Microsoft Windows Phone 7 could threaten Google's Android smartphone dominance, according to NPD Group's Connected Intelligence. Microsoft must boost its brand recognition.
At least one research firm believes Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG)
Android operating system could face a stiff challenge from a competitor other
than Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone 7 (WP7).
NPD Group's Connected Intelligence service said Android
is the preferred
platform among current smartphone owners as well as those who wish to buy a new
smartphone in the next six months.
With a mindshare of 63 percent, Android
generates more interest than any other OS and is the platform 36 percent of consumers
claimed to be "most interested in."
For example, the firm said one-third of BlackBerry
smartphone owners reported being most interested in an Android smartphone as
their next handset. This makes sense with current market activity.
Android has accounted for at least half of all smartphone buys in the last three
quarters. comScore, IDC, Gartner and Nielsen have all pegged Android as having
around 40 percent or more market share.
However, Android's lead is far from assured. Connected
Intelligence analyst Linda Barrabee said WP7 may pose a greater threat to
Android's dominance. Barrabee said 44 percent of smartphone owners and
intenders are considering WP7 for their
This is good timing for Microsoft, which is expected to
see new devices from Samsung and HTC ship
"Mango" OS, a considerable refinement over the current NoDo
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said
he hoped WP7 would eventually become "a
very strong third ecosystem in the smartphone world" alongside Android and
Unfortunately, Barrabee said, Microsoft must overcome
some serious brand recognition issues. Some 45 percent of consumers Barrabee
surveyed are still not aware of Windows Phone 7.
Also, the 50 percent of consumers who plan to purchase a
smartphone in the next six months, but who are not interested in Windows Phone
7, 46 percent claimed they didn't know enough about the platform. Clearly,
Microsoft is going to have to rev up its marketing machine to spread the word
about WP7 beyond its "Really?!" ads
"Windows Phone 7 has a way to go before consumers
really understand what it is," Barrabee said. "But with the right
marketing mojo, apps portfolio and feature-rich hardware, Microsoft could
certainly improve its standing and chip away at Android's dominant market
Microsoft must love this report, but it can't bask in its
glow; it needs to treat it as a cautionary tale that it has a lot of work to do
to make WP7 a household brand. No doubt Nokia will play a big part in that when
it launches WP7 phones next year.