Microsoft may have been a late entrant to the Smartphone segment (not considering the popular but old fashioned Windows Mobile here) but it does look like Redmond is doing a lot of things right so far. The Windows Phone UI and functionalities are extremely slick and despite the relatively few apps available on the Windows Phone marketplace compared to the iOS AppStore or Android Market, a lot of people have started to check out their smartphones. Today, Windows Phone enjoys an encouraging, but not so great 1.9% market share. But that could apparently change in the next few years thanks to the Lumia series of phones from Nokia that run on the Windows Phone platform.
According to the latest report from IHS iSuppli, Microsoft Windows Phone could beat Apple’s iOS in market share as early as 2015. In their report, IHS claim that 2012 could be the watershed year for Microsoft as their Windows Phone grows in popularity from a market share of sub 2% levels to as much as 9%. This is good not just for Microsoft but also Nokia that has seen its popularity fizzle in recent times to the iPhone and Android handsets.
Here is how the market share of the three big Smartphone players expected to move over the next three years.
2011 : 18.0%
2012 : 18.0%
2013 : 17.3%
2014 : 16.8%
2015 : 16.6%
2011 : 47.4%
2012 : 53.9%
2013 : 55.9%
2014 : 57.8%
2015 : 58.1%
2011 : 1.9%
2012 : 9.0%
2013 : 15.3%
2014 : 16.1%
2015 : 16.7%
The share of the rest of the Smartphone OSes is expected to fall from 32.7% in 2011 to just 8.6% in 2015. Is RIM going to be dead by then?
The Windows Phone marketplace is still a small ecosystem with just around 40,000 apps available for download. Around 3000 new apps are being added on a daily basis with more than 1650 of them being free. While this may sound like a small number, the fact that rivals like Apple and Google have had close to 3 years of headstart over Microsoft is an indication that Microsoft may be catching up faster than one may have thought. In the United States, Windows Phone 7 devices already make up close to 5% of all smartphones. Do remember that this does not include the older Windows Mobile 6.5 version devices.
So, what are the most popular apps among this fledgling population of users. First up, the top 10 free apps on the Windows Phone marketplace
2. Adobe Reader
4. Free Music Downloader (by Fast Code)
5. Bubble Shoot (by Words Mobile)
6. Penguin (by Mike Newman)
7. Xbox LIVE Extras
9. Physi Bricks (by Stiq Joy LLC)
10. Funny Jump (by AE Mobile)
So what are the apps that are being purchased the most? Here are the top 10
1. $2.99 Angry Birds
2. $2.99 Burn the Rope
3. $2.99 Gravity Guy
4. $2.99 Implode!
5. $2.99 COLLAPSE
6. $2.99 Fruit Ninja
7. $4.99 Need for Speed Undercover
8. $4.99 SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 4 Episode 1
9. $2.99 Fight Game Rivals
10 $4.99 PvZ
The number of spam sent per month back in July 2010 used to be around 90 billion. In a year’s time, this number has been brought down to just 25 billion. This is one of the revelations made in Microsoft’s latest Security Intelligence Report. Click on the right arrow on the top of the article to see how this was achieved.
A number of Windows Phone 7 users in the past month had reported about a mysterious bug on their handsets that caused unrequested consumption of massive levels of data. The complaints, nicknamed the Phantom data issue, prompted Redmond to have an immediate look into the issue.
The company has now issued a statement noting that they have managed to round upon the potential cause to a common “third party solution” that was seen to be consuming larger than expected levels of data. Microsoft is noted to be working with its partner to rectify the issue. No details were made available regarding the third party in question.
Microsoft has also additionally pointed out that the number of customers affected was not significantly high noting that a “low single-digit” percentage of Windows Phone customers were affected. We will update you when the aforementioned fix is released.
Developers could soon be bringing PC-based Kinect games if a new rumor is anything to go by. According to sources, Microsoft is working on building a Kinect SDK that it could release along with official drivers for Windows that can be used by developers to build PC-based Kinect applications. This is expected to take a few more months and the Kinect SDK is believed to be released as a Microsoft XNA “Community Technical Preview” beta.
