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Budget handsets seem to be driving a pickup in sales

While flashy handsets like Nokia/Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT41 megapixel Lumia 1020 have captured the bulk of advertising and tech blog attention, it appears to be budget devices that are buoying Windows Phone sales

I. Windows Phone Sees Booming Demand for Lumia 521

It hasn't been an easy road for Windows Phone, which struggled to even make it third place, following its launch in Nov. 2010.  But much like Google Inc.'s (GOOGrelationship with Motorola Mobility and later HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) helped to elevate it Android brand from obscurity in its early days, Microsoft's relationship with Nokia and patient financial commitment to maturing is platform is at last starting to pay off.

And much like Android the biggest gains have come on the low end.
Lumia 20
A Nokia Lumia 520 budget WP8 device

Much of the best insight into Windows Phone use comes from a cross-platform, global advertising network AdDuplex, which releases monthly reports examining which Windows Phone devices connect to its network.  While unit sales doth not connections make, the figure still gives a rough idea to which devices are most used.

New data released by AdDuplex shows that the Lumia 521 -- which launched near the end of April -- has abruptly leapt from 8 percent of the market in August to 19.2 percent in September, a jump that makes it the top Windows Phone device.  The higher end Lumia 920 dipped from 16 percent of total connections to 12.9 percent, as it was outpaced by the sales growth of its budget kin.

Take a look at the August data....

AdDuplex WinPhone Stats

...versus the data for this month.

AdDuplex WinPhone Stats

According to AdDuplex it's less an issue of poor sales on the high end and more a tale of faste growth on the low end.  Both HTC's popular 8X and the Lumia 822 on Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) subsidiary Verizon Wireless (the largest carrier in the U.S.) saw similar dips in WinPhone-specific market share, despite selling strong.

AdDuplex stats
AdDuplex's own numbers show the Lumia 1020 (shown here in weekly ad connections v. the Lumia 928) is selling relatively well, though. 

This reflects commentary from Canaccord Genuity Group Inc.‘s (TSE:CF) Mike Walkley, who in an early September research note observed:

Our surveys indicated positive sales rep reviews and decent sales for the Lumia 1020 at AT&T. Further, our surveys indicated positive reviews though modest sales for the entry- level Lumia 521 and high-tier Lumia 925 at T-Mobile. However, our global surveys indicate gradually improving Windows Phone 8 smartphone sales due to strong sales of the Lumia 520 and other mid/low-tier Lumia smartphones. In fact, our surveys indicated solid Lumia 520 sales not only in emerging markets such as Russia and key APAC region countries but also in developed markets such as the UK and the US. We believe the growing Lumia sales, especially in the harder-to-track mid/low-tier smartphone segments, are leading to gradual WP8 smartphone share gains.

The Lumia 521 is reportedly doing very well in emerging markets like India and China.  It's a much-needed development for Nokia who is likely looking to eventually mothball its higher end feature phones, such as the Asha line, which run a non-Microsoft operating system (likely scheduled for mothballing now that Microsoft is running the show).

Aside from the HTC 8X, the only other charting non-Lumia phone was the Huawei Technologies Comp. (SHE:002502Ascend W1.  The Huawei device was the cheapest Windows Phone 8 device at the time of its launch earlier this year, and is proving a tough competitor for the Lumia 521 on the low end.

II. Back Button Isn't Being Killed After All

In other related news The Verge is reporting that its sources are indicating that the piece from top Windows blogger Paul Thurrott regarding the premature death of the hardware back button appears to be a misunderstanding.  It didn't take long for sites to seize on the piece, which Mr. Thurrott made clear was a rumor.  And by and large the terms used were much more sensation -- e.g. "Microsoft KILLS the Back Button".

Needless to say, for the small, but growing contingent of Windows Phone users, this evoked mixed reactions.

Lumia 900
(Click image to enlarge) [©: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC]

But the new piece from The Verge claims Microsoft is not killing the button at all, but rather loosening its hardware spec to allow developers to replace the Windows (home), Back, and Search buttons with touch-screen virtual button equivalents, which would appear on a reserved black space on the bottom of the screen on participating devices.

The latest report cites a source as explaining that virtual buttons would be allowed "in an effort to lower costs for device manufacturers".  Indeed, not including touch screen button hardware could trim at $10-20 USD off a Windows Phone device -- good news for budget Windows Phone growth.


The Nexus 4 excercises a similar strategy to Microsoft's reported plan for softbuttons.
At the same time it's possible you may see the occasional all-touch premium handset (as is the case with the menu bar on Google's Nexus line), but overall most OEMs are expected to keep hardware buttons in place -- including the back button -- in their higher end models, assuming the report is accurate.

