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Windows phone slowly accelerates amid Android difficulties

The stars are slowly aligning in the favor of Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) mobile operating system, Windows Phone.

I. Verizon Looks to Windows Phone for Fresh Blood

After months of rumors, Verizon Wireless -- a joint subsidiary of Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) and Vodafone Group Plc. (LON:VOD) and America's largest carrier -- confirmed this week that it's going big with Windows Phones this fall.  Comments Tami Erwin, "[Big Red] sell multiple Windows Phones in the fourth quarter."

The Verizon pickup is a game-changer for Windows Phone, if nothing else because it brings in over 100 million potential customers.  To date Verizon has been a virtual non-factor in Windows Phone sales, carrying only one model -- the Trophy (nearly identical to the HD7) by HTC Corp. (TPE:2498).  Carrying weak hardware at the time of its 2011 launch and overpriced at $149 USD w/ contract, about the only thing the Trophy had going for it was the Windows Phone user interface, which generally receives the most enthusiastic reviews from device owners of any of the mobile operating systems.

The Verizon announcement opens the door to slick handsets like Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930aluminum-unibody ATIV S and Nokia Oyj.'s (HEX:NOK1Vcolorful Lumia 820/920s with PureView lenses.  Samsung is rumored to be preparing a more budget-minded 4-inch Windows Phone handset for the market.  HTC is reportedly planning a Sept. 19 Windows Phone event where it will unveil two next generation handsets.

Verizon could receive hot handsets like the Lumia 920.

Modern Windows Phone handsets have fared remarkably better than first generation models.  Thanks to better integration, more apps, and better hardware, the Lumia 900 by Nokia has become a mild hit on AT&T's network, moving a few million units, according to Seeking Alpha analyst Kyle Spencer.

And what's good for the goose is good for the gander -- Verizon Wireless's support of units like the Droid was a key driver of Android's early growth.

A leak to Engadget showed that gray and white Nokia Lumia 820 variants (the "Lumia 822") are headed to Verizon this fall.

II. Factors Stack up in Microsoft's Favor

A key driver of Windows Phone pickup has been patent litigation.  Patents have played a pivotal role in power struggles of the U.S. tech industry since its earliest days.  AT&T Inc.'s (T) precursor Bell Telegraph and Telephone initially used patents in the 1800s to build its phone and telegraph line monopoly.

Today Apple, Inc. (AAPL) is scoring massive fines and U.S. bans on various HTC and Samsung Android devices. In addition, HTC is already paying Microsoft nearly $10 per Android handset and Samsung is paying $15 per handset, so Windows Phone's relatively steep $30 USD per device [source] licensing fee suddenly doesn't look so bad.

That's not to say Android won't hang in there, but the fallout of Samsung's massive billion-dollar court loss to Apple is clearly convincing third-party mobile device makers to consider Windows Phone as a hedge to their Android bets.  Likewise, carriers like Verizon are eyeing Windows Phone devices as a hedge to their handset selection -- after all if some of your top selling Androids get banned, you want to have something to offer the customer other than just an iPhone.

Windows Phone offers Verizon a hedge against handset bans. [Image Source: PC World]

Windows Phonemakers have far less to fear thanks to Microsoft's powerful cross-licensing pact with Apple, which dates back to the 90s when it bailed out the struggling electronics veteran.  The pact has thus far completely shielded Microsoft's OEM partners from Apple's legal belligerence.

A final factor is Windows 8.  While criticism abounds among certain industry figures, the new operating system does provide one crucial advantage to Windows Phone.  By forcing the "Windows 8 theme" (formerly known as "Metro", but retitled to avoid trademark infringements with Metro AG (ETR:MEO) in Germany) on customers (via the reskinning/unwrapping of the start menu), it's pushing mass acceptance for the stylized "look" of Windows Phone.  And Windows 8 will be making a grand entrance into the mobile space itself, with a large hybrid and tablet push.

In that regard Windows Phone may experience a "halo affect", styling, software, services, and user interface similarities across the iPod, iPad, and Mac line helped bump Apple's iPhone sales.

For Microsoft -- who once owned a quarter of the mobile market, but today owns only a couple of percent of total smartphone sales -- that's great news; it will take what it can get.

Source: CNET

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Lawsuit bait
By Motoman on 9/6/2012 12:42:25 PM , Rating: 5
Prepare for a Windows Phone Explosion

There's no way they can do that - Apple clearly has all the prior art wrapped up on exploding mobile devices.