Not just this. Microsoft could also be releasing a gesture-based control environment on its next generation Windows operating system. You might recall Windows 8 demos from early this month where the OS was demoed to work with potential integration with Kinect.
Of course, all of this is simply speculation at this point. But given Ballmer’s statements that his company would be integrating Kinect with PCs “in the right time“, we cannot wait to find out if we are already there.
Microsoft is learned to have incorporated a feature on Windows Phone 7 handsets that will automatically backup all the content and data from the phone before a system update is performed. Speaking in a podcast, Matt Akers of the Microsoft Zune Software client team said,
“Any time that we prepare to do an update, which you guys will see soon, we will make a backup of your phone. The entire phone, everything on it.”
Akers has said that the backup will help users in seamlessly reverting back to the older firmware in case something was to go wrong during the update. The feature apparently has been incorporated on the Windows Phone 7 OS by default and should be seen in action when Microsoft rolls out its firmware update.
And that we hear is coming soon.
The first service pack of Microsoft Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 could be made publicly available today as claimed by a Microsoft employee. Unfortunately, the service pack for both the editions of Windows has already been leaked online. The leaked version of the Windows 7 service pack RTM build is labelled 7601.17514.101119-1850 suggesting that the software was created on 19th November 2010. Microsoft Enterprise Services employee Alex Kibkalo has mentioned in one of his blog posts that SP1 would be publicly available on 15th January “Redmond Time“.
According to certain sources, the release mentioned in the blog post is only for OEMs as commented by Mr Kibkalo stating that SP1 could hit Windows Update in the next fortnight. A 15th January release of the service pack for just OEMs would mean that this will be the first time Microsoft has released a service pack on a weekend.
Service pack 1 brings in a lot of bug fixes along with several performance improvements like dynamic memory support to Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 R2. Also, we are likely to see RemoteFX which will add enhanced desktop virtualization aimed at giving the same experience to users as the ones sitting at a workstation.
Microsoft could be working on a new video calling application for the Windows Phone platform – similar to the FaceTime app on iOS. According to a Microsoft executive present at the Consumer Electronics Show, this was one future in the future roadmap for Windows Phone. While it is not clear if Microsoft could be making this functionality available on the existing Windows Phone 7 platform, there are indications that such a functionality could be made available on WP8.
Interestingly, the executive is also reported to have claimed that Windows Phone 8 platform could only be compatible with devices equipped with a front camera. What this means is that existing Windows Phone users with devices like HTC Mozart and Samsung Omnia 7 may not be able to run the upcoming Windows Phone platform on their existing devices. That could be a huge deal-breaker for the early adopters.
Microsoft’s XBox gaming consoles have been notorious for their ‘red ring of death‘ problem in the past. It is estimated that over 30% of the consoles have faced this issue in the past though Microsoft has virtually eliminated this bug with its recent releases. However, according to a report on Guardian, plugging a Kinect to the XBox is reported to be causing the red ring of death bug on the XBox once again.
However, this report needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Microsoft has responded to these claims – and their response makes sense. A company spokesman has noted,
“There is no correlation between the three flashing red lights error and Kinect. Any new instances of the three flashing red lights error are merely coincidental.”
One of Microsoft’s biggest success stories last year has undeniably been that of Kinect. At the Consumer Electronics Show yesterday, CEO Steve Ballmer opened up on how much of a success this gesture based motion controller for XBox has been. According to him, Microsoft sold nearly 8 million Kinect units since launch. That is in an amazing timespan of just sixty days.
Evidently, a major portion of the sales came during the holiday shopping season in countries like the United States. If you have been following this space, you will be aware that Microsoft sold 2.5 million units of Kinect in the first 30 days of launch. That brings the sale during December to 5.5 million.
The popularity of Kinect does not look like it will be slowing down anytime in the near future. With more than 50 million XBox 360 units available in the market today, along with the fact that Microsoft is still innovating on the Kinect front, we are in for some real good times ahead.