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Windows Phone, Should Microsoft give up the Flagship?

Windows Phone is not exactly burning up the sales charts, even though it is purportedly holding nearly 3% of the worldwide mobile market share according to the IDC.  Within the United States we see a very lopsided sales situation going on- low end is selling and the high end is dragging its feet way down the list.  While the Lumia 1020 was advertised as decimating the competition as far as the camera was concerned but it currently only holds a 3% share of the Windows Phones sold to date, according AdDuplex.  Worldwide it is slightly different as the 1020 doesn’t even rank and the overall market is dominated, much like in the United States, by low end devices.  This is not a Windows Phone Vs iPhone or Android Phone article but something different.  See where this is going, folks?

It is pretty clear that Microsoft’s Windows Phone market share is dominated by the low end devices.  There simply are more people willing to drop less than $100 on a Windows Phone, even as a test, than they are willing to drop over $500, or sign a two year contract/sign up for a payment plan, for a new Windows Phone- even if it is “high end”.  Granted, I still want a 1020, just for that damn camera but AT&T (my carrier of choice) still wants over $400 for it brand new, about $300 refurbished contract phone (these are “earlier this year” numbers from one of the many local AT&T stores).  That is simply too costly for a phone that is running a dual core 1.5 gigahertz processor, two gigs of RAM and limited internal storage (32 or 64 gig models, no expansion option).  Keep in mind, the 1020 was released just over two years ago- that is at least two improving on the previous release iPhones.  That is pitiful.

When visiting a phone store you probably have noticed that a new phone from Microsoft is not there.  They have a poor showing in the contract phone market as AT&T and Verizon (the leaders for new phone sales) simply won’t push a Windows Phone.  Recently while at an AT&T store I was literally told flat out to not buy a Windows Phone rather get an iPhone or Android phone for my new phone.  They didn’t care that I was not interested in those devices and was on a prepaid plan at the time so the new phone would be a full upfront cost for me.  Microsoft needs to fix this.

It seems, as you can see, Microsoft has already given up on the flagship phone.  You would be wrong for thinking that as they are working on more, just having to take their time as they transition the hardware and software in new directions.  These new flagship phones are reportedly going to be running Windows 10 (makes sense) but that is really all we know (oh and the camera is supposedly going to be a 20 megapixel PureView).  As usual, the price is going to dictate the success of these two new phones (codenamed Talkman/Lumia 950 and Cityman/Lumia 950 XL).  Since they are “flagship” phones they will carry a premium price.  The question is, should Microsoft be bothering with these phones?  Will they suffer the same fate as the Lumia 1020 and the other, previous, “flagship” phones?

You can purchase a Lumia 635 for less than $60 or a Lumia 640 for less than $100 (as low as $80 depending on carrier).  Both feature specs that are just as good, or better, than the Lumia 1020.  The 1020 does have more RAM (2 gigs versus 512 and 1 gig respectively) and a better camera but it also carries a price tag that is up to six times more than the cheapest option- the 635.  I will gladly take a cheaper phone, with good specs, over an aging phone that has more RAM and a better camera.

If Microsoft was to drop the chase of the flagship and focus on the lower end of the market, where they are moving devices, they might be better off.  Chasing the flagship market is a losing proposition for Microsoft, history has proven it many times over.  By raising the minimum specifications for the hardware, as detailed here, Microsoft could easily raise the market share their product holds.

Information for this article came from:
Windows Central

Carl Williams

It is time gaming journalism takes its rightful place as proper sources and not fanboys giving free advertising. If you wish to support writers like Carl please use the links below.

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