Up until recently, Windows Phone 7 has been something of a disaster, really.
The OS has failed to make any real impact in the smartphone market, and indeed according to some analysts Microsoft’s mobile share has actually shrunk since the launch of WP7 a year ago. Which was definitely not the plan.
Even Microsoft recently admitted that the OS was underperforming.
However, the future is now looking brighter, with the Mango Windows Phone 7.5 being well received as bringing a huge array of new features to the OS, and the roll out going smoothly unlike the last big NoDo update.
There are a number of new Windows Phone devices on the horizon, too, from the likes of HTC, Samsung and of course Microsoft’s big new partner in mobile, Nokia.
The HTC Radar and Titan are now out, and the likes of the Nokia Sea Ray (the WP7 version of the Nokia N9, basically) is due very soon.
And Microsoft is hoping its mobile OS will be revitalised by these new devices with Mango. Indeed, in an interview with All Things D, Microsoft’s Windows Phone boss Andy Lees expressed his ambition to become the number three smartphone platform behind Apple and Android.
It’ll have to overtake Symbian and Rim to achieve that aim, although the BlackBerry makers fortunes are on the downturn, and of course Symbian is a dying, rapidly shrinking platform (being replaced by WP7 at Nokia).
In theory, it’s possible, although Windows Phone 7 has been such a flop so far, it would be a massive turnaround. And of course Rim isn’t going to sit back and let BlackBerry slide, innovating with its own smartphones in terms of a new OS, QNX, which might be engineered to support Android apps.
Lees also defended Microsoft’s WP7 hardware to All Things D, as there are no phones yet which use dual-core chips, in marked contrast to Android which has a number of dual-core handsets, and the iPhone 4S which employs one.
He said that dual-core handsets were on the way for WP7, but that single core efforts ran the OS very nippily anyway – plus some of these devices are running single core 1.5GHz chips (the Titan for one) which aren’t exactly slow.
Lees also talked about LTE, telling ATD: “The first LTE phones were big and big (users) of the battery, and I think it’s possible to do it in a way that is far more efficient, and that’s what we will be doing.”
LTE WP7 smartphones are on the way, but probably not until next year. Not that this matters much to us in the UK, anyway.
The future is undoubtedly looking brighter with Mango, but until we actually see that smartphone market share finally starting to climb, the number three platform spot is definitely looking more of a mountain than a hill for Microsoft.