Windows Phone is great, so why aren't more people buying them?

Windows Phone is great, so why aren't more people buying them?

Summary: Lately, I have been using the HTC One X, One S, and Samsung Galaxy Note. These devices have fantastic hardware specifications and they overwhelmed me a bit so I was having second thoughts about my HTC Radar 4G and the Windows Phone platform.


Lately, I have been using the HTC One X, One S, and Samsung Galaxy Note. These devices have fantastic hardware specifications and they overwhelmed me a bit so I was having second thoughts about my HTC Radar 4G and the Windows Phone platform. I then listened to Joshua Topolsky on The Vergecast and read a few articles online questioning the long term success of Windows Phone and asking if Microsoft should just give up on the smartphone market. I thus felt the need to put together another pro-Windows Phone blog post after putting my SIM back into my HTC Radar 4G and realizing Windows Phone really is my preferred smartphone platform and I can't help but believe it truly is the third viable modern platform.

The Verge Lumia 900 review and Windows Phone software

I see there are over 2500 comments on Joshua's Nokia Lumia 900 review and it is clear that there are some passionate smartphone users out there. I found the review to be very well written and Joshua was clear that the design of the Lumia 900 is fantastic. Great design definitely has a place in the smartphone market.

I completely agree with Joshua that Nokia dropped the ball with the camera on the Lumia 900. They had the opportunity to blow us away with a high quality camera, but it looks like HTC beat Nokia with their Titan II camera in a game that Nokia should have won easily.

The controversy in The Verge review comes up when you reach the software section and read the subtitle that reads I think it's time to stop giving Windows Phone a pass followed by statements that Windows Phone is death by a thousand cuts. I will be the first to admit that Windows Phone is not perfect and there is room for improvement, but the same can be said for Android and iOS as well. As I mentioned back when Windows Phone was first put to public testing, the philosophy upon which Windows Phone is founded is different than the iOS and Android focus on applications. The OS is designed for you to perform actions that are intuitive and natural without you having to think about a specific application, open that application, and then carry out your business. I know I am much more efficient when using a Windows Phone device and with four out of five phones in my family now running Windows Phone I can tell you that my family agrees. I have also seen a friend's family go entirely to the Nokia Lumia 710 Windows Phone and absolutely love the experience.

I understand that after nearly two years an operating system can get a bit dull, but I don't see how iOS is more efficient at all. I can understand Android with ICS being efficient if you have widgets setup and I personally am loving Android at the moment too, but I still see Force Close warnings on new Android devices while my HTC Radar 4G is rock solid and stable. We all have different preferences and needs and I value Joshua's opinion in regards to Windows Phone.

Where's the cutting edge hardware?

IMHO, most of the first generation Windows Phone devices were basically Android devices that manufacturers assembled with a new operating system and they were nothing to get overly excited about. Reviewers around the Internet agree the Nokia Lumia 900 is probably one of the best pieces of hardware and I understand that Windows Phone doesn't need quad-core processors and super HD displays. However, I do want to see some manufacturers make some efforts to bring out fantastic hardware. It looks like the HTC Titan II may be a winner as well, but I want more for other carriers.

Where's the carrier support?

AT&T easily rules the Windows Phone world here in the U.S. with T-Mobile in second with low to mid-level devices. Sprint and Verizon each only have a single first generation piece of hardware and Microsoft cannot hope to gain any appreciable market share with such lame carrier support. It's been a few months since WP 7.5 was launched and we don't even hear rumors of Sprint or Verizon getting any updated hardware. How can you have the largest carrier in the U.S. with a single product that is over a year old and promote your OS as something people should buy?

Apps: What, 70,000 isn't enough for you?

I used to keep up with and write a weekly Windows Phone Wednesday article and if you go back to these you can see I documented the progress as Microsoft passed 5,000, then 15,000, then 50,000, and more apps. There are now so many apps I have a difficult time staying focused and writing these articles. I understand that many key apps are missing and have read some recent articles that do a good job of documenting some of these glaring omissions. You can check out Andrew's article on business apps compared between the three platforms. However, as I mentioned earlier, I don't think you always need apps you see on iOS or Android to get the job done on Windows Phone. Mary-Jo wrote about this in here recent article on the app conversation. I also believe that most people use 10-15 key apps every single day and if they really looked at their app usage I don't think Windows Phone is as problematic as it is often made out to be.