RE: Lawsuit bait
By chmilz on 9/6/2012 3:04:04 PM , Rating: 4
I dunno, Sony laptops have been exploding for quite a long time.

RE: Lawsuit bait
By Manch on 9/7/2012 10:57:10 AM , Rating: 2
True, but just like all those gestures, and everything else Apple patented the phone version. So Samsung is free to make an exploding laptop, just not a phone.

RE: Lawsuit bait
By Camikazi on 9/6/2012 3:20:25 PM , Rating: 3
Apple won't touch MS, they are terrified to mess up the cross licensing they have with the giant. That is why MS has been left out of every suit Apple has made even though if you look around you can see MS doing some of the same things as other companies.

RE: Lawsuit bait
By Manch on 9/7/2012 11:10:13 AM , Rating: 3
If you look at Samsungs new ATIV S it looks very similar to there Android phones. I hope Samsung starts making the phones identical with only the OS being different. This way if Apple sues them over Android but not MS maybe it will raise the Bull$hit flag. Or maybe Apple will be dumb enough to sue MS, and they'll get crushed.

Better yet. Since the specs are the same for the most part, I wish they just sold the hardware and geve you an option of what OS you want.

RE: Lawsuit bait
By Mint on 9/11/2012 12:58:29 PM , Rating: 2
I hope MS gives OEMs enough functionality to do things like Samsung did with the Galaxy Note 2, like opening a note during a phone call when the stylus is pulled out. That would pretty much be the perfect phone for me.

I'm glad
By FITCamaro on 9/6/2012 12:34:02 PM , Rating: 5
Windows Phone is actually a really nice OS and a great user experience.

RE: I'm glad
By NullSubroutine on 9/6/2012 1:43:11 PM , Rating: 1
I'm personally not a fan of it. But its style and interface makes more sense on a small screen than it does a desktop PC screen.

RE: I'm glad
By kleinma on 9/6/2012 2:25:37 PM , Rating: 2
Actually it works just fine on a desktop PC screen.

I run dual LCDs at home, 27" and 22", and I have been using Win8 RTM since it was available, and tested the 3 betas before that. It did take me a little time to adjust, mostly to the fact that I have a bad habit of closing windows by double clicking their top left corner (not the top right corner X), just a habit I have had way too long, and one that doesn't play well on a maximized window in Win8 desktop. However that is really my own deal, since double clicking one corner is really more work than single clicking the proper corner. SO it is little stuff like that, but after you get used to the few changes, and after you play with the start screen, it really does mesh well, even with the desktop. Also on dual monitor setups, the desktop is always visible on 1 of them. The start screen itself is a 1 LCD pony.

On the desktop side of things, there are enough improvements to make the switch worth it. Drive spaces, the new unified file copying with pause, ribbon UI in explorer, etc...

RE: I'm glad
By NullSubroutine on 9/6/2012 5:50:59 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure why I was rating down. All I was saying was while most people don't have a problem with on phones or tablets (response to previous person saying he did like it), but others do find fault with it on the PC desktop.

Its like being down rated for saying today its raining.

Good for you for liking it, as I said, I personally don't find the functionality or visual style something I would spend money on, but to each their own.

RE: I'm glad
By Mint on 9/11/2012 12:43:57 PM , Rating: 2
People have been saying that, but it's mostly unjustified.

Why is the Win8 UI any less suited for a desktop than Win7? It's basically a giant start menu that does a lot more. Live tiles may give you the info you want without even launching the program. Keyboard searches show more results than with Win7. Commonly accessed apps can be given larger tiles for easy clicking. The bridge MS is forming between desktop and mobile can only lead to good things. Finally, it's just plain pretty.

I just don't get what the big disadvantage is.

RE: I'm glad
By althaz on 9/6/2012 9:46:29 PM , Rating: 2
I have gone from Win 8 on desktop hater to lover and most of the people I know who have tried the RTM versions have done the same, but like you, we all have dual monitors. I think on a single screen it might not be as good (except on tablets, where it's awesome).

The other thing is it might not be as good on laptops where you don't have a real mouse, because otherwise I can't understand any of the hate (unless people are talking about the previews, which all sucked, really hard).

By bchandler02 on 9/6/2012 1:18:46 PM , Rating: 3
I'm going to laugh when crApple and the droid gang get so tied up in lawsuits and kill each other.. and BB makes a huge comeback at their expense.

