phone.

Selling to Android customers is harder than Windows Phone customers

Android in China from ExtremeTech

Image: ExtremeTech

The reasons for Android’s relatively diminutive app revenue are fragmentation and payments.

Fragmentation on Android is a big deal because Google allows any device manufacturer to create its own version of the OS. They don’t have to use Google’s version of Android or even Google Play for app distribution. One third of Android device manufacturers opted to use a custom Android build last year, and shipments of those phones grew four times more than official Google Android phones. More importantly, Google Play isn't even supported on half of the different Android devices in existence!

That puts Android developers at a big disadvantage because the number of Android phones entering the market is nowhere near the same as the number of users who can be captured through Google Play. Where do these Google Play-less devices end up? Emerging markets – the ones with the most substantial market growth.

China is clearest example of the problem – even though Android reigns supreme over there, Chinese devices generally lack Google Play so the average app developer can’t sell to those customers. And yet any Windows Phone shipped will offer the Windows Phone Store, in China or elsewhere.

Payment methods are also a major challenge on Android. According to Martin Koppel:

“Google makes enough money from Google Play with credit cards in Western markets… [But Google] isn’t moving fast enough in implementing alternative payment solutions for emerging markets.”

Google’s attention might be elsewhere, but Microsoft is quite interested in grabbing more market share in these regions. Microsoft also wants app developers to make money from emerging markets, hence the Windows Phone payment ecosystem has opened up substantially since the Windows Phone 7 days.

Windows Phone developers are not required (opens in new tab) to use Microsoft’s commerce engine for In-App Purchases, which allows them to fully support carrier billing or use other payment methods like e-wallets, scratch cards, and other regional variations. Google Play developers on the other hand, must stick with Google’s approved solutions. In fact, one report indicates that Google has threatened to remove apps from Google Play that implement third-party payment solutions.

Why access to payment systems matters

Access to payments might not seem like a big issue for developers living in the US. “After all, there are 177 million credit card owners in the US, roughly [the same number] as there are smartphones,” Martin reminds us. Basically, any adult in the US who wants to pay for an app can do so.

But things are totally different in emerging markets. India has an anemic 1.55% credit card penetration, a number often evidenced by comments from our Indian readers. Credit cards are more prevalent in other emerging markets, but far from omnipresent – Russia has 17 percent penetration and Brazil 31 percent. Assuming that less than two percent of Indian smartphone users can actually pay for Android apps, it comes as little surprise that those apps don’t make a dent in the revenue charts.

That’s not to say that Indian payments aren’t an issue for Windows Phone as well. With so little credit card penetration, mobile payments in India must be handled by carrier billing, bank transfers, and store vouchers. Neither Windows Phone nor Google Play can offer carrier billing just yet, entirely due to government red tape. But both platforms are working on it, with Microsoft and Nokia showing the harder push. Until then, India occupies a weird dead zone for app sales – the only real money to be made is for device manufacturers, not app developers.

The ball is in Microsoft’s (and developers’) court

India-specific payment issues aside, Microsoft still offers more robust payment method support worldwide (including app-specific support for Fortumo payments) while avoiding the store fragmentation issues that plague Android. Windows Phone developers enjoy a constantly growing potential for revenue acquisition as a result.

Initially, many developers overlooked Android because iOS had such dominant market share. But that wait-and-see attitude just allowed other app developers to step into the Android space and make big profits without the fear of competition (before emerging markets became relevant, of course). Now Windows Phone and Windows 8 developers have that same opportunity, especially if they focus on Brazil, Russia, China, and India.

“There is a land grab going on right now in Windows platforms,” Martin intones.

Mobile developers who want to sell to emerging markets have a choice. Do they stick with the highly saturated Android market until the Windows Phone market matures, at which point they will face the same kind of competition they already have? Or do they bring their best work to mobile Windows platforms now and sell to users from countries which widely outpace North America and Europe in smartphone growth rate? According to Fortumo, small and medium-sized developers will be missing out on a valuable business proposition if they wait much longer.