The new Windows Phone 8.1 update -- codenamed "Windows Phone Blue" is expected to launch sometime next month; unlike last time most, if not all Windows Phone 8 devices should be eligible for this upgrade.

Sources: The Verge, AdDuplex [1], [2]

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Android has peaked
By Da W on 10/16/2013 8:24:30 AM , Rating: 3
There are only modest to no gains Android can make, since almost everybody has one. Since Apple is stabilizing and shouldn't make gains either, i think more and more people will try WP... and love it.

RE: Android has peaked
By Tony Swash on 10/16/13, Rating: 0
RE: Android has peaked
By mhectorgato on 10/16/2013 9:37:28 AM , Rating: 3
I guess the recent doubling of the the iPhone launch weekend sales year on year was part of that 'stabilization'.

I wonder what the percentage of those were upgrades vs Android/WP/other converts.

RE: Android has peaked
By Stuka on 10/16/2013 11:24:09 AM , Rating: 2
I would bet my week's wages that the majority were upping from the iPhone4. Every person I know is on a 4 or 4s. That leads me to believe that most people skipped the 5 and are now due for upgrade.

RE: Android has peaked
By Mitch101 on 10/16/2013 1:05:40 PM , Rating: 4
Why does anyone care?

If your happy with your phone nothing else matters. Im happy with Windows Phone I don't particularly care if someone doesn't like Windows Phone. I just don't like people who make up stuff about other devices they never have tried to use and passing it off as fact. If someone is happy with iPhone or Android then good for them. There is no one phone that is perfect and if it is in 3 month there is a more perfect phone despite it doing nothing more than any previous phone in the last 2 years can do.

I like Windows Phone because the OS is rock solid and Nokia makes a rock solid phone that doesn't need a protective case making the buttons inaccessible and doubling the size of the design. Great camera as well but others aren't that far behind. That keeps me happy and a future customer. Im sure Apple and Android people feel the same.

If its been solid and it fits you your done. If it crashes and blurry pics and your not happy then by all means its nice there are alternatives.

RE: Android has peaked
By JasonMick on 10/16/2013 4:24:04 PM , Rating: 4
I like Windows Phone because the OS is rock solid and Nokia makes a rock solid phone that doesn't need a protective case making the buttons inaccessible and doubling the size of the design. Great camera as well but others aren't that far behind. That keeps me happy and a future customer. Im sure Apple and Android people feel the same.

If its been solid and it fits you your done. If it crashes and blurry pics and your not happy then by all means its nice there are alternatives.
I'm with you here.

I'm not a big fan of Samsung's shiny/slippery plastics... they feel too... slick in my hands when I've played with them. But if you're okay with that or prefer it even, that's your bag -- I think that's great for you.

If I were to buy a non Windows Phone it'd probably be the HTC One Max or iPhone 5S.

That said I have no big complaints about Windows Phone and a lot of good things to say about it. About the only major flaw I see is there's less games (particularly free ones) as there are on Android and iOS. But I preface that with the caveat that there are some of good exclusive titles from Microsoft Studios etc. on it too. But either way, that has had little impact on me as I work a lot and don't have time to sit around playing games on my phone very often.

Otherwise, Windows Phone is fast, very stable, easy to navigate. The Lumia takes great pictures despite being over a year old. I've (accidentally) literally thrown the poor phone multiple times onto various forms of concrete pavement, wood floors, carpeted floors etc. and it has zero screen scratches/damages and almost no visible body scratches despite that.

Literally if you love your device feel free to say it -- I have no problem if you love your iPhone or Android, as Mitch said.

But I think in durability its hard to find a phone that beats the Lumias.

When you can literally throw your phone onto concrete and there's no damage, that's a pretty solid little device.

RE: Android has peaked
By Mitch101 on 10/16/2013 7:56:34 PM , Rating: 2
I agree would like to see more games but rarely have time and personally I don't like the controls of a mobile/tablet if I game I want a keyboard/mouse/etc but maybe Kinect style controls will be here for mobile devices. Im looking at building a steam console for the living room just need to upgrade the HTPC with a good graphics card instead of the baseline for h.264 decoding. Most likely will give it my Radeon 6870 when I upgrade.

If it weren't for Windows Phone I probably would opt for an HTC One or Galaxy S3 but Ive never been so frustrated with Android devices than with the several I and my wife have owned. Even a bunch of my friend going you got to get an Android. Its not like I didn't try them nor skimped they just never panned out for me or my wife while Windows Phone just keeps going. I cant fathom how many pictures or calls we missed because of various issues with Android devices.

