Is Windows Phone 7 really a huge success?

Are reports of heavy consumer demand accurate, or just marketing spin in action?

Consumers can't get enough of Windows Phone 7, according to reports of strong customer demand Tuesday. T-Mobile, one of two U.S. wireless carriers currently offering Win Phone 7 devices, can't keep the Win Phone 7-based HTC DH7 in stock (it sold out soon after its debut), according to TG Daily.

But just how popular is Windows Phone 7 versus its main competitors, the Apple iPhone and dozens of Google Android devices? TheStreet.com, quoting numbers from an unnamed "market research source" who tracks phone sales, reports that Microsoft and its partners sold 40,000 Win Phone 7 phones on Monday. That figure isn't particularly impressive when stacked against daily sales of iPhone and Android devices, which tally 270,000 and 200,000 respectively, according to recent claims by Apple and Google.

Windows Phone 7 is in its infancy, of course, and few industry watchers expect it to match those gaudy iPhone and Android sales stats out of the gate. Still, claims of Win Phone 7 sell-outs imply a pent-up consumer demand. It's unclear, however, if a Win Phone 7 frenzy truly exists, or if what we're witnessing here is marketing spin in action.

If you're a cynic (or perhaps a realist) and adopt the latter view, you'd probably question how a mobile OS targeted at people who don't like smart phones could whip up any sort of frenzy at all. A new Microsoft press release, for instance, pokes fun at adults who exhibit "bad mobile phone behavior" by using handsets in bed, dropping them in toilets, and tripping or walking into something while using their phones.

The subtext here is the Windows Phone 7 is for normal, well-adjusted folk-not those iPhone-loving freaks who line up outside Apple Stores at 3 a.m. to buy Steve Jobs' latest creation.

So would Microsoft's target consumers rush out and buy a Win 7 device? A few would, certainly, but most probably wouldn't. They'd likely wait until their flip phone contract expires, then shop around for a new handset on the cheap.

As Microsoft's ad campaign suggests, it's just a smartphone. Don't get too excited.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci via Twitter (@jbertolucci) or at jbertolucci.blogspot.com.

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Jeff Bertolucci

PC World (US online)
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