IDC Predicts Sluggish Windows Phone Sales Growth

4 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

IDC Predicts Sluggish Windows Phone Sales Growth.

New figures from the group, released yesterday, are stark. Specifications 5.2in 2560×1440 564ppi AMOLED display, hexa-core 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, 32GB internal storage, microSD up to 200GB, 3GB RAM, 20MP rear-facing camera, 5MP front-facing camera, GSM/3G/4G, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, Microsoft Windows 10 Mobile OS, 3,000mAh battery, 145x73x8.2mm, 150g MICROSOFT HAS a lot resting on the Lumia 950. The group predicts that Microsoft will shift a total of 31.3 million phones in calendar 2015, giving the software giant an effective global market share of 2.2 percent.

It’s the first smartphone the firm has released without the Nokia brand, and it has to prove Windows 10 as a truly universal operating system as Microsoft hopes that those with the software on their PC will opt for a smartphone that works in tandem with the OS. However, the posting also says Microsoft will make extended support updates and security patches available for “a minimum of 24 months after the lifecycle start date” of November 16, 2015.

As the name suggests, the two smartphones can host two different SIMs at the same time, virtually doubling the chances for their owners to benefit from carriers’ offers. Now, while 50 percent growth is certainly movement in the right direction, IDC calculates that, in 2019, that higher unit volume will only grant Microsoft 0.1 percent more market share. The Microsoft Display Dock, which lets the handsets act as mini-PCs, comes free of charge as a bonus to Lumia 950 Dual SIM and Lumia 950 XL Dual SIM clients.

Despite all the effort Microsoft has put into the launch of Windows 10, IDC does not expect Microsoft’s share of the smartphone OS market to grow much over the coming years. We can only speculate that a more significant upgrade for Microsoft’s mobile operating system will arrive, assuming the whole effort hasn’t cratered by then. Our biggest gripe, though, is how bland the handset feels compared with the likes of the Nokia-branded Lumia 920, which had outlandish polycarbonate packaging and a slightly curved 2.5D screen.

Windows Phone 7 was a clean break from the old Windows Mobile, and Microsoft famously abandoned Windows Phone 7 users (and the existing app ecosystem) when it moved to Windows Phone 8. While this approach helped drive shipments up to 34.9 million units in 2014, IDC is forecasting a year-over-year decline of -10.2% in 2015, followed by further decline in 2016. Microsoft has so far failed to make much of a dent on the smartphone market, and we think this handset’s dull design could see it struggle to stand out against its big-name competitors. With Microsoft’s support document leaving plenty of open questions, Windows phone fans could be reasonably skittish about their upgrade paths from here on. I don’t mean to be unkind, but Microsoft’s mobile effort has been an expensive endeavor that has failed so far to attract material market penetration.

By that I mean it was quite easy to dismiss the company’s Surface efforts, which largely failed to connect with consumers until the Surface Pro 3 came along. The 5.2in display, which is surrounded by a tiny bezel that gives it an almost edge-to-edge quality, has a Galaxy S6-rivalling 2560×1440 QHD resolution and comes with the AMOLED technology more typically associated with Samsung smartphones. This makes for crystal clear text, vibrant colours, deep blacks and, despite the reflective Gorilla Glass 4 coating, impressive viewing angles and outdoor visibility. So I am hesitant to completely agree with IDC, but understand where it’s coming from; being optimistic in this area has been quixotic for Microsoft’s fans and users. Microsoft’s playful Live Tile interface is present, and you’ll find the swipe down Action Centre and quick action buttons – Back, Home and Search – at the bottom of the screen.

Internet Explorer is gone, for example, replaced with a mobile version of Microsoft’s Edge browser (below), which proved plenty nippy enough and easy to navigate. You won’t find any Google apps – Maps or Drive, for example – and the YouTube app is in fact an app published by Microsoft that simply takes you to YouTube’s mobile website. Most are welcome, such as Office and Xbox, but you’ll also find Groove Music, Lumia Creative Studio and Shazam, all of which are unlikely to get a second look. We noticed a slight glitch in that the post-processing automatically applied to images added a slight green hue to some photos, but most are very good. As with other recent Lumia devices, the 950 XL’s main camera can also create Living Images, a small video snippet similar to that offered by the Live Photos feature on the iPhone 6S.

The battery drained by 15 percent after one hour-long episode of House of Cards, meaning that the phone will manage around seven hours of video playback although we’ll update this with a full battery life score shortly.

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