The Windows phone has been the outcast of the smart phone play ground pretty much ever since it was released. Chucked in at the deep end, with the already established swimmers Apple and Android to contend with, the Windows phone has had to play catch up for all of its existence.
However, there are those who now believe that the Windows phone is finally coming into its own, as handsets become more attractive, and the overall appeal of the Windows mobile OS gathers pace. The other benefit of going with Windows is the integration with all other Windows devices, such as Microsoft’s other dwindling mobile offering, the Surface tablet, as well as laptops, desktops and servers used by millions of home users and businesses across the globe.
This level of integration, coupled with the loyalty/ fear of trying another operating system (depending on your level of IT literacy) will be hugely attractive to both home users and the mobile workforce, the latter of which is becoming increasingly strong in numbers, and is set to grow further.
Beside integration of devices (which Apple have done successfully for a few years now), there is the cost of the Windows phone which pleases many. The Windows phone is vastly cheaper than the iPhone, and while it lacks some of the latter’s features it makes up for it by being kinder to customers’ wallets. This attracts those that would like a good all round smart phone, without paying £550 (and above!) for it. The Windows phone also comes in cheaper than the flagship Samsung Galaxy models, which are the pick of the Android phones.
However, despite the US showing improvement, it is not all promising news for the future of the Windows phone. While market share in Europe is 10% (twice what it is in the US) many see that as a limited market, with the two main players of Android (market share of 51.6%) and Apple (market share of 40.7%) well liked across the continent. Adding to the Everest already in front of them, Microsoft are expected to get rid of the Nokia name, after acquiring their handset manufacturing partner earlier this year. Although not a game changer, the Finnish brand is still popular in Europe and this move will not help boost ratings.
China is another market (the biggest of all in the world), that Microsoft have not cracked with their phone. The big two of Apple and Android also haven’t been as popular in China as they have elsewhere, so the outlook doesn’t look particularly promising for Windows. Add to that the number of home-grown Chinese smart phone producers, and the picture does not improve for Windows, now or over the next few years.