Android continues to skyrocket, Windows Mobile can do the same

Android continues to skyrocket, Windows Mobile can do the same

Summary: The latest Gartner data shows Android with a major increase in global market share. Microsoft has the potential to do the same given their similar roll out strategy for Windows Phone 7.


I mentioned a few bits of Android news today and we now see Gartner's latest smartphone data that shows the meteoric rise of Android over the last year from 1.8% to a whopping 17.2% with no end in sight. Symbian is down 10%, RIM is down 1%, Apple iOS is up 1%, and WM is down 4.3%. The overall smartphone market has grown significantly over the past year from 41 million to 61.6 million so there was significant growth in the market. This latest data shows me that there is real potential here for Microsoft to make a similar comeback with the launch of Windows Phone 7 (see my guide on the Technical Preview) later this year for a couple of reasons that I will explain below.

Symbian is way down because they have not had a competitive high end smartphone product for at least a year and are in transition from S60 to Symbian so product releases have been quite stagnant. RIM sales look to have been fairly steady, but companies that issue BlackBerry devices do not move as fast as consumers and some people have been waiting for BB 6. After using a BB Torch for a few days I think RIM will stay pretty flat moving forward and most likely will continue losing market share. Apple's iOS slowed down significantly, but with their once a year release this was expected. I am sure the next quarter numbers will show a rise with the successful sales of the iPhone 4. Windows Mobile has continued to lose significant market share with no OS update as we all wait for WP7.

Android is successful because they provide a compelling OS that is available on every carrier in several different form factors. There is a lot of choice for the consumer and prices have fallen to a standard of $200 for high end subsidized smartphones. Android launched on the T-Mobile G1 in late 2008 and was pretty flat for at least the first year with few devices and few carriers with Android devices. The Verizon Motorola Droid really put Android on the map and generated the kind of excitement I expected with such a powerful OS. Google has continued to update and improve the OS too.

I think Microsoft has the opportunity to do the same thing as Android with their multi-carrier support, various form factor choices, and a compelling operating system that is focused on the end user experience while still meeting the needs of enterprise customers. The latest BlackBerry 6 OS is still not very touch friendly and I think Windows Phone 7 will be more appealing to those looking for a fun device to also use for getting work done on the go. Like Android, sales may be a bit flat at first while people come back to a Microsoft product, but Microsoft is in it for the long haul and as more devices and updates appear I think sales will increase significantly.

Topics: Microsoft, Android, Software, Smartphones, BlackBerry, Operating Systems, Mobility, Mobile OS, Hardware, Google, Windows

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • It should be interesting to see what happens

    Android is nice, but not as polished as iPhone. Win7 Phone looks nice, but we'll have to see what the final product is like.

    If they update quickly with quality features/update, Microsoft could do very well.
    • Yes, the launch could be very, very interesting.

      About as interesting as the Kin Launch!!!!!!!!
      • RE: Android continues to skyrocket, Windows Mobile can do the same

        Kinda like that OpenMoko phone? That's right, your saying who? Exactly!
        Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Android continues to skyrocket, Windows Mobile can do the same

      @otaddy Android is way batter than Ifone :/
  • RE: Android continues to skyrocket, Windows Mobile can do the same

    I've held off getting a smart phone, waiting for the Windows Phone 7 to be released. I'd love to see this OS, in a form factor as smart looking as the new Droid 2.
  • WP7 looks very promising

    Based on the WP7 apps that I've seen on YouTube, WP7 looks very promising. WP7 apps appear to be the slickest smartphone apps around, and they are definitely much richer than the competition. I don't want to jinx anything, but WP7 is looking very good. I hope MS doesn't take anything for granted, and hopefully after driving a lot of value into the WP7 ecosystem, it can increase its licensing fees for the OS to at least $40/copy - which is not even 10% of the cost of many smartphone handsets.
    P. Douglas
    • The only stuff on YouTube shows crap

      Seriously, if you are impressed by the crap showing in YouTube ... you have very low standards of expectation.

      So far, all I have see is:
      #1- WinPho7 OS with an UI about the same as the failure called KIN.
      #2- A few games that are just the same as what is already on the market.
      #3- Apps that are not new or in anyway impressive.
    • It is nice to see innovation in the smartphone industry

      @P. Douglas
      MS has done a fantastic job of the UI. They simply need to get a couple of their other, more basic ducks in a row and they will have a device that is worthy of being a hit on their hands. Unfortunately, MS can screw up a good thing better than anyone else. The Zune was a device that was worthy of being a hit and look at what MS did with it. :(
    • The Kin looked very promising too.

