Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 smartphone is proving an early disappointment, at least according to one LG Electronics executive.
"From an industry perspective we had a high expectation, but from a consumer point of view the visibility is less than we expected," James Choi, a marketing strategy and planning team director for LG Electronics, apparently told the blog Pocket-lint in an interview published Jan. 14.
Nonetheless, Choi added, "We strongly feel that it has a strong potential even though the first push wasn't what everyone expected." He also felt that the platform's growth is limited by its "high tier" hardware requirements, and that "once Windows Phone 7 handsets that are mid-tier to low tier start appearing the market share will grow."
The executive declined to offer any sort of sales data, however. LG Electronics has been building initial Windows Phone 7 devices along with Samsung, Dell and HTC.
During this month's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft executives claimed some 1.5 million Windows Phone 7 devices had been sold to retailers by manufacturers in the platforms' first few weeks of release. However, the company remains reluctant to share how many of those devices might have found their way into consumers' hands.
Microsoft is planning a series of Windows Phone 7 updates that will introduce new features like cut-and-paste and tweak apps for better performance. Those updates will also reportedly close a loophole that allowed Windows Phone 7 owners to unlock their devices, according to the team behind the ChevronWP7 unlocking app.
Microsoft also claims to be investigating reports of a Windows Phone 7 bug that devours users' data, even when they're not running apps or cruising the Web. "This is a curiously common problem, and I'm sort of shocked Microsoft hasn't addressed this publicly yet, either to confirm it or offer a fix," Paul Thurrott, curator of the Supersite for Windows, wrote in a Jan. 2 response to one user allegedly experiencing unexplained data drain. "Basically what's happening is that the phone is utilizing the 3G data connection even when Wi-Fi is available. It's not clear what app(s) or part(s) of the OS is causing this, but it's definitely widely reported."
A Microsoft spokesperson wrote in a Jan. 11 email to eWEEK: "We are investigating this issue to determine the root cause and will update with information and guidance as it becomes available."
In contrast to smartphone platforms such as Google Android and Apple iOS, which offer grid-like screens of individual apps, Windows Phone 7 consolidates Web content and applications into a set of six subject-specific Hubs, including "People" and "Office." Microsoft hopes that the unique user interface will appeal to both businesses and consumers, and that-in conjunction with a growing apps marketplace-allow it to reverse several quarters' worth of market-share declines in the mobile space.