Looking through my iPhone 4S that has about 100 apps too many loaded and my Android devices the only apps I really miss on Windows Phone are Words with Friends (AlphaJax is a superior game though, but needs to open up to iOS and Android users), Kobo Books, and an HP 48G calculator emulator. All of my key apps are there, including Kindle, YouVersion Bible, Evernote, ESPN ScoreCenter, Facebook, Twitter (Rowi), Flixster, Google Voice, TripIt, Poynt, RunKeeper, Skype (beta), Spotify, and USAA Bank.

Wait for Apollo or get going now?

I hear people saying that Apollo will be the Windows Phone version that makes things happen, but we have seen very little about what is even going to be in Apollo so that sounds more like someone's wishful thinking. Microsoft has a solid platform now and has worked hard to get developers on board. It is time for them to focus on hardware partners and carriers and get some real momentum behind the platform. They have the funds to stick it out for the long run and according to Mary-Jo Foley, "I can say with near certainty there won’t be any white flags raised in Redmond any time soon." As I continuously say, you need to try Windows Phone to appreciate it and people who do seem to really enjoy the platform. Now, when can I get a sexy new HTC Windows Phone device?

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Topics: Mobility, Android, Telcos, Software, Operating Systems, Nokia, Microsoft, Google, Apps, Windows

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  • You didn't answer your own question...

    I've been a windows phone 7 fan since they launched, I keep trying to convince everyone around me to give it a shot but the phones just aren't "sexy" enough...
    I also develop apps for iOS and Android and I have to say these are inferior to Windows Phone 7 both as consumer products and as development platforms...
    I just don't get it either... so I will just asume it's a marketing thing and be happy with my phone.

    I would have love to see what would have happened if instead of calling it Windows Phone 7 it would have been branded Xbox Phone or XPhone...
    • It's the retail experience

      The Nokia Lumia 900 is selling well. This is so in large part, because Nokia has paid attention to the retail experience, where other device manufacturers have not. Nokia still has a lot of work to do, but when it manages to reverse sales person bias against Windows Phone, it will be easier for other manufacturers to be successful with Windows Phone devices.
      P. Douglas
      • Free for now

        P. Douglas: "The Nokia Lumia 900 is selling well."

        The Lumia 900 is "selling" right now (but not greatly) due to the fact that it is being given away. Most people will jump at something for "free"... that is free if you don't think about a 2-year service commitment. ;-)

        But Nokia can't afford to keep giving away its Lumia 900 phones for long. At some point they will have to start making money instead of losing money. At that point, when they are priced similar to other smartphones, bargain-hunters will compare the Lumia 900 to iPhones and Android phones, and choose what other buyers are choosing.

        But even with the Lumia 900 being given away for "free", sales have not been all that great. No one lined up outside of stores on the launch weekend, and sales are already in decline.
        Harvey Lubin
      • Among other things, Lumia's hardware is lagging

        It it times slower in graphics than iPhone 4S, no Retina display, poor camer, almost ten times less choice of applications, no accessories.

        As of now WP as platform is vastly inferior to iPhone. Hence Nokia sells like 15 times less WP smartphones than Apple.

        Nokia has to move hardware forward, provide more choice of applications, and accessories.
      • Really, DeRSSS

        Slower then the iPhone? How can that be, unless you have a "special projects" iPhone straight from Apple R&D.
        William Farrel
      • Slower than most anything

        The CPU isn't bad for a single core... it's the Qualcomm Scorpion. slightly faster than an ARM Cortex A8 at the same speed, about the same as the A9 at 1.1Ghz. But the Adreno GPU is slow. It's not just slower than the iPhone 4's GPU, it's slower than the iPhone 3GS's GPU.

        However, despite popular myth , the GPU has nothing to do with regular 2D graphics speed. Sure, the GPU can do 2D blits, but they're all faster than needed to keep up.

        The GPU is for games. Apple still has the fastest GPUs in the mobile world, largely because games are a major concern. iOS is the predominant mobile gaming platform. And 3D performance is all about the hardware. So the various claims about the 900 graphics being slow are totally true. But not something that will affect everyone.

