Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 can succeed in 2011 if it continues to add to its capabilities, according to an analyst.
Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 can gain market-share throughout 2011 and beyond,
provided it continues to add capabilities and applications, according to a new
research note from IDC.
Much of that potential growth will rely on Microsoft'a expanding Windows
Phone 7's portfolio to CDMA-based (Code Division Multiple Access-based) networks
such as Verizon Wireless. The platform is currently available on GSM-based
AT&T and T-Mobile.
"CDMA phones are expected to arrive in early 2011, ensuring that WP7 devices
are available on all four U.S. carriers, thus helping increase device shipments,"
Al Hilwa, an analyst with IDC, wrote in a Dec. 29 research note. "To bring the
platform rapidly to a level of parity with other major mobile platforms,
Microsoft will need to deliver several key features in the first quarter of
Those features include multitasking support, copy-and-paste and increased
hardware support for augmented reality applications such as business card
scanning. "Down the road, Microsoft's success will be measured by the speed at
which it can broaden its country, carrier and device portfolios, and the pace
of delivery of new capabilities in its software," Hilwa wrote. In the meantime,
"IDC believes that it will have a seat at the small table of the top two or
three mobile application platform players in the next five years."
Earlier in December, Microsoft announced that some 1.5 million Windows Phone
7 smartphones had sold during the platform's first six weeks of release,
breaking company executives' previous reluctance to share any hard data on
sales. However, that figure represents sales from manufacturers to mobile
operators and retailers, not consumers.
Despite some fuzziness in the actual number of Windows Phone 7 devices in
those consumers' hands, Hilwa seems upbeat on the platform's prospects based on
the number of applications available in its marketplace.
"Released in October, WP7 ends 2010 with over 5,000 apps in its marketplace,
a milestone it reached quicker than the Google Android platform, which took
almost three times as long to reach the same level," he wrote in his note. "Of
course, the circumstances for such comparisons are never identical, and Google
followed a more gradual and tentative launch for Android compared to
Microsoft's well-orchestrated big-bang approach."
But when compared wirh the hundreds of thousands of activations per day for
Google Android and Apple iOS devices and the hundreds of thousands of
applications available for both platforms' marketplaces, Microsoft may be
forced to take a longer-term view on whether Windows Phone 7 will ultimately prove
"It is precisely the broad launch and sure-footed execution that allows us
to predict long-term success for WP7 at this early stage," Hilwa added.
"Microsoft's aggressive developer management behind the scenes has been visibly
effective in producing a compelling smartphone alternative platform in an
otherwise crowded space."
Reports suggest that Microsoft is preparing a Windows Phone 7 update,
including cut-and-paste for January, followed by another major software update
later in the year.