Paul Acevedo

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • And then I can rub it in my friends' faces. Suckers!! :)
  • your f**king faces morons.
  • Let's not call people who don't use Windows Phone morons. That's extremist and rude.
  • They do the same to me. Why not?? They deserve it.
  • Anyone who calls you a moron isn't your friend, dude. And normal people don't feel strongly about one OS over another, even if they have a preference. So it's better for all of us to try to be that way too.
  • That mean i've the weirdest friends ever...
  • I guess you are right. They are too obsessed with their own OS to think about others'
  • Anyone who calls you a moron is real friend
  • Me and my friends sometimes call each other homo, d*ck, or even moron and we wouldn't mind it. of course this is for real friends only. if you know what i mean ;))
  • I love a good friendship razzing
  • That's a completely irrational viewpoint.
  • Be bigger than them.
  • You people are sad. It's just a phone OS, Christ.
  • Seems faster....
  • Oy boy. Calm down
  • I see what you did there...
  • You need MS's great support to do that! Let's see how they 'deliver' going forward.
  • Can't wait for that to happen...
  • I doubt it will happen. Phones like Moto E and Moto G already eating WP(Nokia) market shares. Nokia isn't able to offer smartphones as affordable as Moto specially in emerging market. In some countries still L520 cost $40 more than Moto E.
  • 520 costs like $40.....
  • In the US. In most developing countries it is around $150- $250 directly imported, in carriers it is about $350 -$450. Believe me, I've seen it.
  • My 1020 was only $400, but with my plan it was $100... Jesus, $450 for a 520?
  • Agree on this. Some of my friends who were considering Lumia 520 are picking up Moto G
  • In Chile is the Nokia 520 more cheap than an entry level Android phone like the Samsung galaxy fame or LG LIII, and also is a emerging market,also my operator have agreement with Nokia for charge in the bill or discount of you call credit the cost of the application downloaded from WP marketplace ,also the factor if is cheaper or not is not a controllable from Nokia or any android manufacturer, factors as currency parity,FTA agreements could make a thing cheap or expensive in any market. We have to remember that those things are imported from china and other Asiatic countries and the case of Argentina and Brazil they have factories where assembly some phones for internal market only which can make expensive and not viable build an entry level device due the work laws in there, I am accountant and I know very well what can make a thing be cheap or expensive too.
  • Hmm
  • Good read. MS has so much work ahead. Full steam is now a must
  • Agree. They need to boost things up...
  • They seem faster :D
  • I love windows phone all the time! I am planing to buy 630. Even nokia XL has best features rather then 630 at same price.
  • I can't say I agree... I just dont like the look and feel of the OS, its slower as well. Also, Microsoft's support of it is still unknown... Mmm.. Problem imminent?
  • I just don't see why anyone would buy an XL... why not just get a standard Android phone?  The whole thing was just silly... perhaps if there wasn't a sale to MS imminent it wouldn't have been completely foolhardy, but once that is factored in there is just no reason for XL to exist.
  • Windows phone all the way ;)
  • That's how I like it!
  • ONE OS in all devices
  • What would help is for Microsoft to make a huge push to have all services available and useable in as many markets as possible. Xbox music and Video, Maps, Cortana, Local scout etc etc. A tall task, but this is a critical component to adoption rates.
  • Totally agree
  • My god you are right! Bing in Greece is hopeless and for chrissakes after three years you still can't buy music from xbm (or Zune before that). If Apple and Google can do it then Microsoft can too.
  • Agree,and the strong points of android google services is that they count with some local services in any country a thing that Microsoft still being so USA centered
  • Nice story....bring back Whatsapp in the store and maybe it will happen.
  • This
  • WPC and Paul doing the work of bringing in developer support... Which should be ideally done by MS and joe b.... This article had very defeatist approach... Its like please devs please make an app for us... But this is what it has come to... WP is alive only because MS has loads of cash to burn... webOS died a painful death even tho it was better smoother than iOS and Android then. I like my 1320 and will never go back to droid but the thing is till when will we be waiting for all the apps...
  • Still, I don't know, Android is so much more popular than windows phone... Whenever I ask people to take a picture with my phone they don't know how. :|
  • When I had a friend ask me how to take a picture with my phone and I told him to press the camera button like a regular dslr, he was like "no way! That's friggin awesome" he's getting a 1520 at his upgrade in a few months instead of an S5. I convinced him with 8.1
  • Cool!!
  • They SAY that then they go and upgrade without telling you, and get an android (then complain a few months later). I'm done giving ppl advice
  • Yeah, I'm not telling anyone what to get. It's too personal - some people can't live without Candy Crush, and if so they should get something else. Some people don't want any apps but a great camera, then they should get a Nokia. But they'll have to figure that out themselves... I tell them how much I like my WP, then it's up to them.
  • Just tell them the pros and con's of every platform like I do and your solid, you don't have to decide for them just give them and idea of each and move along
  • +This happens a lot
  • Should've sold him on a Lumia 1020 lol
  • Good work friend.
  • Yeah, I've had the same... "uh... just press the camera button..." They seem confused. LOL. It's easy to learn though. And with WP8.1 devices, there might not be one anyway. :/
  • Your friends don't know how to push a button?
  • My thoughts exactly...
  • Without WhatsApp, even BlackBerry shall surpass Windows Phones....
    Why is WhatsApp team doing this to us.
  • Facebook
  • Yeah, they are having their share of sadistic pleasure :/
  • Yeah even Samsung's Tizen will surpass WP.
  • That'll never happen. Highly unlikely. Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • They're working closely with Microsoft to bring it back to the store. Patience is virtue.