Whats that insanity quote of doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome well that's my journey with Android it just didn't work out and Ive been through 2 generations of you don't know its different know to care. I found devices that work reliably and Im sticking with it. Whats wrong with that? Why would I want to take another chance on an OS that didn't work out multiple times? Im done Windows Phone worked day 1 till today my wife never complains any more problems solved.

RE: Android has peaked
By dew111 on 10/18/2013 4:40:38 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, my cyan Lumia 920 was a champ. It was built like a tank, and when I sold it to T-Mobile, the guy was shocked how pristine it was. I traded in for the Lumia 925, and I really love it. It's thinner and lighter, and really great. Despite being thinner, it still feels really solid.

And, since it's not unibody, I was able to transplant wireless charging into it. I fell in love with wireless charging on the 920, and the 925 charging shells made it as bulky as a 920. The "surgery" was not for the faint of heart, but with patience and the right tools it can be done :)

And I've been amazed, I have had to remove the back plastic piece far more than I would have liked, and it still snaps in great every time, which is crazy because it is pretty thin. Nokia knows what they're doing.

RE: Android has peaked
By Bubbacub on 10/16/2013 9:58:02 AM , Rating: 4
hey mods, could we have a thing whereby tony swash's posts automatically start at -1?

it would save everyone a load of hassle

RE: Android has peaked
By augiem on 10/16/2013 1:49:23 PM , Rating: 2
Judging how quickly every single one of his posts gets voted to -1 no matter how many times he posts in a topic and no matter what the content of the post, I'd wager someone out there is already taking it into their own hands by having many accounts they use to downvote him (and probably upvote themselves at times).

RE: Android has peaked
By Cheesew1z69 on 10/16/2013 1:51:34 PM , Rating: 3
Or, there are people who don't post, that just don't like him and his posts and down rate....

RE: Android has peaked
By retrospooty on 10/16/2013 2:17:43 PM , Rating: 4
Yup... The problem with constantly posting one sided, company first, never ending biased comments is that on the occasion you say something that makes sense, no-one cares or to bothers to read it because you are a known nutjob that cant be taken seriously. - Tony is just the boy who cried Apple far too many times.

RE: Android has peaked
By Mitch101 on 10/16/2013 2:53:08 PM , Rating: 2
If Tony has caused you to switch from Android, Windows, Blackberry, or Palm device to an iPhone or any Apple product please raise your hand now.

RE: Android has peaked
By Da W on 10/16/2013 3:26:06 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Android has peaked
By Mitch101 on 10/16/2013 3:41:24 PM , Rating: 3
Tony Swash -1
Im starting to think the -1 is part of his user account.

Let me try this
If Tony has caused you to switch TO Android, Windows, Blackberry, or Palm device FROM an iPhone or any Apple product please raise your hand now.

RE: Android has peaked
By Mint on 10/16/2013 10:09:26 AM , Rating: 2
Launch weekend sales are generally about supply, and rarely mean anything. The 5 was probably a bit more difficult to manufacture and stockpile than the 5s.

Overall, it's pretty clear that worldwide Apple market share isn't going to go up. The biggest growth is outside the G8, where $600/phone is palatable for a much smaller part of the market.

Windows Phone has an advantage here in being very slick and smooth even when you use a low end CPU. The 520/521's CPU isn't that low-end, but reviewers generally say it blows away any similarly priced Android phone. The app issue is too minimal to matter for the low end, too.

RE: Android has peaked
By Reclaimer77 on 10/16/13, Rating: -1
RE: Android has peaked
By InsGadget on 10/16/2013 3:22:47 PM , Rating: 2
A 480p on a small screen isn't THAT bad. Definite first world problem.

RE: Android has peaked
By YearOfTheDingo on 10/16/2013 3:53:47 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah. The screen on the 620 is less than 2 inches across, so we're looking at 250 DPI. It's only a problem for those living in the Marvel universe.

RE: Android has peaked
By Mitch101 on 10/16/2013 3:39:16 PM , Rating: 2
Just shut up. Nothing wrong with 480p on a 5" screen.

New Corvette Stingray is not as fast as the Bugatti Veyron I guess that makes it crap.

RE: Android has peaked
By Reclaimer77 on 10/16/2013 5:32:35 PM , Rating: 2
I specifically didn't comment on the CPU, so your car comparison is retarded.

And secondly, lol you know I won't "shut up".

480p on a 5" is vastly inferior, even at the low end. I just cannot pretend otherwise, and neither should you.

