Windows Phone 7 May Help Nokia Catch Up

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2011-07-29 Print this article Print

I think that both of these suggestions are wrong, and that in the long run, there will be some sort of balance with all four major phone OS platforms.

However, there is no denying that RIM is in a sales slump right now. That slump is partly caused by the iPhone 5 hype, and partly because the BlackBerry has some serious competition especially among consumers. But RIM's security is still the one that defies cracking and it's the one that many governments fear so much, they've thought about banning the device. It's also the smartphone that never got banned because those same governments found that they can't do without it.

While it's unlikely that RIM will regain its top position, it's not going away either. It's worth noting that while I was waiting in line for the Amtrak Acela train for New York a few days ago, I watched my fellow passengers look at their phones. There were a couple of iPhones, a couple of Android devices, but by far the most widely used mobile device in that (unscientific) sample was the BlackBerry.

The Windows Phone 7 is a different story. Microsoft has teamed with Nokia to use WP7 in Nokia's smartphones worldwide. The reason you don't see a lot of Windows phones in any listing is because that relationship is just getting rolling. But once Nokia starts shipping Windows Phone 7 in quantity, the market share will grow dramatically.

The reason is the same as the reason that Nokia remains on the top globally. Nokia is so ubiquitous all over the world that the Finnish phone maker is about the only game in town in many international markets. While Windows Phone 7 probably won't surpass Apple in the near future, it's wrong to discount it.

Despite indications to the contrary today, Apple isn't going to win a majority stake in the global smartphone market. The iPhone will hold a significant share, but the competition from other platforms is simply too strong. While Apple will help its market share if the company decides to sell the phone to every carrier, not just a select few, even that won't put Apple into the top position in the world.

The demand for capabilities that Apple can't provide, such as RIM's military grade encryption and its enterprise infrastructure, means that the iPhone simply can't meet those needs. In addition, user preferences being what they are, the iPhone will never be all things to all people. But it will become the preferred smartphone for a lot of people. 

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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