  • Patience... Established since 2011...
  • LOL! I see what you did there ;)
  • Patience has been around since the beginning of time.
  • WhatsApp is dead (For Now) Facebook used the No Means No Oy whip too hard on team WhatsApp.
  • Hahaha...
  • Waiting for the windows phone market to flurish and grow with sunstainablity and consistancy in future. Our future is all the way bright and u guess with 8.1 the time is right! M just waiting for android to cry and slack. All the way, the decline is ahead!
  • Your comment could've been in a rap battle against android! :P :D
  • It has too. It is threatning apple and windows phone. Lol. Also we have advanced technological weapons in terms of premimum features which even today we can defeat android and apple, both. But, we are lacking in marketing and awarness as internal factor and lack of app selections and choises are vitally affecting as external factor. That's it! My friend the sustaninavliry and future of windows phone will be determined through strong unity and enthusiasm of developers, who are lethargic or not taking it seriously.
  • Sob sob... too emotional for me... I generally talk this way when I am talking about my fav football team... Manchester United... Yeah football not soccer...
  • It seriously pisses me off when i think about devs not taking wp seriously! -.-
  • LOL.
  • 8.1 brought head turning changes, people are now noticing what the OS can bring. I imagine windows phone 9 will start to turn the tables. I'm sticking with wp to the end, really love the platform and the potential or can bring.
  • Hmm... Another major update... Will my old trusty NL920 able to upgrade to it? I hope early WP8 phones support won't end that quick.
  • All wp8 phones should be able to update to wp9 as I don't see MS building a new kernal from scratch. Plus they cant afford to have another wp7 "situation".
  • Yeah... not going to happen AT ALL.
  • And get operator billing to India. Nokia Ovi store had it.
    Indians are quite scared of using Credit Cards online
  • If operator billing comes to India, am sure we will be 2nd or 3rd in that revenue generation list... Come on MS... Do it...
  • Not just India other emerging markets as well as most of these market generally use pre-paid services (pay-as-you-go) and not post paid (monthly contracts) are not the norm. As many don't have that much disposable income.
  • Oy!
  • I'm using my bank card (debit card) to purchase app.
  • My yesbank mastercard debit card doesn't work... I use my friend's icici bank visa debit card it works... Kinda wierd...
  • Oo, Totally weird. I thought all debit card can do..
  • That depends on your bank. Some banks don't allow online payments with their debit cards.
  • My card works perfectly fine with other indian websites...
  • I just became a Windows phone developer yesterday. Published my first app for free :D
    Why I chose WP over lagdroid and iOS?
    1-Only a $19 registration fee.
    2-Apps are extremely easy to develop specially apps made by windows phone appstudio.
    3-app certification was quite easy for me, got it certified within an hour.
    4-apps updated extremely quickly, updated my app today and got it certified within an hour.
    5-MS is quite supportive of of devs.
    6-just like Paul said, the store is not saturated as compared to the other platforms so my app had a chance not to be drowned in thousands of useless apps like in play store.
  • And did I mention,I got registered as a dev for free? Didn't have to pay even the $19 fee thanks to DVLUP and published my app for free in 191 countries simultaneously :D
  • so uh... which app is it?
  • He doesn't intend to advertise it here it seems. Or is he... Well, whatever, not that I care.
  • You are right,I don't want to advertise :)
  • Sorry if you got the wrong impression but my intent wasn't to advertise my own app.I was just explaining the why I chose WP development over the competition :)
  • That is great to hear! Good luck. :)
  • Thankyou :)
  • Good luck!
  • Nice one. Hope your apps do well :)
  • Thanks,after 2 reviews, it had a 4.5 star rating yesterday ^_^ :)
  • Has the WPCentral team ever done an article whereby it os ok for app developers to post and advertise their apps? If you're reading this anyone at WPC give it a shot and keep our devs happy :D
  • That's more of a WMPU thing, but devs can share their apps in the forums and we might take notice. Or they can contact us directly, as is often the case.
  • Nah,I don't think my app is worthy enough to get the attention of WPCentral :p
  • Lol,I wouldn't agree to that,then all the comments might be spam :p WPC is ok as it is :p (y)
  • congratulations!!    I wish you success....
  • I m wondering why Ms did not start promoting wp8.1 apps and so DVLUP programs...Lumia 630 is out and it is I think the best ever Device from a price/features point of view for emerging markets...
  • I get it that android is a mess but still, that is why it is popular. I still see no reason to the overall problem: that 20:1 ratio or sometimes worse. MSFT needs to push the OS everywhere by making smart concesions around th customization, just as they did with windows. WP remains too locked down. Even for free, which was indeed a big barrier, there wasn't a flood of devices as predicted. Maybe it is too early, but I don't see samsung, HTC, LG, and others suddenly offering a WP variant of most devices regardless of developed vs undeveloped markets. The strategy seems to have failed: price alone won't do. There are times when you have to dig in (such as the store must be present) and times when it is best to let OEMs do their thing (such as letting them customize the start screen just as windows 7 and 8 let you). Off course many resist this under the notion that they rather have an OS nobody cares, but it is consistent than a popular OS like windows, which can be a bit different depending on which OEM you get. There is a balance and MSFT remains too much in the apple land of lockdown, and it has paid dearly with IDC forecasting a mediocre 6% by 2018 basically after 7 years or so in the market. This article points out there is a good opportunity here but google won't stay still and certainly MSFT should actively seek it instead of doing the same thing year after year and wondering why OEMs don't want WP and consumer don't want WP. Just a thought: try something that has worked for the other guy, that has worked for windows, and that will probably work for you instead of the same thing you did last year.  