RE: Android has peaked
By retrospooty on 10/16/2013 5:53:04 PM , Rating: 2
OMG... This guy.

On a 5 inch screen 720p is getting low at 293 PPI. 480 is just heinous.

RE: Android has peaked
By Reclaimer77 on 10/16/2013 6:00:06 PM , Rating: 2
He's a Luddite, plain and simple.

RE: Android has peaked
By troysavary on 10/16/2013 8:33:17 PM , Rating: 4
You keep saying Luddite. I don't think that works means what you think it means.

A Luddite is a person who fears or loaths new technology because it may replace them or change their way of life. Saying something less than top of the line is adequate for your needs does not make one a Luddite.

RE: Android has peaked
By Samus on 10/16/2013 9:19:29 PM , Rating: 2
Nothing with a screen larger than 4" should be 480p. Even 5" 'budget' phones should be at least 720p.

First of all, you're putting this thing pretty close to your face, so the DPI really matters. This isn't a 55" Samsung TV across the room.

Second, the display should be clear enough to display a webpage's text without the need to zoom. I think pretty much everybody can agree that zooming on a phone is stupid, a concept invented by the iPhone because at the time, it had a low-res 3.5" screen and zooming was required. With modern, large, high-res screens, zooming shouldn't be needed for browsing.

Third, there is a balance of battery life. There is such a thing as too high of resolution. The more pixels, the more energy needed to drive/refresh the display. Additionally, the more graphics power needed to drive the resolution. Balance is necessary. 720p is really a sweet spot, but if the screen is larger than 5", I believe 1080p can be justified. I personally wouldn't need 1080p unless the device was greater than 6" like the Note III or small tablet. But that's me. I'm usually right about things though ;)

RE: Android has peaked
By retrospooty on 10/16/2013 11:44:57 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly... These people that say they cant tell the difference either have eyesight problems, or are straight up lying. It's like being told by a color blind person that colors dont matter.

RE: Android has peaked
By Mitch101 on 10/16/2013 7:44:13 PM , Rating: 3
Just proving your all about the specs.

RE: Android has peaked
By Reclaimer77 on 10/16/2013 9:38:43 PM , Rating: 2
Yes what a horrible thing to care about...on a technology forum!

RE: Android has peaked
By retrospooty on 10/16/2013 11:42:56 PM , Rating: 2
It's not specs for the sake of specs, its a spec that affects everything you look at on the device. If you cant see the difference between 1920x1080 and 800x480 on a 5 inch phone you need glasses badly.

RE: Android has peaked
By CaedenV on 10/16/2013 4:36:02 PM , Rating: 4
Ya, it is a crap screen to be sure... but you are talking about a phone that was $100 at launch and is now typically $80 and can be found on sale for $50. And all of those prices are WITHOUT a contract.
Lets compare that base model phone with similar android devices. With those phones you get a crap product in general, and in many cases unable to even connect to the Google Play store. At least this gets you a decent case, cpu, store access, office, proper map and gps software, and a browser. Even the camera is not horrible for what it is. For $50-80 there are a lot of people buying, and very few complaining. I know if my 920 died on me for some reason then I would deal with a 520 or 521 as a cheap replacement to run out my contract. Sure, I would be slumming it, but it is hands down the best sub $100 device you are going to run across.

RE: Android has peaked
By Jeffk464 on 10/16/2013 5:40:06 PM , Rating: 2
I'm probably going to go with the 521 and thats coming from a galaxy nexus. $100 phone and $30 a month Tmobile plan is tough to beat for people that don't use the phone that much.

RE: Android has peaked
By Reclaimer77 on 10/16/2013 6:39:02 PM , Rating: 2
Why would you go from a Galaxy Nexus to a 521? That's a massive downgrade. What's the rest of the story?

RE: Android has peaked
By Mitch101 on 10/16/2013 7:59:26 PM , Rating: 3
Why do you care? Your proving your just here to try and sell Samsung product.

RE: Android has peaked
By Reclaimer77 on 10/16/2013 9:50:19 PM , Rating: 2
I don't care, I'm just curious. And he already owns a Nexus, idiot. Nothing is being "sold"!

RE: Android has peaked
By retrospooty on 10/16/2013 11:45:37 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Android has peaked
By Jeffk464 on 10/17/2013 11:54:02 AM , Rating: 3
I'm switching to get on the t-mobile plan and my nexus is a verizon phone. Trust me if I could use my nexus on t-mobile thats what I would do. I just don't use my phone as much as I used to.