RE: Blackberry
By BeauP on 9/6/12, Rating: 0
RE: Blackberry
By Pirks on 9/6/2012 8:41:39 PM , Rating: 3
suck ma torch

RE: Blackberry
By Ramstark on 9/10/2012 8:52:32 PM , Rating: 2
Now that's why I read DT...LOL you just made my day xD

RE: Blackberry
By bupkus on 9/6/2012 1:55:15 PM , Rating: 1

RE: Blackberry
By retrospooty on 9/7/12, Rating: 0
I like WP8 and competition is great
By tayb on 9/6/2012 1:12:53 PM , Rating: 3
I haven't used WP7 as my day to day phone but during my limited experience with the Lumia I was very impressed. I wish I could swap my Droid X for a Lumia but I remember at one point being in love with Android before the frustrations and annoyances set in so I'll reserve final judgement until I've had a year with a phone. I'm going to make a WP my next phone simply because it is the only OS I haven't tried yet. I loved iOS at first then became annoyed with it, enjoyed BB at first before becoming annoyed with it, and loved Android at first before growing to absolutely hate my phone. I would like to give WP8 a shot now.

I do like the added competition though. The Android App Store UI essentially validates the Metro UI.

By althaz on 9/6/2012 10:00:31 PM , Rating: 2
I am in a similar camp to you. I went from iPhone 3GS (the first iPhone that wasn't terrible) to the Galaxy SII to the Lumia 800. iOS just feels dated and more than a little poorly designed, also iPhones are not very reliable.

The S2 was better, but SOOOOOOOO slow compared to the cheap Windows Phone my wife had (LG Optimus 7 IIRC). I've had the Lumia 800 since it was released and it's WAY better than either of my previous phones.

Much sturdier, more reliable, a LOT LOT LOT faster, the GPS navigation works properly (in Australia), the speaker volume is much louder, battery lasts longer (although still not long enough, unless you use battery saver mode), the phone itself actually looks good (the new iPhones also look good, but mine looked hideous, people comment positively on my Lumia every time I get it out pretty much) and most of all it's a LOT easier to use.

Let's just wait to see what models they get
By jimbojimbo on 9/6/2012 1:10:51 PM , Rating: 2
I read somewhere that they were going to get the Nokia 820 but not the 920. If that's true it'll be Verizon yet again just selling lower end WP8 products.

By Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer on 9/6/2012 3:15:23 PM , Rating: 2
Well, given their new pricing structure, this is all academic to me...I'd much rather keep paying AT&T a little over $80 to get service that would cost me over $100 at Verizon... :-\

More competition!
By quiksilvr on 9/6/2012 12:38:45 PM , Rating: 3
I always love to see healthy competition in the tech industry. AMD and Intel got their feathers ruffled by ARM, hopefully we will see similar happenings in the mobile industry.

htc one x+ and 8x leaked
By sikku on 9/8/2012 5:45:05 AM , Rating: 2
htc's two new handsets leaked out htc one x+ and htc 8x one is android 4.1 and other is windows 8 powered here are details at

middle finger to windows phone
By SPOOOK on 9/6/12, Rating: -1
RE: middle finger to windows phone
By Pirks on 9/7/12, Rating: -1
RE: middle finger to windows phone
By 91TTZ on 9/7/2012 10:25:18 AM , Rating: 2
While the person to which you replied clearly elaborated in detail about his perceived shortcomings of the Windows Phone, your reply was crafted with such clarity and eloquence that it successfully converted me and I now see things your way.

RE: middle finger to windows phone
By Pirks on 9/7/2012 11:17:08 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not going to convert anyone when I tell dumb idiot to go fuck himself, and I know this. I just call the things their real names, that's all.

By zlandar on 9/6/12, Rating: -1
RE: Zzzz
By Motoman on 9/6/2012 1:28:37 PM , Rating: 2
...and the rest of us *might* stop yawing about Macs if they ever get to 10% of the market.

RE: Zzzz
By zlandar on 9/6/2012 2:56:49 PM , Rating: 2
I don't have a Mac.

I don't want a Mac.

I don't want a Windows smartphone either.

RE: Zzzz
By Gungel on 9/6/2012 4:41:15 PM , Rating: 2
There is an app for that:
Get the Ceton Companion app for WP8.

Puff piece...
By jnemesh on 9/6/12, Rating: -1
Zero Impact
By Reclaimer77 on 9/6/12, Rating: -1
RE: Zero Impact
By Gungel on 9/6/2012 4:43:43 PM , Rating: 2
Of course there is. Verizon fears that Apple could ban the import of Android devices and Apple itself could start a law suit against anyone that imports and sells Android phones.

