Feeds

Windows Phone: Just as well Microsoft bought an Android maker, RIGHT?

Can nothing halt little green robot's march over mobes?

The Power of One Infographic

Comment If you believe those who are less than impressed by "Nokiadroid" offerings, Nokia's Android phones are an embarrassment for their new owner.

Jokers have quipped that whenever Microsoft's Windows Phone chief Joe Belfiore is asked about it, he reacts like a teenager whose divorced dad has been seen dating a young stripper. But maybe Microsoft should hang on to Android after all.

Polling by Kantar's WorldPanel suggests that Windows Phone's market share reached a plateau in the first quarter of 2014, maintaining the gains it made in 2013, but failed to eat further into the duopoly of iOS and Android.

The Microsoft-made mobile OS's share of the big China and US markets fell, and while it added to gains it made in Europe, up 1.6 percentage points from 6.5 per cent to 8.1 per cent in five major European markets. (In Italy, Windows Phone outsells iOS.)

Apple fell 7.8pp to retain just 35.9 per cent of the United States, with Android picking up 8.3pp to rise to 57.3 per cent of US handsets, although in Europe Apple has held steady – buoyed, no doubt, by saturation advertising.

The reasons are twofold. Windows Phone's share is largely down to one model: the Lumia 520, and that hasn't had a refresh for almost a year. The successors, the 630 and 635, will only hit the distribution channel next month. Meanwhile, heavy discounting of newer Android models has eaten into the 520's attractiveness in the bargain basement.

A table of figures

Q1 2014 Market Share, Smartphones. Source: Kantar WorldPanel

"Windows had a tough start to the year as a result of its entry-level Nokia models facing fierce competition from low-end Motorola, LG and Samsung Android smartphones,” says Kantar analyst Dominic Sunnebo.

In addition, there's very little left of BlackBerry's prepay consumer market left to eat. The "low hanging fruit" has already been eaten. But here's a thought.

X marks the KER-CHING spot

What if Nokia's Android X range starts to sell serious numbers? Not just into the "BRICS" (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and "TIMBIs" (Turkey, India, Mexico, Brazil and Indonesia) but into the budget prepay Western markets too?

This would require consumers to compromise the user experience (X is built for price, not performance) to save money. But that's something that many are prepared to do. And the price of the X range (€89, €99 and €109) undercuts the Lumia 630 (which starts at $159 or around €114 for prepaid) meaning the X will be hard to avoid.

With his services background, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shouldn't really care what is accessing his cloud. Sure, it would be nice if it was a Microsoft device, but if there's one thing worse than a Microsoft cloud accessed mostly by iOS and Android consumer devices, it's a Microsoft cloud that consumers don't want to use at all. Perhaps a viable Android is the best acquisition Microsoft could have made?

Either way, with the Moto G available free on £12.50/month contracts, a summer price war looms. ®

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
Whoah! How many Google Play apps want to read your texts?
Google's app permissions far too lax – security firm survey
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
OpenWRT gets native IPv6 slurping in major refresh
Also faster init and a new packages system
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.