RE: Android has peaked
By Jeffk464 on 10/17/2013 11:55:29 AM , Rating: 2
I might go with the Galaxy light depending on timing and reviews.

RE: Android has peaked
By sprockkets on 10/18/2013 1:41:30 PM , Rating: 2
Should have picked up a Nexus 4 when it was $200. But I understand if you need more storage.

RE: Android has peaked
By retrospooty on 10/16/2013 11:03:47 AM , Rating: 1
The whole world is just puffy little Apple shaped clouds.

Anyhow, marketshare has been shrinking every quarter other than launch, and shrinking year over year. Yes, its pretty stable. Expect it to increase a bit now with the new release and then continue as it has been. The new product is irrelevant to that metric as there is a new product every year. Yes, the market is stable for IOS and Android. The only way Apple will change that is to think "different" and release a new product, like a (gasp) larger screen model.

RE: Android has peaked
By Tony Swash on 10/16/13, Rating: -1
RE: Android has peaked
By retrospooty on 10/16/2013 2:05:08 PM , Rating: 3
"Let's do a thought experiment"

Lets just talk reality... No-one would argue that Apple is healthy and profitable as a company, nor could they argue with the business model. That is a great discussion for a site such as

This site here that you are posting at is a tech news site and the companies fiscal matters aren't at topic. Market share is. Market share matters as is speaks to how many users use a platform and are therefore effected by it's news.

You posted to a comment about market share being stable on Android and IOS and commented that opening week sales for iPhone were great... Then people replied to you that they are always great and overall, marketshare is sliding, although stable. Then of course, you have to change the topic to make it about finance because Apple doesnt look good with regards to market share.

RE: Android has peaked
By troysavary on 10/16/2013 2:39:20 PM , Rating: 2
Why should market share matter to the user? As long as the device does what I need it to do, I could give a rat's ass how popular it is. Market share only matters to me if the device is unpopular enough to risk cancellation and lack of support. Why do people feel as if their purchase puts them in the cool club or something?

RE: Android has peaked
By retrospooty on 10/16/2013 2:49:09 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't matter to the individual user. It matters to tech sites and it matters to discussions on tech sites, because if something happens to Android like a new app, or policy change it doesn't just affect you, the one user, it affects millions of them. It also matters to developers. If you are a dev, making an app, you are very likely going to go with IOS and Android for the user base. Developing for WP8 and BB10 doesnst get you much revenue. Market share matters.

RE: Android has peaked
By troysavary on 10/16/2013 8:36:21 PM , Rating: 1
Developing for iOS gets more revenue than for Android, even with Android having 4 times the marketshare.

RE: Android has peaked
By retrospooty on 10/17/2013 8:56:13 AM , Rating: 3
iPhone/iPad have significant #'s out there, they both owned market share for years. Where the iPhone has dropped in the past year, there are still a ton out there and you arent counting iPad's too. That and they do sell more apps per unit than Android.

RE: Android has peaked
By Da W on 10/16/2013 11:07:10 AM , Rating: 2
Apple is and always has been a 25% market share company. They will not change that, they don't want to change that, they sell premium products and by definition only a fragment of the market can aford it. Now give or take a few anecdotal evidence on some specific calendar days, it doesn't change the grand scheme of things.

This is Apple.

RE: Android has peaked
By Cheesew1z69 on 10/16/2013 11:23:47 AM , Rating: 2
they don't want to change that
Keep believing that...LOL, of COURSE they want to grow market share. EVERY company does.

RE: Android has peaked
By Tony Swash on 10/16/2013 12:27:03 PM , Rating: 1
Keep believing that...LOL, of COURSE they want to grow market share. EVERY company does.

I can see why you get so much wrong, you keep talking about an imaginary Apple rather than the real one. Of course Apple doesn't care about market share as a strategic or business goal in itself. Why on earth would they? When has Apple ever done anything that is clearly intended to primarily boost market share? I am sure Apple is pleased as punch when, as a result of pursuing goals other than market share, they achieve high market share but it's a side effect of concentrating on other things.

From Apple's point of view a huge chunk of the Android customer base is just not worth pursuing, why chase customers who want cheap phones sold on razor thin margins and who then never spend a dime on the platform?

Imagine market share as a big bag of banknotes, most are ones and a few are fifties. One guy reaches in and pulls out 10% of the notes, they are all fifties. The other guy reaches into the bag and pulls out the remaining 90% of notes, they are all ones.

The guy with the big bundle of ones shouts:

'I won, I got the most banknotes. Look my share is 90%'.

What would you call such a guy.

I would call him a sap.