  • I'm trying to understand what you are saying... what is it you are suggesting?  What does "WP remains too locked down." mean, for example? Manufacturers CAN customize WP8.1 just like they can Windows, by providing different apps and different initial layouts. They can not "skin it" like Android, but frankly I don't think that's an issue in sales at all. And I don't see what it has to do with the app revenue.
  • Don't bother trying to understand, he hasn't said anything...
  • Stryker, your comments on this article haven't added anything to the discussion. Please be more polite and constructive.
  • Good job Paul, I like how you are trying to reinforce civility.   It's pretty much a dying art.   Unfortunately the internet is desensitizing people to be very uncivil.    People have so normalized trolling and such to where an attempt to foster civility will seem bizarre to them. I am fifty three and with a concentration in philosophy, so I feel particulary alien in this environment.
  • Thanks B23h. It can be discouraging, seeing so many people act like asses online. I just try to focus on the intelligent and positive comments we get from people.
  • Sorry about that.
  • No worries. Thank you for apologizing. :)
  • Sorry about that.
  • I think phone manufacturers should get differentiated not by the color if certain icon or if when flip the phone does any effect type matrix, should be differentiated by hardware quality and durability,I migrated from Android to WP because got sick of slow devices and senseless layers of customization which makes a nice hardware get laggy as hell,also by example Nokia have not done any tv ad in Chile by example showing that the phone have a for free GPS map which can download from the GPS app, thing that in android must pay by the NDRIVE and is awful the GPS map by example,also instead of say morons or etc should with strong argument say why windows phone is better than Android and IOS in terms of features and functionality.
  • I think you're talking about what would happen if Dell or Acer could chagne windows at the source code level. That is not what I'm talking about. Windows is differentiated from OEM to OEM by basically adding and modifying it at the API level. The benefit is that the OS can always be cleaned up and it is upgrade ready. There is no reason MSFT cannot offer the same advantage in WP, after all, they invented and perfected the system in windows itself. One doesn't have to go all android to allow the OEMs a bit more liberty.
  • that is one kind of customization but not all that can be achieved in windows which has a very mature API which can chang the shell itself. For example, if you buy some of the more recent ultrabooks, they ship with a "start menu" replacement. Regardless of why you think this is good or not (it can be removed) it is an example of customization via APIs. This is far beyond the kind of customization which you suggest: basically pre-installed apps, and tile arrangements, both of which aren't API based but customizations on the installation image. You need to realize that windows has had hooks into the UI to customize every aspect of it in a non destructive way. For example, stardock uses them to basically make windows look like OSX if it wants. Yet that customization remains fully upgradeable as it doesn't involve changing the source code. MSFT pretty much delivered big with windows in its customization options. If it can deliver just as big for phones it will allow OEMs to customize their experience without needing to support a different code base. This translates into an easier upgrade experience and allows any user to turn the OS back to stock at any time post purchase.
  • "Even for free, which was indeed a big barrier, there wasn't a flood of devices as predicted. Maybe it is too early, " It is indeed way too early to tell. However, we have seen a big number of new OEMs join and I am sure that both WP8.1 in itself and it becoming free were the big too factors, besides MS's more consistent push.
  • I still believe that Microsoft and Nokia became famous because of me lol I just think it that way cause since I got Lumia 520 soo many Lumia devises came and Microsoft got serious
  • I agree with you.
    Listen you all, this guy made WP famous. We must all worship Prabhudev and give him a Surface 3!
  • Now they just need a video streaming service to combat YouTube.
  • Vimeo.
  • Seems very interesting
  • No matter how hard you push it WPC, that ain't gonna happen PERIOD by the time Microsoft will get a good mobile OS, Google will be out with fully featured robots and I guarantee it.
  • WP 8.1 is a good mobile OS...
  • It is good, but not good enough. Plus, new/popular games are basically never released on the WP platform. Right now, I have almost 500 games on my android wishlist, and I'm sure that 99% of those games will never come to WP.
  • 500 games on your Android wishlist??? I don't know whether to feel sorry for you. There's more to life you know...
  • And certainly better than anything from Google... Was helping my wife's sister with her Galaxy S3 last week and got a reminder why I left Android and never going back.
  • i just noticed that the Moto x shown here has wp central engraved on it O.o is there a way I could do that on my phone too? Nokia Lumia 820
  • I believe that one can customize your Moto when buying it.   I wish MM would do the same, but we shall see.   I expect the only possibility to engrave your 820 is to find an engraver and pay them to do it.
  • This is very encouraging news for Windows Phone! Thanks for the detailed and insightful article.
  • Wow, great article! I never say this but this is very good!
  • Thank you very much. I'm glad you liked it. :)
  • I hope this post is there on all mobile nations... Specially androidcentral...
  • Android Central is not really the right place for this article. I do write gaming stories for them though.
  • Yep, great article Paul, very well written. I like these in-depth articles. WPCentral appears to be posting too many short, not so newsworthy articles recently in my opinion (although I know that's Mobile Nations' new strategy). Personally, I prefer to see more major news and these type of articles you've just done. Keep up the good work :)
  • Thanks man. Long articles are my style. :-)
  • +620
  • Hi
  • Shame on wp.. Didn't solve d availability of whatsapp on store.. And praising themselves that wp Is best..
  • Bad timing bro :D
    Now Whatsapp is available as well as with lots of new features ;-)
