Windows Mobile smartphone sales plunge 20% in Q3

Decline occurs despite overall smartphone growth

Sales of smartphones running the Window Mobile operating system declined 20% in the third quarter at the same time that total smartphone sales surged 13%, according to an analysis of newly released sales data from Gartner.

The fact that Windows Mobile sales declined may not be a surprise, but the size of the decline is. The third quarter ended before an upgraded operating system, Windows Mobile 6.5, began shipping in October, too late to have an effect on sales figures.

But even sales of version 6.5 look lackluster.

Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi, asked by e-mail today if Windows Mobile will get a boost in the fourth quarter from the new Windows Mobile 6.5, responded: "No, not really ... you might see enough traction that might stabilize the decline."

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer criticized Windows Mobile in late September, saying that Microsoft had "screwed up with Windows Mobile." The company had recently reorganized the Windows Mobile team in advance of the 6.5 release and next year's 7.0 release.

Several industry analysts have questioned whether Windows Mobile will last beyond version 7.0.

They have explained their pessimism by noting that the operating system has been in the market far longer than the popular Apple iPhone but is still fourth in global rankings for smartphones. Some say that Microsoft might want to focus more on its Office applications as a money maker, rather than Windows Mobile.

Windows Mobile runs on dozens of different cell phones and smartphones by several device manufacturers. Only 3.2 million smartphone units running the OS were sold in the third quarter, Gartner said, down 20% from the 4.05 million phones sold in the third quarter of 2008.

As such, Windows Mobile had 7.9% of the total smartphone OS market in the third quarter, out of a total of 41 million smartphones sold to end users, Gartner said. Symbian, the OS used by Nokia devices, finished first with 44.6%, while Research in Motion's BlackBerry OS finished second with 20.8%, and the iPhone finished third with 17.1%.

Phones running Google's Android operating system began appearing on only a few smartphone models, including the G1 , by the third quarter and sold 1.4 million devices, giving it a 3.5% share, Gartner said.

Android is expected to gain steady ground in the fourth quarter and speed up in 2010 with several manufacturers offering dozens of different models. The Motorola Droid, which launched last Friday with Verizon Wireless, runs Android 2.0.

Gartner in September forecast that by 2012, Android will have 18% of the smartphone market with 94 million units sold, zipping upward into the second spot behind Symbian, with BlackBerry in third, the iPhone in fourth and Windows Mobile ranking fifth.

Gartner explained the phenomenal gains its expects for Android as stemming from the influence of Google applications and services and the open nature of Android. Some other analysts, including those at ABI Research Inc., have significantly lower forecasts for Android in 2012 than Gartner, although they still see strong Android growth.

Gartner's Milanesi noted that while Android is an open OS, it will be far from uniform on all devices, even though the Android OS share data will be reported by Gartner together as the data for Windows Mobile is. Manufacturers want to differentiate themselves within the Android platform, sometimes with software services and layers, she said.

For example, HTC has launched its "Sense" user interface with Android while Motorola has announced Motoblur, its Web-based service, on the Cliq device using Android. Meanwhile, Motorola's Droid smartphone, which runs Android, does not include Motoblur, even though some analysts and reviewers said it should, to make managing contact information easier.

Tags Windows MobileMotorolasmartphoneGartnerhtcMicrosoftAndroidiPhone

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?