        Qualcomm seems to have given up on GPUs for now... they have always been in last place, but they're falling further behind. They're using someone else's GPUs in the new SOCs with their Krait CPU (similar to the ARM Cortex A15).
        • Where do you get your Kool-Aid?

          iOS has the fastest GPU in the mobile world? I am still laughing at your comment. Try a Tegra 3 chipset device, take off the apple goggles, and enjoy true mobile gaming greatness! I performed a quick benchmark by running Dark Meadow on an iPad 3 and an Acer Iconia a510. The a510 had nearly double the framerate of the iPad and was performing much more complex effects tasks while processing triple the polygons. That's just my own test - look at many other Tegra 3 benchmarks freely available after a quick search.
      • Simple really.......

        It really is NOT so great. That ugly playskool interface is the worst. I tried several Win phones and it was not a pleasant experience. Microsoft needs to rethink the interface if they want any chance in the mobile market, or this will be Kin 2.
        linux for me
      • Windows Phone is great, so why aren't more people buying them?

        Firstly, [i]"Windows Phone is great..."[/i] is merely your opinion, or an assertion - NOT a fact. Secondly, [i]"... so why aren't more people buying them?"[/i] - probably because they don't agree with your assertion, and have a different opinion. Of course, this makes them wrong as far as the fanboys and shills are concerned.
    • Probably not so good...

      Unless you created a branch of Windows Phone dedicated to gaming and branded that an XBOX Phone I suspect it would not do so well. It completely misses the business market and as Sony found out with their Playstation phone there isn't much interest.

      It seems most mobile phones geared for the gamer crowd don't do well.
      • Think beyond the "gamer" label

        This has been thoroughly discussed in the past. Maybe not a "X" type name but some other name than "Windows". That brings its' very own user paradigm.
      • Haaa I would not buy it because.....

        It's Microsoft and Microsoft SUCKS.

        In fact if the competition's phones were total crap, I'd still buy theirs, because it's NOT Microsoft....

        Hmmmm Linux - LOVE YOU!!!!!

        Microsoft - after decades of STUPID crapware - NOT so much.
        Wroger Wroger
      • @rhonin

        Considering WP Apollo and Windows 8 are rumored to be extremely similar (same kernel, easy porting of apps between them, similar interface), I don't think the paradigm will be that much different soon. There may come a time, perhaps more quickly than we thought, where "Phone" will be dropped altogether, and you'll seamlessly swap between the same OS on your laptop and phone.

      Here are the approximate market shares of the major carriers in the U.S.:
      AT&T @ 35%, VZW @ 33%, Sprint @ 13%, and T-Mobile and the Pre-paid carriers split the remaining 19%. People, WP is only being markets by AT&T and to a much smaller extent with T-Mobile. So, WP is only being marketed in about 40% of the carrier retail stores across the U.S. And you can make a very strong argument that, until the launch of the 900 with AT&T, WP was not pushed at all in AT&T stores. Likewise with T-Mobile until the arrival of the 710 late last year, WP was not marketed to any great extent. How could WP do well if it's not represented by 100% of the carriers? It won't, and it's that simple. MS, get Tango out the door and in the hands of all the pre-paid big boys and do your best to out flank VZW and Sprint who are literally stabbing you in the back!!!
      • I think Verizon and ATT are neck and neck

        Att counts subscribers differently than VZW.

        VZW really needs to carry WP.
      • completely agree !

        I was VZW guy, but some blatant comments against WP7 which were completely false pushed me to ATT WP, now not looking back. The OS is so good, that VZQ and Sprint will have to change their approach some day
      • Does that work for all?

        While I agree that there is a point to be made about not being available on all carriers I have to ask, is this a valid argument? In the past all we heard when it was brought up that Apple was only on AT&T was that it wasn't a valid argument? Of course I would guess even when only on AT&T and in the early days of the iPhone they sold more of them in a quarter than AT&T has sold in the 16-18 months since WP7 was released.
    • I've said this before.

      Windows Phone 7. Catchy name ... NOT! When you mention "Windows", combine it with phone. What do you think?

      Windows is NOT cool.
      • @Player_16

        So you buy stuff just because it's cool? I don't know about you, but I buy what works. Windows Phone works.
      • Microsoft getting into airplane business

        If Microsoft made airplanes, would you fly in one ?