  • Don't mention China. Windows phone lacks far behind in terms of usability in China. Top apps are missing, everyday apps are missing, not customised to suit Asian user habits etc. That's why wp even retrenched in China to a ridiculously low 0.7%. Microsoft can not ignore China market like this any more. Come on Microsoft, if you continue to focus on western market and don't push for Chinese market, you may miss both eventually
  • My friend works as Manager on CLARO here, he always tries to sell a Windows Phone (most of the time 625 and 520), but the very first thing that users asks it's sort of "I never heard about this Windows Phone, are all the apps available (WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter etc ... ) ? A LOT of costumers simply give it up, even if you say that issue it's temporarly. I really mean it ... A LOT of users. Yeah, will be great to see WP growing around here in Brazil, but general users (emergent markets) want things like a good WhatsApp, Facebook, CANDY CRUSH (yes sucks I know) etc ... WP it's a GREAT OS but developers seems to have a "apprehension" about it.
  • That's sad.
  • There are issues with some things simply not being possible on WP (not easily anyway), and code sharing being limited. Luckily, more and more multi-platform solutions have emerged, especially for games. Personally, I wish success for almost anything not Android, since such dominance is not good for the market. I'd like to see success especially for Sailfish and Ubuntu, as they are so easy to develop for.
  • For some reason I can't edit, so I'll just reply to myself: here you can see examples of some of the things that make things difficult in WP-land:
  • Biggest reason for developers losing out on revenue in Android is because it's very easy to sideload paid applications and install files of these are easily found. In emerging markets, no one would pay for something they could easily get for free - this is why WP haters always complain "most apps in WP store are paid..." - in reality many android apps are paid too, but it's very easy to get them for free.
  • Actually on Lagdroid, the devs are losing money just because of the 3rd party stores that they're selling cracked apps.
  • Lagdroid...gah so original
  • Well Nokia was losing money (about 30$ per device) with every Lumia sold. That's kinda worse.
  • i am telling you,there are sites which are offering cracked apps of wp8. CRACKED APPS FOR WP8
  • Yes, but it's a lot less common. On Android, anyone can load an APK (an executable app file) without modifying or unlocking the OS.
  • i know, most people don't know about unlocking wp and don't prefer to do it in countries like india because "very busy". and most in these countries like to have cracked apps for android users. actually indians want all the apps for free( i have noticed it on wp's indian store;people asking every paid app for free). when i told my friends that you can unlock a wp, they were surprised like "what the fuck are you talking about?". that is the situation,but that can change quickly
  • It's much harder to sideload on Windows Phone though. Without a custom ROM (which can only be done on Samsung WP's) you can only sideload 1 app free if you go through AppStudio, and only ~5 apps if you're a registered developer ($20 pay online)
  • there is a google project called 'xap deployer' by which it can sideload two apps for free on any windows phone. i have not tried more than two apps,but i think it may be possible to sideload more apps for free.
    see google is again denting on the reputation of microsoft. by the way i sideloaded them on my lumia 520,but i have sideloaded only free apps like temple run 2(when it was not available for 512 mb ram devices) and subway surfers
  • Could ;)
  • Wow, seeing that side-by-side shot at the end of the Android home screen and the Windows Phone home screen reminded me of one of the reasons I switched over. I guess I hadn't seen a picture of the Android OS in a while but holy buckets is it ugly.
  • I know right? It's almost as if you can't customise the Android homescreen to look anyway you want.
  • Launcher dude.
  • I believe he was being sarcastic
  • You can empty a trash can and rearrange the refuse any way you'd like, but in the end it's still a pile of garbage.
  • Silly comparison since Android has about a million more apps and games than Windows Phone. Oh, but they don't have Xbox Achievements so I guess they're garbage... Not.
  • I was an Android user for years, on both phone and tablet. Its app selection is its forte, but its UI and performance were severely lacking, particularly the latter. Windows Phone/Windows RT just run way smoother on lesser hardware. The core experience is way more important to me than having extra apps to choose from.
  • Sorry, it sounded like you were saying that the apps were a pile of garbage. Certainly WP does perform better, although the Android tablet I use (EVGA Tegra Note) performs very well too. The process for deleting apps involves a senseless number of steps on Android, though. That gets on my nerves.
  • Sorry for the confusion. Definitely wasn't talking about the apps. Apps and games on Android are definitely more plentiful and, even for the apps that Windows Phone has equivalents of, the Android/iOS versions are usually more feature-rich and more frequently updated. (That's actually the biggest reason I nag Microsoft so much about Xbox gaming on WP: I think it's the only way they can differentiate themselves from iOS/Android because they are years away from getting parity). My garbage reference was about the OS itself: my experience with it compared to my experience with Windows Phone is that Windows Phone runs much better. Both my Android phone and Android tablet became unusable after a year. Haven't had that problem at all with my Windows Phone or Windows RT tablet. My original comment about aesthetics was simply meant to convey that, having been away from Android for a year, I find Live Tiles much more pleasing to the eye than the Android icons, which now seem outdated and unappealing to me.
  • No worries. I agree with you there - WP tiles are prettier. :)
  • You must have not used an Android in years then. I have an HTC One M8 and is it by far the smoothest phone I have ever used. I just got the Nokia Icon and I can definietly confirm that the HTC One M8 is noticably smoother, 2 months in, than a my brand new Icon. I have had Android since the HTC Hero way back when btw. So I do know of the lag problem that USED to be apparent.  The HTC One M8 has the fastest response time of any flagship phone now-a-days however. Look up "HTC M8 response time" for proof.     
