Nokia may have shipped 1.3 million Windows Phone devices, according to 22 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Broken down, those estimates ranged from 800,000 to 2 million units shipped, with only one analyst pegging the total at fewer than 1 million. The Jan. 22 report also quotes Espen Furnes, a fund manager with Storebrand Asset Management in Oslo, as saying the numbers “look promising.” However, there is one caveat: “shipped” doesn’t necessarily mean sold, and so these estimated numbers don’t necessarily suggest how many Windows Phone devices are actually ending up in consumers’ hands.
Early in 2011, Nokia made the strategic decision to abandon its homegrown operating systems, including Symbian, in favor of Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform-the better, insisted CEO Stephen Elop, to combat Apple’s iPhone and the growing family of Google Android devices.
That decision is beginning to result in a narrow-but-broadening product ecosystem. In addition to the Lumia 800, a high-end smartphone for the international markets, Nokia is attempting to make renewed inroads into the U.S. market with the midrange Lumia 710 and the premium Lumia 900.
In its year-plus on the market, Windows Phone has struggled for broad adoption. Microsoft hopes that a new generation of smartphones loaded with Windows Phone “Mango,” a wide-ranging software update with hundreds of new tweaks and features, will give the platform some much-needed traction. Pricing is also a factor: During this January’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Greg Sullivan, senior product manager for Windows Phone, told eWEEK that Windows Phone devices by various manufacturers would aim for customers across the price spectrum.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer also used his CES keynote to promote Windows Phone. “I’m really excited and upbeat about where we are,” Ballmer said about the platform-perhaps an inevitable pronouncement, given his position. But if Windows Phone can’t attract customers, even after this renewed push, then Microsoft will face some very serious questions about its future in the mobile segment.
As one of the most prominent manufacturers of this “new” generation of Windows Phone, Nokia will inevitably be seen as a bellwether of sorts for the success of the revamped platform as a whole. If Bloomberg’s numbers are an accurate indication, then those early signs might be good.