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Windows phones considered 'generic' in survey

Surveys and marketing research are important things. Without them, companies would be flying blind.

The Seattle P-I points us to the CFI Group Smartphone Satisfaction Survey [pdf link] of 1,074 people, and the boys and girls in Redmond can't be happy with the results. Results are broken down into the following devices:

  • iPhone
  • Android
  • Pre
  • BlackBerry
  • Treo
  • Other

Ouch. At least the Nokia fans our feeling our pain, as Windows Mobile and Symbian both apparently had such low mindshare as to fall into the "other" category. CFI spells it out:

Throughout this report we have focused on the main ‘branded’ smartphones like iPhone, Android, Pre, BlackBerry,and Treo. And yet there are many more smartphones in usetoday, manufactured by the likes of LG, Samsung, Motorola,and Nokia, running either the Windows Mobile or Symbianoperating system. What’s going on with these smartphones?For one thing, many users can’t identify their operatingsystem. While Android users know they have phone on theAndroid platform, most Windows Mobile or Symbian usershave no idea what operating system is running their phone.This lack of branding and awareness can only hurt thegeneric smartphone.

Obviously, that's not good. We're expecting big things from Microsoft with Windows Mobile. We'll repeat it until we're blue in the face: Microsoft has proven it can marry a compelling user interface with sleek and sophisticated hardware with the Zune HD. It for darn sure better do so with Windows Mobile 7 (and we still have to figure out where exactly the Project Pink phones fit in).

And we'll go one further and say that this is the reason Microsoft is pushing the "Windows phone" strategy so hard. Microsoft has some great manufacturers behind Windows phones. HTC. Samsung. Sony Ericsson (for now). LG. Acer. Once upon a time, Palm. But, outside of the Treo line, mindshare is still lacking, as evidenced by this survey. Will Windows Mobile 7 and the whole "Windows phone" strategy begin to turn that around? (And we say "begin" because to expect an iPhone-like response is just not rational, for smartphone manufacturer.) News at 11.

Phil is the father of two beautiful girls and is the Dad behind Modern Dad. Before that he spent seven years at the helm of Android Central. Before that he spent a decade in a newsroom of a two-time Pulitzer Prize-finalist newspaper. Before that — well, we don't talk much about those days. Subscribe to the Modern Dad newsletter!

18 Comments
  • This doesn't suprise me. Windows Mobile has been around for awhile now and many types of phones have some version on it. You can't say the same for most of the others on this list. Either they are new operating systems and/or they are only availble on one type of phone. You don't see a HTC iPhone. I am a tech manager and you would be suprised how many people can't tell you whether they have XP or Vista on their PC. Microsoft has never been branded by it's hardware, but most other smart phone operating systems are. So until their is a Microsoft phone, I think they might always struggle with this.
  • Agreed... From what I've seen more people know the HTC brand now than WinMo from what I've run into... When I had my q9h everyone asked if it was a BB.
  • I wnder if Microsoft didn't already see this prblem a while ago. Back when they officially announced WinMo 6.5 and the 'Windows Phone' names they also said that going forward all phones would be required to have a prominent 'wndows logo' button on the face of it. That way, every time you use the phone, you're looking at a windows logo right in front of you. That way they build that recognition. The same way the carriers plaster their logos all over a phone so you, and anyone one who sees your phone, knows what carrier it is and, builds that mindshare or recognition of the phone that carrier has. iPhone excluded of course.
  • spot on. i've been going on about this branding problem forever now. this is exacly why the windows button on phones is required. this is why in the last year microsoft had a job opening for a brand manager into the windows mobile team. this is why microsoft needs an 'intel inside'-like slogan, sound and logo on all adverts that features winP devices. this is why microsoft needs to maybe even think about taking out tv ads about winP that feature different devices on different carriers. but it's easy to see how that can get messy quickly if you want to be neutral with manufacturers and carriers. that's why it makes sence to actually produce a phone - as a brand ambassador. but that can get messy too fpor a company like microsoft that is mostly an isv, not a mfg.
  • This company is talking out of both sides of their mouth, listing "Treo" as an option. That could be WM or Palm OS, no direct operating system link. Centro would have been more appropriate for the old Palm OS, but not Treo. They don't have all their info straight.
  • It's even more of a kicker that Palm has put "Treo" on ice--no WM and they won't talk about WebOS. One would think WebOS would get it, but how radical will it be from say, the Pixi? What, add WiFi -poof- Treo? I hope Palm has a plan for that IP.
  • How do I contact this company to give my opinion on their exclusion of WM phones?
  • This makes perfect sense. All of the phones listed here are "Branded" smartphones. The only real WM Series would be like the HTC Touch Phones. And even those are not very common. When is the last time you saw a commercial for Windows Mobile? It is not that they excluded WM phones, I bet there are just so many WM Phones out there that there is really no one popular device that rises to the top of the list.
  • I don't know what kind of mouth-breathers participated in this survey but something is screwy here. I don't care how obtuse these people are, the windows flag with the word "Start" beside it on the screen of every WinMo is a pretty big frack'n clue. Idiots.
  • If you're using Touch FLO (HTC) or TouchWiz (Samsung) then it's not so readily obvious on the screen of the phone. And HTC and Samsung are two of the most, if not THE most, popular WinPhone manufacurers. Hence the new requirement for a physical button with the logo on the face of the phone.
  • Can't speak for Samsung but the last 3 HTC models I've used (2 with TF3D) have had a Windows flag that said start beside it onscreen. Anyone who wouldn't associate that with Windows is pretty dense, IMO.
  • The other "problem" with WM phones is that you can customize them just about any way you want - you can make it function any way you want - even (God forbid) if that is to make function like an iphone. There are just so many more options. Microsoft should capitalize on this.
  • My HTC Touch Pro 2 is not generic! :)
  • Wow a group of consumers is actually standing up for and defending MS - wow! However, I have thoroughly enjoyed my HTC Touch Pro over the past year. I have not even had an inclination to purchase an IPhone. I attribute this to not only my satisfaction with the HTC hardware - but the OS that integrated it all (WinMo 6.1). Reading my own post - I guess you all have nailed the problem - it is branding; WinMo is no where in the statement "...I have thoroughly enjoyed my HTC Touch Pro..." I guess it's implied. But we all know that's not enough in the psychology of marketing and brand identity.
  • How can anyone not know they have Windows Mobile on their phone? I just cant believe someone technologically advanced enough to use a smartphone wouldn't know that. Very strange...
  • I'm sure there are quite a few WinMo users that are anything but technologically advanced. Most people could probably pick up a device with TF3D on it and email, text, place calls and browse the net. Same folks brain would melt if they tried to tweak the registry.
  • I would agree, LOTS of users have little or no clue. They buy their unit because someone else they know has one just like it , or that looks like it. And still others buy what they end up with because they went to the local cellular store and bought the unit just because of some feature(s) that captured their fancy at the moment. I know someone who recently bought a BlackBerry Storm because, in his mind, "it is the best touch screen Verizon has until something better comes along." Many people are aware that the Storm was riddled with problems (maybe Storm 2 will be better) and would steer clear of it. Also, many people are aware the BlackBerry OS is not a MicroSoft WinMo compatible platform. But not this guy, like a lot of others. And what made him do this? Two of his inlaws bought AT&T touch screen iPhones. So he bought this Verizon touch screen so he had a touch screen also. Living entertainment, folks.
  • Who cares!
    That's a bias survey. WinMo has 15% of the world market.
    Whom they ask? Snob Seatle people?