  • I used both an Android phone and tablet up till 1 year ago. They started out fine and soon became a sluggish mess. I've heard the same tales from other users. An HTC One M8 is a very good phone--high end specs. Try using Android on a mid- to low-spec device, then use a Windows Phone on a  mid- to low-spec device. The Windows Phone will run circles around it. That's my point: you need a phone with a quadruple quad-core processor and 80 terabytes of RAM to make it run smoothly. Anything less than that and it's a nightmare. This is not the case with Windows Phone.
  • As a gamer, my Android screen has many compelling games we can't get on Windows Phone. I also don't find it very ugly, not that I've done anything to spruce it up other than install a Pac-Man theme. But it's all a matter of preference.
  • Thanks, great article! I hope American developers take notice. But I'd like to know how this affects corporations that develop apps for their own businesses, like banks, department stores etc. They don't count on app revenue, do they? So is this irrelevant for them? These are apps that many people really want (though they shoudl IMO be done with mobile websites instead...) and many are missing on WP. Where do they fit in here? Maybe this could be a topic for a separate article?
  • That's what I call an article... Loving it... Prospects are quite positive but seriously we have good authors for wp central
  • Aww, very kind of you to say. :)
  • WP needs Apps
  • Wtf do we do here? We try to make apps. It's not easy. Go buy visual studio, dev account make and publish 15 apps then you'll have rights to say this, ok? We're working on apps. It's incredibly hard to make real coded apps (app studio and touchdevelop excluded).
  • Actually. develop an app it was easy for me, I bought visual studio for 14€ and I'm fine now.
  • Nice read but I'm still not sure MS can beat Android...hopeful though
  • This is just wishful thinking, bordering on being unrealistic.
  • People said that about Android taking as big of a bite out of Apple as they did. What the author said seems very feasible. One of the biggest hindrances Windows Phone has had in North America and Europe, to a lesser degree, is market saturation. By the time WP became a respectable OS, most people had already bought into competing ecosystems. Leaving their current platform for WP requires leaving behind already purchased apps, in-app purchases, and cross-device integration (where applicable). That isn't as much of a problem in those markets. Further, they don't have to worry about legitimate competition from Apple. You're right, they may not necessarily 'beat' Android, but they'll like come a lot closer in those places them they ever will here.
  • Could
  • I personally don't care about thousands of apps or games. I have everything I need on WP. Since 8.1, it has improved dramatically. The main reason that I bought a WP Lumia is the same reason that keeps me loving lag/stutter/force close.
  • My thoughts exactly. I had Droid Rzr (stolen from me) and Iphone 4S before Lumia 620. I bought L620 just as a cheap WP platform/Nokia test (my last Nokia was awesome 3310) as my thinking was that if I don't like either L620 or WP, I can just get rid of it.
    Here we are, almost 1 year now and I can't believe I am going to say this, but I could not be happier with this middle range device! Specs are decent, screen is nice, device size is perfect for my pocket (Razr was pain in the  ...s). Also if I break it (I tend to drop devices quite often), it is not the end of the world as L620 is very affordable, unlike my previous smartphones. Lastly I've found 95% of the apps/games I used to use while on Android/IOS, which really made me a happy WP user.
  • If you get the IP54 protected shell for your 620, it takes even more beating than the stock shell. I have one as a backup device and as I have a dual SIM for my mobile subscription, I can just leave my 925 on the desk and pick up the 620 when going somewhere where the phone is at a greater risk. So far the now dust and splashproof (thanks to the protective shell) my 620 has been dependable on conditions where I wouldn't like to risk my 925.
  • The 20:1 could be attributed to the fact that there are 20 androids for every one windows phone in carrier stores and just about anywhere else that sells phones. That needs to change.
  • I am not sure about other emerging markets, but in China, WP is a hard sell against Androids. Simply, there are SO many local OEMs producing cheap knock off phones, each tied in with its own version of services and counterfeit apps.  Google has no control over how its OS been used. OEMs love it because they make all the money from selling the phones to taking cuts from apps.  And it is not the same case with WP, where MS controls the look, app, services, every aspect of the OS.  It is not a fair game. 
  • Yeah, it's tough to beat someone that just steals stuff and sells it. Oh well. Doesn't matter if they are number one in sales, if they can be number one in profitability.
  • Windows Phone wont beat android anywhere really. People prefer open operating systems with android you can change the theme. Change the keyboard change basically anything with windows phone you cant do anything. I do own a windows phone im using it now and I do love it but when my contract runs out im not ruling out switching to android.
  • This comment sounds like you don't own a windows phone at all.
  • We were playing logo quiz today on a samsung pad. Even that was slow...
  • Do you realize that the average smartphone user has no clue that they can customize a phone besides moving icons around and putting up a blurry background picture of their child/spouse? I realize that having WP not be as customizable as Android in the default areas of keyboard and dialers is no fun for you but that is a true blue nerd wish right there. It isn't what the people on the street know or care about. Remember, these are the same people who can barely work Windows.
  • Yup, that's what average people do with their Android phone
  • I agree with most of what you said, but I don't know that its necessarily the case that the 'average' user prefers open source to the degree of Android. A lot of Android users don't know that they can do most of that stuff, and there's also the large segment of the population, where they're willing to waste the money, who'd rather buy a completely closed iPhone.
