Is Windows Phone 7 doomed?

Is Windows Phone 7 doomed?Admittedly we’re always the first to mock crystal ball gazers. No one knows what the mobile word will look like next year, never mind in 2015. But we can still look at the current landscape and make a few observations and that.

So, is Windows Phone 7 doomed? Depending who you listen to, Microsoft’s OS will either punch the rest in the face and take pole position by 2013, or ultimately fall flat on its face.

Research firm, Pyramid, caused a commotion earlier this month when it predicted that WP7 would take the lead “by 2015”. Amusingly, in a direct response to the naysayers, they went on to clarify that “by 2015” actually meant “in 2013”. Brilliant.

On the other hand, we’ve heard a couple of stories recently that suggest things aren’t going quite so well. Firstly, there are those figures from Gartner showing that Windows Phone 7 is still being outsold by Windows Mobile. And, just today, Martin relayed the news that Windows Phone 7 sales were slowing down.

Let’s break it down in an old school way with some sections.

The OS

Windows Phone 7 was criticised at launch for failing to include – among other things – copy&paste, something iOS and Android users have long been enjoying. Doubters still point to the likes of the lack of full multitasking, but Mango is set to crank it up a notch later this year. Or, uhm, early in 2012. In any case, Mango will justify a spot of renumbering, and Windows Phone 7 will become 7.5.

Another tick in the Pro column; Windows Phone 7 is enjoyably slick. Android, on the other hand, can be incredibly sluggish at times, though I have to admit I’ve noticed a definite improvement since carving myself a slice of Gingerbread last week.

The handsets

This is one category where Windows Phone 7 is lacking quite emphatically. I recently wrote a feature about the range of WP7 handsets, and they total a whopping seven. Seven handsets. That’s your lot. Five at launch, and a further two – both QWERTY sliders, incidentally – this year. If HTC hadn’t been on board the WP7 train, the OS would’ve launched with an embarrassing two phones.

Microsoft’s rigid “chassis” (minimum spec requirements) means the phones are all much the same. There’s a minimum 5MP camera and 8GB of flash memory, for example. The result is a complete absence of low-end devices. Meanwhile, cheap low-MP/low-res phones are a huge driver for Android.

The manufacturers

So far we’ve seen devices from stupidly-prolific HTC (responsible for 4/7 of WP7’s current range), Samsung, LG and Dell. Sony Ericsson was originally named as a launch partner, but it has decided to back off unless WP7 can prove itself as a contender. Finally, Motorola is sticking to a fairly emphatic “no” when it comes to the possibility of a Motophone 7 (er, I just made that term up).

Nokia is expected to give the platform a much-needed boost when it finally arrives. Pyramid reckons that Nokia’s presence will – crucially – drive down the cost of Windows Phone 7 handsets.

Going back to HTC, the Taiwanese haven’t been put off by the Nokisoft bromance, which is just as well. The rumour mill is rife with talk of future HTC WP7 handsets, including the Omega, Eternity and Bresson, as well as the Prime and Ignite that we heard about earlier this year.

The apps

Windows Phone 7's range of apps pales in comparison to the hundreds of thousands offered by iOS and Android. Having said that, there's an old adage that goes "quality not quantity"; how many of those hundreds of thousands of Android/iOS apps are genuine must-haves? And the big names are slowly but surely jumping on board with WP7.

Verdict

If I were a high-paid analyst, I’d come up with some graphs suggesting that Windows Phone 7 might – with an increased range of handsets and apps, and a few meaty software updates – vie for second place come… just picking an arbitrary year here… 2013. That’ll do.

Read more about: Windows Phone

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7 comments

bilbob  May. 23, 2011 at 14:33

What a desperate headline that is for this 'story'.
I thought there was something newsworthy here, but I'll know better in furture...

JanSt / MOD  May. 23, 2011 at 14:39

Don't thinnk it's doomed, but who in their right mind will shell out big bucks now when the proper updates are delayed, and higher-powered Nokia devices are dangled in front of buyers' heads?
Microsoft can afford stalled sales, so WP7 won't disappear.

bilbob  May. 23, 2011 at 18:23

shell out big bucks? You can buy an lg e900 sim free for 185 from expansys right now... hardly big bucks is it? That's an awful lot fo phone fo rnot a lot of cash...

JanSt / MOD  May. 23, 2011 at 18:59

Yes, I mentioned the LG offer a couple of times elsewhere on mobot today, but most phones are bought from networks.
Most folks see an Omnia 7 or HD7 in the store or on their provider's site and they gotta think, heck, I can get an iPhone or Android etc for the price of a wp7 phone and wasn't there a problem with those and didn't my colleague curse about the failed update and isn't everyone saying that later Nokia will make those and and and bing...bong...

mobotengadgetheadlines  May. 23, 2011 at 19:52

Windows phone 7 doomed? Nokia releasing handsets early next year for the OS and that apparently is the end of this OS?

Dare i say it, i think this OS has a much better life than Android. The eco system around it is better, the apps and requirements for the processor in the hardware gives it a much better user experience.

Android is slowly becoming the symbain of the smartphone.

equ  Aug. 14, 2011 at 11:12

Update. Since this artical WP7 sales have decreased, Android have increased. And Nokia lost almost its entire smartphone market share. WP7 wont disapear until Microsoft gets tired and releases the next attempt to break into the market.

JanSt / MOD  Aug. 14, 2011 at 11:24

equ,
Yes, I'd have to agree - MS won't give up on that one. They'd rather give away a phone with every copy of office than admit defeat.

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