Nokia has just sent out a few preliminary comments about the company’s performance during the fourth quarter of 2012. Nokia’s figures are a good indicator for how well Windows Phone 8 is doing, and, in all honesty, I’m not exactly blown away. Apparently, neither was Nokia itself, since the company decided to redefine their Asha phones from feature phone to smartphone to prop up their smartphone sales figures.
Nokia claims to have sold 15.9 million smartphones, which seems like a decent figure – until you realise the company cheekily included its Asha feature phones into that figure. The Asha line consists of phones running S40, which blurs the line between feature phones and smartphones. A pretty crucial criterion for a smartphone are extensive APIs and installable applications. Series 40 does run Java ME applications, but so did many clearly feature phones from the past.
In all honesty though, I know too little about Series 40 or Java ME to declare it a smartphone or feature phone platform. In the end, it’s also all pretty damn irrelevant, but what is clear is that Nokia is feeling the need to artificially pad its numbers by moving their Asha phones from the feature phone category to smartphones.
This quarter also marks the first one in which Windows Phone devices – the Lumia range – outsold the Symbian line, 4.4 million versus 2.2. We have no breakdown between Windows Phone 7 and 8, so it might be that the ridiculously cheap Lumia 800s and such, which they were almost giving away for free with cereal boxes, is padding those numbers.
It’s still pretty insubstantial, though, for the Windows Phone platform, and considering HTC’s dreadful financial results, it’s unlikely the Taiwanese phone maker is bringing anything substantial to the table (no matter how much I love my HTC 8X). Right now, it’s basically the desktop Linux of the smartphone world, and it still shows in application selection and quality. Windows Phone 8 was released months ago, and yet many popular applications still haven’t been updated to properly support it. It just isn’t on developers’ radars.
So yeah, I’m calling it: we’re going to get a Surface phone this year. Samsung doesn’t take Windows Phone 8 seriously, HTC is a deer caught in the headlights, and Nokia’s 4.4 million devices aren’t going to turn things around either. People simply aren’t buying Windows Phone 8 devices right now, no matter how many millions of dollars of marketing HTC and Nokia are throwing around. It’s probably time Microsoft took matters into its own hands.
Microsfot’s bribe that caused Nokia to drop their Linux and Qt involvement actually had wider effects than some people might think. Besides developing their mobile OSes Nokia was also sponsoring many related projects, for example Telepathy development through Collabora, since it helped Nokia to use it for their messaging and communication projects. After their shift they stopped this sponsorship, which obviously reduced resources for these kind of projects and slowed down XMPP advancement.
So I don’t really feel sorry for Nokia.
Edited 2013-01-10 17:49 UTC