  • Wouldn't you prefer the option to do it?
  • Yes and no. On the one hand my geeky side likes the idea; but truth be told, sometimes I really just want something functional and practical out of the box without having to put any thought into whether the keyboard I'm using is the best available, etc. One of the areas that I've come to like Windows Phone for is just that. The OS is very stable and competent as is, as is iOS. Where i put it above iOS is that while it offers basic Microsoft services for music, movies, cloud, etc., it doesn't force to you use them or to pay them for music you want to listen to on your phone. This is all highly subjective, of course, and it'll be different strokes for different folks, but that's something about WP that works for me.
  • While options are nice, it's more of a "been there done that" thing in my case. I used to play around with Windows Mobile and I would spend days customizing the stuff out of it. However, after a while I got married and had a child and the desire to waste that much time wasn't there anymore. I got tired of menus within menus and just wanted a phone that was powerful yet straightforward (and wasn't Apple). Hence, WP is the place for me.
  • Amen.
  • This.
  • You make fair points and I love the uniqueness of windows phone that's why I decided to get one. I'm just saying I can't do with windows phone what I could with android. Like clicking a youtube link from facebook or twitter it immediately opens in the browser where as on android you can select the app you want it to open with. Just little things like that is what windows phone needs
  • Windows Phone does have that ability, but there's no YT app in the store. If I text you, for example: "fb:pages?id=55220721214" you can click on it and it would open the FB app and send you to the desired page. It's called Uri schemes.
  • As an android fanboy with all operating systems I have to say most everyone I know with an android phone just uses the phone as is..I am a nerd so I like to customize the crap out of mine but that's me, not most android users.
  • Actually most westerners hate open OS's because it confuses them....
  • That's exactly the reason Nokias with symbian os (complex but feature rich os) were a hit in Asia and US was/is still with motorolas...
  • Seems faster.
  • Interesting thoughts, reachability and critical mass also needs to be considered to get a realistic picture.
  • Agreed. A lot of these predictions, whether here or by IDC and Kantar, never seem to consider the major spike that will occur when, and if, Windows Phone reaches its critical mass.
  • In Brazil: -People hate Microsoft more than Google. -Google services are usually better/faster than Microsoft´s -People do not know that Windows Phone exists -Nobody is afraid of getting scroogled.   I have no idea how they realized they could take Android here, but they will fail badly.
  • The main problem for low App revenue in India is actually the lack of support even in currently available methods A major chunk of debit cards aren't supported by either iTunes or the Google Play Store. Not sure about WP though. So even if someone is willing to buy something on them they generally aren't able to.
  • My yes bank debit card doesn't work. My friends SBI card got registered but didn't work. Other friends icici bank card worked... So just to buy moli player it was a headache...
  • As a developer, I'll never publish my apps (free/paid) on the Lagdroid OS cuz I don't want to see my apps getting cracked and be available on a 3rd party store.
  • Lagdroid? Oh yeah!
  • Hell yeah!
    WP store is the best for revenue and app security opportunities
  • That Android screen looks like a fucking disaster. It's like the MySpace of phones.
  • Hahaha.
  • No live tiles, wrecking tiny things called widgets to add to the pain and f*cking whole system programmed to drain battery offering low performance as well... Even their octa cores performance are worse than WP dual core performance...
  • I hate to admit it but that setup is pretty damn terrible lol
  • Nice one.
  • You are joking
  • He really has some valid points that indicates he's not joking.
  • Need to offer more features than competitors and at little lower price point. Front facing camera, flash, 1g ram should be standard and minimum requirements on low end phones.
  • Impressive article ever read in a while... I wish Android developers could read this too...
  • Well, the title- it's a ship-ful of wishful thinking and a boat-load of pipe dreams. It's been 2 years now and we havnt made maybe even 20% of the progress that Android in its first 2 years. The rest of the article is full of if's and but's and does make sense, however.
  • Windows phone still has some issues- 1. Bing map sucks big time in developing countries, you can't even edit/add places like google map. 2. Google search still better than bing. 3. Wi-Fi direct not available yet. 4. Ring+Vibrate is missing. 5. Can't use your phone as modem via USB 6. Native 3G video call is not supported. 7. Lack of customization ability than Android. 8. Need more sensor featured devices like Samsung does for Android. 9. Official app gap of many popular websites/organisations. 10. Still pricey than some low end (Chinese, crappy though people use those a lot) Android phones.
  • 4. Ring+Vibrate is missing. What do you mean? I have both on right now.
  • This means Vibrating whie ringing during incoming call. I always miss incoming calls while I walk in noisy environment with my phone in my pocket.
  • Thank. Yes, that's what I have on - granted, it only vibrates a couple of times when the call is first coming in. It should continue vibrating throughout, absolutely.
  • The way android widgets are customizable is shit. It leaves your own home screen awful. The thing ppl still don't but WP bcoz they don't understand wp. Super dumb ppl
  • So you're saying all the 20 in the 20:1 ratio are stupid? I don't think so boy...
  • This all looks very good in theory, but practically, it isn't happening- look how long it took to get instagram which is still in beta. The whatsapp issue is nothing short of a disaster. There's no sign of candy crush saga. If it really makes sense for devs to support WP, why aren't they all doing it. I can't believe its because of closed APIs- we all know 6tag is way better than instagram official; telegram is much better than whatsapp.
