Windows Phone 7 Still Not Selling

We reported last year that our figures didn’t look too hot for Windows Phone 7, but we did point out that it was still early doors and that it wouldn’t be fair to call fail so soon.

That’s still true, WinPho 7 is still in it’s infancy and we can’t expect it to give Android a kicking just yet but the latest figures are just as dire as our own were last year.

Market watchers Gartner reckon that of 101 million smartphones sold in Q1 2011 only 1.6 m of them were running Windows Phone 7.

Compared with 16.9m iPhones, 13m BlackBerrys and 36.3m Android phones this is pretty poor, but the really embarrassing figure is a buried in the report. Gartner don’t specifically give figures for previous Windows operating systems but they do quote a combined total for all Windows phones of 3.7m, that means that 2.1m phones with older versions of Windows were sold, 0.5 million more than the newest version.

Let’s not forget here that it took Android a while to gain any real traction in the market, the G1 was far too techy and temperamental for most users and it wasn’t until the HTC desire that Android really kicked off. But the key difference is that Google didn’t launch Android as a finished article, it was a beta and Google never pretended otherwise. There was very little in the way of marketing and in the early days it wasn’t even clear if Google would put their weight behind it or can it as they do with many projects.

Windows Phone 7 is a beta, there’s alot to love about it but it’s simply not ready to go head to head with iOS and Android. Had MS realised and acknowledged this people may have been a bit more forgiving of it’s shortcomings but they marketed it intensively and built expectations.

Last month Gartner predicted that Microsoft would have 19.5% of the smartphone market by 2015. There were no such concrete figures and dates this time round, Gartner just said “In the long term, Nokia’s support will accelerate Windows Phone’s momentum.”

I love it when analysts say stuff like this; it sounds all clever but it isn’t actually a prediction that anyone could conceivably show to be false. Even if sales and market share fell, they could say that they meant really long term, and that by momentum they meant downward momentum.

Will Nokia’s backing help Windows Phone 7 gain market share? I find it hard to see how, Nokia are capable of making great hardware, but hardware doesn’t seem to be the problem. There aren’t people saying “Gee, I love WinPho 7 but the handset hardware is no good.” The current crop of Win Pho handsets are all pretty good, notably those from HTC and Samsung.

The only way Nokia’s hardware pedigree will help beyond sheer weight of numbers of handsets, is if they can come up with a killer hardware feature that no other manufacturer has.  It could happen, you never know, but it’s a long shot.

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