RE: Android has peaked
By Cheesew1z69 on 10/16/2013 12:36:07 PM , Rating: 2
Again, keep believing they don't want more market share... and it's quite pathetic how you have to write a page to respond to something so mundane.

RE: Android has peaked
By troysavary on 10/16/2013 8:38:38 PM , Rating: 2
Apple cares more about margins than marketshare. They are quite happy being perceived as a luxury device maker selling at inflated prices.

RE: Android has peaked
By retrospooty on 10/16/2013 11:24:15 AM , Rating: 2
They dont have that in any market, other than tablets.

PC/Laptop - 7%

Smartphones - 13%

Tablet - 32% and dropping fast

RE: Android has peaked
By Da W on 10/16/2013 3:32:09 PM , Rating: 1
Lol. Yeah techcrunch, good economic data.
You confound shipment in one quarter versus global installed user base.
25% of smartphone users are still Apple. Only 13% of smartphone buyers bought iPhone cause most are still happy with their 4s, 4, 3GS etc.
80% of smartphone sold are Droids cause cheap bastards have entered the market buying free phones on a 2 year contract. Apple doesn't even try to get those, Microsoft just started.
lets see next year.

RE: Android has peaked
By retrospooty on 10/17/2013 9:00:16 AM , Rating: 2
"Lol. Yeah techcrunch, good economic data."

The data is from IDC and its been all over the web for months.

"25% of smartphone users are still Apple. Only 13% of smartphone buyers bought iPhone cause most are still happy with their 4s, 4, 3GS etc."


"lets see next year."


RE: Android has peaked
By Monkey's Uncle on 10/16/2013 10:00:23 AM , Rating: 2
Not necessarily.

The article here only says the Nokia 521 is the most popular windows phone. It does not say Windows Phone is all that popular in comparison with Android & iOS phones.

It makes sense since the 521 is a pretty cheap-ass phone that cell providers are practically giving away. Can't think of a better way to use a windows phone without spending any cash. Makes it a great secondary device if you are curious if WP is any good. Maybe it will win some converts from the A & I camps, but I doubt it muchly.

RE: Android has peaked
By nafhan on 10/16/2013 11:30:53 AM , Rating: 2
That's what I noticed, too... There's only relative numbers here. The two conclusions you can draw from data in this article:

1. WP devices are skewing rapidly towards the low end.
2. Actual marketshare growth is slow and being driven by the low end: "our global surveys indicate gradually improving Windows Phone 8 smartphone sales" (but there is growth).

Also worth noting, at the price point the 521 is selling at, it's the best device you can buy by a long shot. Android phones in that range are junk, and the only way to get an iPhone at that price is to get one that's been used and abused. Producing solid low end devices is not a bad strategy.

RE: Android has peaked
By hrrmph on 10/16/2013 12:26:45 PM , Rating: 2
I agree in principle (see my post below about trying a WinPhone just for experimentation).

But, I strongly disagree with your comment about telecoms 'giving' away anything for free. They make heaps of money by overcharging people for their phones, especially in the US market where people are hooked on the idea that the 'down payment' equals the total cost of the phone.

Phones purchased from telecoms are 'mortgaged' and I cannot fathom why anyone would 'buy' their phone from a telecom. But apparently, we are a nation of silly people who do that all the time.

The folks in other countries who are paying cash up front (which is their norm) can see the real price of these phones.

For whatever reason, the Nokia's are just starting to sell well overseas in the markets where people can see the real price, as well as gaining some traction in the North American and European markets where it is still bewilderingly legal in some jurisdictions for telecoms to lock the phones and make the purchasers pay ransoms.

I personally wouldn't touch an Apple, Google, HTC, LG, Microsoft, Nokia, or Sony built or branded phone due to the lack of user replaceable batteries on all of those, and the lack of Micro-SDXC storage card slots on most of those. But, that's just me.

The reality is this Windows Phone thing will probably continue to be a mediocre 75% baked product that will take off simply because of marketing and distribution muscle. Kinda like Apple is the 80% baked premium product that people will pay 125% for.

Samsung was doing well, but their recent practices of lying on benchmarks (as well as implementing the horribly onerous regional lock-downs in the firmware) are making them look more and more like shady characters every day. Like they say "the devil you know is better than the one you don't," but it's still looking queasy for their future if they don't knock it off with that c*apola.

The entire situation with all of these yo-yos keeps me looking for the break-out who finally gets it right on all fronts. But, I won't be holding my breath...

