updated 02:22 pm EST, Fri November 29, 2013
Microsoft soon to hold three-quarters of own mobile destiny
Nokia's Lumia line of smartphones now accounts for more than three out of four total Windows Phone devices in the hands of consumers, according to Ad Duplex. ZDNet reported this week on Nokia's increasing dominance over the Windows Phone environment, revealing numbers indicating that the soon-to-be Microsoft-owned line of devices has only grown its share as the platform has gradually expanded. Most of Nokia's growth, though, has come in the low-end handset market, an arena where competition is increasing rapidly.
The figures show Nokia's Lumia line with 76.6 percent share in the Windows Phone device market, with devices from other manufacturers - including Samsung, HTC, and ZTE - accounting for the remainder. By far, the most popular handset is the Lumia 520, a low-end device with a 1GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, 512MB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage. The 520 alone holds 26.5 percent of the Windows Phone market, with the nearest competitor being the Lumia 920, which was released in November of last year.
Nokia's position means that Microsoft will soon essentially be in control of its own destiny in the smartphone market. Earlier this year, the software giant agreed to purchase Nokia's hardware operations for $7.2 billion. Even though it bought Nokia, Microsoft has worked to assure its manufacturing partners that it intends to keep its platform open for licensing.
Nokia's dominance over the Windows Phone market is not a new development. Earlier this year, a study revealed that Lumia devices held eight out of the top 10 spots among bestselling Windows Phone handsets. While Nokia famously adopted a "bet the company" strategy focusing solely on the Windows platform, other manufacturers like Samsung and HTC also make devices running Google's Android, the most popular smartphone platform in the world.
Nokia's Windows Phone sales have gradually increased over the past year. In the most recent quarter, the company sold 8.8 million Lumia devices.
The low-end segment where Nokia's bestselling phone thrives, though, is about to become more crowded. Motorola just introduced the Moto G, which packs a 4.5-inch screen, 720p resolution, 1GB of RAM, and a quad-core processor. Despite those specs, Motorola is only charging $179 for the device off contract. Additional low-end entries from Samsung and others will also serve to increase the pressure on the Lumia line, and subsequently the Windows Phone platform.
While Microsoft has continually improved its mobile platform, Windows Phone has only recently begun to approach double figures in terms of market share. Apple's iOS and Google's Android dominate the smartphone segment in terms of platform market share. Together, the two operating systems account for more than 90 percent of smartphones shipped worldwide.