    If this theory comes true, I'll be very happy. Devs need to give WP a chance, considering there are ~80 million installed devices. Yes, its small compared to android, but they need to be convinced that it's not a small number.
    I need to get a new WP, but I can't do that till whatsapp is back in the store. Let's hope for the best.
  • At the end of the article, I state that the real opportunity right now is for small-medium developers. King is a large publisher, and unfortunately considers the Windows Phone audience beneath its notice. But the problem would go away if Microsoft would simply offer them enough money to port it over.
  • Yeah because Ms doesn't have enough money to do such a thing right?...
  • That would start a whole host of developers arm-twisting Microsoft into giving them money. Microsoft stands to gain, and I hope it does, but money would be an excuse to do something where the developer would earn anyway. I mean, King would earn from in app purchases on WP, so there is monetary incentive to develop the app even without Microsoft paying them. Where will this end? How long will developers hold Microsoft at ransom?
  • Yeah, King would earn money from porting no matter what - but they've decided it wouldn't be enough money. Big companies do that with smaller markets sometimes. And providing financial incentives to bring apps over is a common thing. It's likely that Microsoft has offered, but the two companies couldn't agree on a number.
  • The article is great but a bit on the optimistic side, still, it seems. After all, its not like those 50% of Android devices without Google Play don't have apps on them.. obtained "one way or the other" in many cases. And the title is somewhat misleading - apps alone won't make WP top Android. :) Anyway, an interesting read for sure and MS does have some great opportunities to exploit.
  • Give me candy crush first then I might agree with you.
  • Windows phone is the best but there is some but .........
  • This was a well written and thought out article. I commend the author.
  • Yeah no I don't think so!
  • I believe that it most certainly can dominate the market... (WP over Android)...
  • WP is tha best f@%k that
  • Yes, nice article! at least there's not just talk and we can see some evidences of what you're talking about. But I think it's only for android devs to read. Me, I just develop for Windows Phone already :) (you can search for LSDigital on the store)
  • Without WhatsApp I doubt it, and without a proper facebook, etc. But we hope
  • we want to get apple in everything . we can so we do :D
  • Hearing all this.. I want to develop apps for wp8.1 and w8.1
    Any estimate how much time it would take to start from basics...
    I just know some basics of c#
  • You'll be fine. If you ever get stuck, just remember that StackOverflow is your friend ;)
  • Thanx for the tip... :)
    Could you please tell me estimated time..??
    P.S. I m a fast learner...!!
  • If you understand the basics of classes, functions, conditionals, and loops, you can start coding right away. If not, pick up a C# -book, or read an online tutorial, and you should be able to get going in a week or two. It might not be too bad to learn C# while coding apps either. WP8 development requires Windows 8, and if you want to use the emulator instead of unlocking your phone and using it to test apps, you'll need Windows 8 Professional. There's also the online tool, I have no idea how that works, but it might be a good way to start quickly.
  • Thankyou for a nice article Paul.
  • Great article. Check out Hong Kong - 2.5 credit cards each in a population of only 7 million...  
  • India, dead zone because if too much red tape.
  • Small number of Windows Phone users compared to Android. But WP users buys apps.
  • That was an interesting article.   Thanks, Paul. I am not an Apple guy, in fact I have a very strong antipathy towards them and have never owned an Apple product.   That said I respect their intelligence and their design aesthetic.   I just can't imagine that they will sit out the competition in the emerging markets.    Even though they do not have a low end Apple phone, I intuit that they will enter that segment of the market as well.   We will see, I do not have my ear to the ground with them and so my assumption is totally an intuitive one.
  • Windows phone is amazing....
  • Why would anyone will pay for an app when they can easily google its apk and install it for free or can use a 3rd party store to get it free. Its one of the reason people buy android.
    And this is how manufacturers sell their devices, google gets its playstore's app count increasing and developers keep on doing everything for nothing.
  • Now that we have files app too .. They cant keep us down saying you can't see your other files if you use your phone as thing drive. Face it you android virus suckers ..its virus free awesome WP on the spree here
  • I would like to question the reliability of that data you got there. Myself, I can speak from Slovakia. Population is 4.8m, credit cards in numbers are 6.2m (according to research of VISA and Mastercard from early 2013) and therefore that credit card penetration is way, way off. Just within my family (4 peeps) we have 8 cards. They might do a new research.
  • Ah, you should tweet @fortumo about that since it's their data.
  • The info on access to payment about Nigeria is very inaccurate. Recent innovations in the banking system has made it mandatory for all bank account holders to be issued atm/debit cards at the very least.  A large proportion of these cards (especially those linked to MasterCard and Visa) can be used for internet payments. A Gallup poll conducted in 2010 showed that at least 40% of Nigerians have a bank account. This means the figures in the table are definitely problematic and don't represent reality.
  • While Android fragmentation is indeed a major issue, I doubt that the majority Android app devs care about app revenue. The Android app market differentiated itself from the iOS app model because it contained far more free apps with in-app advertising. From what I understand devs can actually make more money with ads than by selling apps for a buck or two. I hope this does make a difference as aWinPhone fan who wants to see more apps, but I doubt it will.
  • Since when was Nroway, Sweden, and Denmark emerging markets? 
  • The US and France are on there too, so the list isn't meant to show ONLY emerging markets. It's just credit card penetration across world markets, including emerging ones.