Some interesting numbers have come up in reference to Windows Phone recently and for an optimist, it may be a sign that things may be turning around. Of course, given that the worldwide market share is still hovering in single digits, things are far from being considering “winning”.
However, let’s see at all the positive bits of news that have come up recently first.
- News that the Nokia Lumia 920 may have sold out in Germany. If you recall, the original Lumia launch did not go well in Europe and the fact that it is sold out anywhere, regardless of how many units they stocked, is a good sign.
- This tweet from Apple analyst and blogger Horace Dediu, presumably based on usage metrics, saying Windows Phone has 11.7% share in Italy.
- From Microsoft’s annual shareholder meeting, news came out that Windows Phone sales have quadrupled since the launch of Windows Phone 8, over the same period last year (when Windows Phone 7.5 devices were launched). Of course, this is after Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer famously said Windows Phone sales went from very small to very small in the first year, so take this 4x effect with that pinch of salt.
- At Ars Technica, Peter Bright notes that per Shanghai Securities News, Nokia may have placed an order for 2.5 million Lumia 920 units in 20 days. If this is true, and we know the device is hard to find in most places around the world, it means Nokia has probably sold as many Lumias in about a month what it sold in the entire previous quarter.
- Update: Coincidentally, Alex Wilhelm wrote a similar “momentum” post about Windows Phone over at The Next Web and it reminded me of yet another statistic that I had missed – the new Windows Phone 8 SDK is the most rapidly downloaded SDK from Microsoft all year, and was twice the number of downloads for the earlier SDK in the first 8 days (Windows Phone 7.1). In addition, in 8 days after Microsoft’s annual developer conference //build/, they saw 17% increase in individual developer registrations, averaging 1,500 registrations per day. These are not trivial numbers, especially given how low the marketshare of Windows Phone is today.
- Finally, and perhaps the most significant metric for the ecosystem, and one that may help create the virtuous cycle: Todd Brix, Senior Director of Windows Phone Marketplace tweeted that since the November launch of Windows Phone 8, developer revenue and app downloads have increased 100%. This is great news for developers, even keeping in mind that the original number may have been very small to start with. The increased advertising, the positive reviews, and the fact that Windows Phone 8 has pretty much achieved parity with iOS and Android in terms of features, means developers can be hopeful that more devices are sold and thus their addressable market is increased manifold.
So, what does all this mean? Only that Windows Phone 8 may have a better awareness among the public than any Windows Phone launch in the past. The awareness, and the concerted effort by OEMs and Microsoft to work with carriers may have resulted in some of the undecided folks to pick up Windows Phones instead of the competition.
However, make no mistake here – Windows Phone has a long, long way to go. Especially in mature markets like the US where iOS and Android own almost the entire market, it will be hard to convince users to switch. The goal for Microsoft and its partners may be to go after non-smartphone users who are looking to get into the smartphone world. That market is way bigger than the market of existing smartphone users.
Still, as an enthusiast and a Windows Phone user from day one, I am happy to see all the positive tidbits related to the platform and the ecosystem.