RE: Zero Impact
By Reclaimer77 on 9/6/2012 4:55:49 PM , Rating: 1
The only devices that could get banned are legacy phones nobody is even buying anyway though.

RE: Zero Impact
By Gungel on 9/7/2012 9:48:00 AM , Rating: 2
Not really, the Galaxy S3 was added to the list of devices to be banned from the US market.

RE: Zero Impact
By retrospooty on 9/7/2012 10:53:57 AM , Rating: 2
No, the original list remains. the S3 was added to the next case that wont be tried for months. Also, it was designed around avoiding Apple's rediculous lawsuits and jury's arent likely to be as easily duped as they were on older models.

By tayb on 9/6/2012 1:33:25 PM , Rating: 5
First off, in day to use the difference between 800x480 and any higher resolution is completely worthless. It's just fodder for fanboys to pound their chests about. In all actuality a lower resolution screen should have better battery life and performance.

Second, the Nokia 920 has a 768x1280 screen. The Nokia 820 has a 800x480 screen but that is the low end model that will either be free or $99 with a contract. I don't know the resolution of the new Samsung WP but the specs list a 4.8" HD Super AMOLED display.

By tayb on 9/6/2012 1:53:52 PM , Rating: 3
Increasing the resolution thereby making the text smaller makes the text more readable? Seems backward. I have a Droid X with a resolution of 480x854 and the only time the resolution would be a problem is if I were viewing a non-mobile website and refused to zoom in. In this scenario increasing the resolution would make the text crisper but it would not make it larger. You will zoom in anyway so how does the resolution help?

The announcement from Verizon didn't preclude the 920 or other devices from other manufacturers. What you're referring to is a leaked document detailing plans to sell the 820. How do you know another document doesn't exist detailing plans to sell the 920?

By tayb on 9/6/2012 2:18:21 PM , Rating: 3
You just answered your own question. It's nice to be able to read without performing the extra gestures of zooming in, then scrolling all over. Plus, images look much better with higher resolution.

Except you can't read it zoomed out because the text is too small... because of the super high resolution. So, you'll zoom in because the text is too small or you'll zoom in because the text isn't sharp enough. Either way, you're zooming in. It's not a gesture, it's a double tap.

I'm go with certain and known quantities, otherwise how do you know there isn't a document detailing the plans to sell the next generation holographic smartphone from Apple/Samsung?

A leaked document isn't a known quantity. The only known quantity is that Verizon made a statement that it is going to make a bigger Windows Phone push. That's it.

By 91TTZ on 9/7/2012 10:21:52 AM , Rating: 1
Except you can't read it zoomed out because the text is too small... because of the super high resolution. So, you'll zoom in because the text is too small or you'll zoom in because the text isn't sharp enough. Either way, you're zooming in. It's not a gesture, it's a double tap.

I'm able to read the small text on the iPhone 4S just fine. I don't need to zoom in.

By BifurcatedBoat on 9/7/2012 5:56:10 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't make the text smaller since the actual physical size of text on most mobile browsers is based on whatever zoom you choose.

We're mostly past the days of resolution-dependent fonts on the desktop, and I'm not sure that's ever been an issue on mobile devices.

By B3an on 9/6/2012 6:14:36 PM , Rating: 3
Are you actually trying to embarrass yourself?

The 820 is a lower-end cheaper phone and you're comparing it to high-end phones??

Compared to what it will be competing with in the same league, it's much better than most alternatives.

By bupkus on 9/6/2012 1:48:49 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know the resolution of the new Samsung WP but the specs list a 4.8" HD Super AMOLED display
Now this is getting interesting.

By Mitch101 on 9/7/2012 2:26:22 PM , Rating: 3
Check out the low light ability of the Nokia compared to the Galaxy S3 and iPhone

Also HTC Zenith will come with a Quad core processor.

By FITCamaro on 9/6/2012 1:34:44 PM , Rating: 3
Technology elitism at its best.

By Pirks on 9/6/2012 8:34:47 PM , Rating: 1
Once again brain damaged Reclaimer troll failed to understand that WP8 phones have also models with the 1280x768 and 1280x720 resolutions like the ATIV S and the Lumia 920.

By Pirks on 9/7/2012 4:18:54 AM , Rating: 2
Talking to a piece of wood is more productive than talking to Reclaimer. You're just wasting your time.

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