WinPhone Mixed Bag
By hrrmph on 10/16/2013 11:56:37 AM , Rating: 1
My comments with regard to WinPhone 8 on a Samsung ATIV S:

- No file manager;

- No listing for the 'Clock' in the main menu,although there is one dedicated to just the 'Alarms' function;

- No back button on browser;

- Random system reports of a bad MicroSDXC card, but the card works fine in the WinPhone anyway, and it works fine in PCs and in Samsung Android devices;

- No mkv video support;

- No FLAC audio file support;

- No one has written a 3rd Party FLAC codec that will work with the WinPhone's native media player. So it's still early days on developer support to fix things that Microsoft shouldn't have broken in the first place;

- Lotsa people including me having trouble with randon wma songs not playing due to errors with the phone recognizing them (Microsoft's own format no less!). I've tried the same songs with a couple of different Micro-SDXC cards including a brand new SanDisk Extreme with a fresh sync of songs from WMP on a PC. Still getting random errors; and

- I've had more system hangs on the WinPhone in one day than I've had on my BB Z10 and Samsung Note 2 in a year (albeit the hangs occurred while trouble-shooting the music file failures and frequently swapping SD cards, but still, I haven't seen that behavior on other devices).

I'm still getting used to the phone. I've had it a few months as an 'alternative' experiment. I kinda like the operating system, because when you take an action, it does report back conclusively what the status is (like whether the action completed or not). If it doesn't hang, that is.

Although I like it, I would say not as much as BB OS10, and about the same as Android.

The main problem with the Windows Phone OS in its current state is that in a similar way that classic Windows looked pretty good and seemed well designed (and that leads you to high expectations for functionality), it just plain simply lets you down too often on basic things that other non-Microsoft OSs don't.

Apple would be another option, but I can't bring myself to buy a phone without a user removable battery and without a Micro-SDXC slot. So Apple is out of the running for now. At least until the ghost of Jobs leaves the building and someone over there can think inside the box and add those basic hardware features to at least a few of their flagship phones.

So far the best overall functionality (especially for large music collections, photos, videos, and backup repositories for files while traveling) are the Samsung Android devices. They play FLAC and WMA-Lossless audio formats, take 1080P-30 video, and their Micro-SDXC storage card slots automatically use the modern ex-FAT file system, allowing you to use and back-up files sizes that are over 4GB.

I would like to see HD Audio (24-bit, 96 or 192kHz), as well as 1080P-120 and 4K-60 video in a future device - one that can use the most modern file formats reliably. Somehow I cannot see WinPhone being the first to get there.

RE: WinPhone Mixed Bag
By Reclaimer77 on 10/16/2013 2:05:55 PM , Rating: 1
Thank you for that open and honest review.

Getting a little sick of the few Windows Phone fanatics that exist all coming here and claiming Windows Phone is some idealistic issue-free experience. And that any shortcomings of the platform are just made up "FUD"...

RE: WinPhone Mixed Bag
By troysavary on 10/16/2013 2:41:05 PM , Rating: 3
I can point out a few Android fanatics who are just as apologetic for Android's shortcomings.

RE: WinPhone Mixed Bag
By Mitch101 on 10/16/2013 3:53:46 PM , Rating: 3
Im happy to hear I and my Windows Phone make you sick that warms my heart.

Ive owned 2 Windows Phones and maybe 8 Android devices now.

How many Windows Phones have you owned?

Anyone with an opinion that differences from you is spreading FUD.

RE: WinPhone Mixed Bag
By Jeffk464 on 10/16/2013 5:43:25 PM , Rating: 2
Biggest problem with WP8 is the lack of apps.

RE: WinPhone Mixed Bag
By Reclaimer77 on 10/16/2013 5:50:13 PM , Rating: 2

You can't say that around here man, oh no, that's a mortal sin!

RE: WinPhone Mixed Bag
By Mitch101 on 10/16/2013 8:02:10 PM , Rating: 2
All what 180,000 of them. Oh so there is a few games not on the Windows Phone. Ask anyone with a smartphone you load about 30 apps and use about 3-7 of them on a frequent basis the rest are games or ones offs that you haven't deleted.

RE: WinPhone Mixed Bag
By Reclaimer77 on 10/17/2013 1:36:34 AM , Rating: 2
Or an official YouTube app. But hey, only billions of people use that. It's not a big deal...

Also you're focused on existing apps. Windows Phone has a BIG problem landing the "killer app" that releases for Android and iOS, while taking a year or more to make it's way to Windows Phone. If ever.

IF some awesome game changing app comes out tomorrow, chances are Windows Phone won't have it available.

But I already know you refuse to see this situation. Even though the app ecosystem has been referenced in EVERY SINGLE Windows Phone review and comparison ever done, to this day, by any objective media outlet.

