There are so many smartphone platforms in 2013 and the smartphone competition is intense. There is Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Mozilla Firefox OS and Ubuntu Touch OS. Jolla’s Sailfish and Tizen are estimating to come to market by next year. Apart from Android, no smartphone platform is gunning for all the price ranges. iOS is stuck at higher price range and Microsoft’s Windows Phone currently has plans only for mid and high price range.
On the other hand Mozilla is gunning heavily towards the lower end phones. Let us have a look at why Windows is struggling in a market where they have been for more than couple of decades. These are the reasons from a consumer’s perspective.
Consumer Perspective: Am I Getting Enough Device Options In My Price Range?
Whenever someone is looking out to buy a smartphone, the first factor to decide is the price range and how much they can afford. So, for an operating system to succeed in India, it has to be present in almost every price range as there are no carrier subsidized smartphones available here.
Most of the consumers use pay as you go (PAYG) or pre-paid SIM cards and plans. So consumers have to pay for the device upfront completely. Most of the phones sold in India are in lower or mid-price range category.
Windows Phone based smartphones start from a price range of INR 9K (Nokia Lumia 510) to a price range of INR 34K (Lumia 920 price in India). This may look like a wide rage, but mind you, there are only 10 handsets available in the market that are running Windows Phone OS.
There aren’t enough device options and price options in Windows Phone. If you compare it with Android, there are probably more than 100 different device options, that too with a variety of form factors; touch bar, landscape slide-out QWERTY, portrait QWERTY and more.
Another missing thing is, there is no option in Windows Phone yet to release dual SIM phones on it, of which, there is a huge demand, especially in emerging markets like India and China.
Why should a consumer buy a Windows Phone? Microsoft needs to set loose or drop down its hardware requirements if they want to sell more devices.
Consumer Perspective: Am I Getting Features & Apps That I Want?
There are a lot of features and customizable options that are missing in the arsenal of Windows Phone. Take for example the missing notifications bar, which is so simple of a feature that should exist in every smartphone these days. You can’t even use different type of keyboards that you like. There is no file manager if you want to manage files from within the device. Even if you want to transfer some media to your phone, you need to connect it via an iTunes like companion software which feels like a burden.
Windows Phone still lacks the amount of applications and games that Android offers. Although the total app count is over 125K, most of them are paid and don’t offer the amount of functionality that even the free version of Android app offers.
Some of the high end games are coming to Windows Phone Store slowly but they are only compatible with high end phones. There are very less apps which people would want to use in their everyday lives such as Instagram and Flipboard.
Even the applications and games are costlier in Windows Phone Store. Believe it or not, people try to pirate the applications on smartphones and it is too hard for a user to install pirated apps and games on Windows Phone hardware.
On the other hand, using Android, just download the installation file (APK) from the internet, go to a file manager, click on the file and it’s installed! Then why bother about buying a Windows Phone device if it is harder and costlier to use?
Consumer Perspective: Will I Get Good Resale Value?
If anything sells less, will there ever be a change that you get a good resale value of that thing?… No!
Either you will be stuck using the same device or you have to lose a large amount of money to sell it. After this experience, why would a user ever want to buy a product similar to it after having a bad experience?
Also, the pace at which Windows Phone is getting updates, Windows Phone is poised to loose. Even if they accomplish in getting to a lower cost, there are already enough competitors handsets in the market based on Android.
There are even new entrants in the market such as Mozilla Firefox OS which is built especially for emerging markets and low cost devices. Then there is Ubuntu which is completely open source which may attract geeky audience helping them tweak and tinker with the OS and make it their own through customizations. If Microsoft needs to compete with Android, iOS (upcoming Tizen, Jolla, Firefox & Ubuntu), they need more apps, reduce app pricing, reduce device licensing cost and give more device options. Also, they need to update their OS with more features, more frequently.