After four years, Windows Phone still struggles to make a dent in smartphone market share, while iOS and Android dominates.
Cortana’s implementation into Windows Phone 8.1 may not help Windows Phone gain much in the way of market share.
Windows Phone has been publicly available for 4 years now, but it’s still behind the likes of Android and iOS, and only has 4-5% market share in all that time. While iOS dropped from 13% to 11.7% due to anticipation for the iPhone 6, Android OS increased its market share from 79.5% to 84.7%. Together, iOS and Android account for 96.4% of the mobile market in smartphones.
One thing that may explain the failure of Windows Phone to break through the iOS-Android hegemony concerns the fact that Windows Phone didn’t arrive until four years ago, Windows Phone being a “johnny-come-lately” when compared with the likes of iOS (2007) and Android (2008). Another factor behind the Windows Phone failure may stem from the lack of apps available on Windows Phone. In many a spec war between Android and iOS in years past, iOS has always come out the winner because of the number of apps available in the App Store as opposed to the number of apps available in the Google Play Store.
Although the scene is changing, iOS developers are still making more money from their apps than Android developers. Unless Windows Phone gains a majority of popular apps that can be found on its OS competitors, we’ll continue to see Windows Phone in the same position it is in right now.
Last but not least, customization may be the key to winning a number of Android users over to Windows Phone. A number of iOS users in the last two years have publicly announced their switch to Windows Phone, and their rationale for doing so is obvious: in many ways, Windows Phone provides some functionality akin to iOS and Android, but Windows Phone holds back a bit as compared to Android OS and skins such as Sense UI, TouchWiz, and others. iOS users who don’t like a lot of software (and dread the idea of skins) find Windows Phone to be a welcome alternative with its LiveTiles setup that is highly customizable.
Still, even with the Windows Phone LiveTile customization, there’s a greater need for software implementation and customization. Cortana will prove to be a welcome new digital voice assistant for Windows Phone, but Android users who are committed to Android want more software features that are more well implemented than the competition. For example, of all the Window Phone reviews we’ve read about Lumia phones, for instance, we hear so very little about the different types of software available to Windows Phone users that allow you to select different camera filters for your photos, or camera features that allow you to blur your pictures to create an artistic flair. These types of features are discussed in Android all the time, but seem foreign whenever tech analysts and writers discuss Windows Phone.
What’ll it take for Windows Phone to make a comeback? Microsoft has already dropped the licensing fees that once stood between Windows Phone and manufacturers, so one thing remains: there is a need to bring more manufacturers and developers to the platform. And Microsoft, who now owns Nokia’s mobile division, must provide more innovative software features so that consumers, at least, come to want Windows Phone above the competition. More customization and software will attract more customers, who’ll then attract more developers and manufacturers.
Looking at the growth of the four year old operation system, we are curious for the Samsung Tizen OS and Intel OS which are yet to be launched.