      • RE: Android continues to skyrocket, Windows Mobile can do the same


        What was "promising" about Kin?

        The TV ads were enticing dumb kids to travel to meet their Facebook 'friends'. The only promising thing about that was the newspaper sales on the strength of missing kids headlines and the lawsuits their parents would bring against MS.

        It's like watching a car crash in ultra slow motion!
        Graham Ellison
  • WP7 will have all the phones/carriers like android, with much better ui and

    much better quality apps. and of course big marketing. 99.999% of buyers dont care what OS is on their phone. MS should have no problem taking a large piece of this market.
    Johnny Vegas
    • Really?? They don't care?? Then explain ...

      ... how come the Zune is a FAILURE and although there are over a 100 models of MP3 players models that are cheaper, the iPod brand continues to outsell them all by a very large margin.
      • RE: Android continues to skyrocket, Windows Mobile can do the same

        @wackoae I would agree that most people don't care what OS is on their phone and will with what works best for them. In the MP3 market the iPod works best in most buyers opinions thus the market share but if it were another brand that worked better they would go with that one not caring whose OS it is.
  • Two points

    1. Android is free, WP7 is not. Hence MS will be at a distinct disadvantage, and even more so as smart phones become commodities. The cost of the OS will matter.<br><br>2. You keep talking about the price of the phone "with a contract". I wish you would display a bit more in depth understanding and stop spouting this misleading nonsense. The price of a phone with a contract is absolutely irrelevant. The carriers could give the damn things away and just up the monthly charge by a few $. I guess that would excite you eh?<br><br>When you go to buy a car, do you get a excited because the down payment is lower? Probably not, because you still have to pay for the damn thing.<br><br>Do your readers a favor: Deal with facts and not illusions.
    • What is MS charging for WP7? They might have to give it away to even get

      manufacturers to make a phone for it.
      • RE: Android continues to skyrocket, Windows Mobile can do the same


        Then what's their income strategy? Bing Search? If that's all they want then all they'd have to do is create a fork of Android that is centered around Bing/MS rather than Google. That would be much quicker, easier, and cheaper, plus they would compete better against Apple because there would not be yet another set of apps to buy if you get another phone with a different OS.
        Michael Kelly
    • Price with contract is primary for US buyers

      @Economister People in the US primarily buy their phones with a contract and only those extreme enthusiasts like me pay full price so price with a contract is the standard to measure all phones by for US consumers. US consumers would balk at the no contract price ($500 to $600+ in many cases) and it has not shown to be a successful model here even if it turns out to be less expensive over the long run.

      I agree that people should look at the contract price where carriers are making all of their money, but that is not a price US buyers care much about at this time.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
      • The real negotiations are with the manufacturers and carriers.

        They are the ones that will not be to excited about paying royalties to Microsoft for an un-proven OS, based on a failed music player, when Android is free, known, and proven.
      • You are contributing to the problem

        @palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)

        As a journalist, I think you have a somewhat greater responsibility. You are feeding the ignorance and allowing the deception to continue. The total cost of the deal is $2000 to $3000, and you get exited about a minuscule drop in the down payment.

        There is more than enough ignorance among US consumers already. Do you really need to help make it worse? Where are your principles and integrity?
      • RE: Android continues to skyrocket, Windows Mobile can do the same

        @palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)

        I agree with DonnieBoy, its the manufacturers that get to choose what OS goes on their phones and if they get better margins using Android that will be the obvious choice, especially because Microsoft has stated that the UI cannot be significantly customised so the only edge that manufacturers will have over their competitors is the hardware, which is pretty much standard across all manufacturers, or price. So it will become a race to the bottom of the market and the phones will need to be cheap.

        I also cant see the appeal of the UI, the home screen is DULL, DULL, DULL, only 7 big, blocky, single colour UI elements that dont display much information at all. 90% of the screen space is wasted with nothing but monocolour boxes.

        If you go into the hubs you only get arts of ords it doesn mak sens to obscu t wor . I cant see how chopping off the start or end of words can be intuitive in a UI and make things easier to use.

        The 3D transitions would also get very tiring very quickly, they slow everything down and I expect they would soon become tedious when you want to get to some information quickly. I'd rather the UI respond in milliseconds than have some fancy 3D flip transition that just wastes time.