We're all just making stuff up so we can "bash" Microsoft. That theory keeps you warm at night...

RE: WinPhone Mixed Bag
By retrospooty on 10/17/2013 1:57:17 PM , Rating: 2
"But I already know you refuse to see this situation."

Mitch in a nutshell.

RE: WinPhone Mixed Bag
By Jeffk464 on 10/17/2013 6:20:03 PM , Rating: 2
Where is my NEST thermostat app?

RE: WinPhone Mixed Bag
By Jeffk464 on 10/17/2013 6:26:02 PM , Rating: 2
nevermind, looks like there is one

RE: WinPhone Mixed Bag
By troysavary on 10/16/2013 8:43:55 PM , Rating: 2
The only real weakness in the Windows Phone app market is the lack of things like banking apps from some of the smaller banks, and only specific cases like that. You can usually bypass that by going to the website, but in the cases where you can't, I can see where it is a deal breaker if it is something you need. Other than that, what is missing from the app store that makes the phone unsuitable for most people?

RE: WinPhone Mixed Bag
By Gunbuster on 10/16/2013 4:16:07 PM , Rating: 2
Samsung ATIV S might be the problem. I just looked at Verizon reviews for the ATIV Odyssey and I saw a lot of people unhappy. Should have gotten a Nokia.

RE: WinPhone Mixed Bag
By Belegost on 10/16/2013 7:04:26 PM , Rating: 2
Anyone who has done the most basic research on WinPhone would know that there is no OS wide file browser, and no support for FLAC/MKV. If you want those features, use Android. I would never expect FLAC/MKV support on WinPhone, those formats have very low commercial support (I'm not aware of anywhere that video in MKV containers can be legally purchased) and overall represent a niche area for smartphones.

There is a hardware back button that is used for going back in the browser. The legitimate complaint is not having a forward button. Also UC browser works very well and completely addresses those complaints.

What exact functionality would you want from a Clock app? There is a clock on the lock screen, and one in the status bar at the top right... what would be added value from having a separate app for this?

RE: WinPhone Mixed Bag
By greenchinesepuck on 10/16/2013 8:03:57 PM , Rating: 2
No back button on browser
Yeah, you never noticed that hardware back button at the lower left corner of your phone, did you huh? Such idiotic comments from you show that you know sh1t about the topic.

OTOH I'm with Reclaimer here, WP8 sucks with game selection, Madfinger for example doesn't give a f@ck about WP8 and I don't get it how is it even possible to use a phone without Madfinger games?

The only reason I'm staying with Android so far is Dead Trigger. The moment Madfinger stops being little f@cking idiots and makes an easy Unity 3D port to Win8 and WP8 - I'm leaving Android crap for good.

Reclaimer is right, if not for the pathetic situation with WP8 games, Crapdroid would be dead by now.

By a5cent on 10/16/2013 10:16:24 AM , Rating: 2
The new Windows Phone 8.1 update -- codenamed "Windows Phone Blue" is expected to launch sometime next month; unlike last time most, if not all Windows Phone 8 devices should be eligible for this upgrade.

You are likely referring to GDR3, which will be reaching WP handsets during the coming weeks. Windows Phone Blue isn't expected before next spring, at least that is what Mary Jo Foley has been stating for over a year now.

By melgross on 10/16/2013 1:46:34 PM , Rating: 2
I don't understand why the writer thinks any of this is good for Nokia. Has he been keeping up with events? Does he realize that Nokia has sold the phone division to Microsoft, and can't get back into phones, even should they want to, for several years?

By faust67 on 10/17/2013 1:55:21 AM , Rating: 2
My wife and I bought Nokias 521. At $85 a piece taax and shipping included (with a $20 offer from HSN), we had nothing to lose. I hate windows 8 on the desktop (I run all my computers on Linux), but I was pleasantly surprised by Windows Phone. For the price, the Nokia 521 offers great hardware if you don't need to run crazy apps or games.I kept my dumb phone as long as I could because smartphones in my opinion were crazy expensive for what they offer, but with phones like the Nokia and some other Android phones being offered at reasonable prices and hardware specs, there is no reason to resist (and for the iPhones, even if they are nice devices, but still ridiculously expensive - like some other top-end phones like the S4, HTC one, etc.).

funny stuff
By Argon18 on 10/16/13, Rating: -1
RE: funny stuff
By Gunbuster on 10/16/2013 4:19:55 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah my 3rd place Lumia 521 that cost $80 and runs rings around $200 androids and does 90% of what a $600 iPhone brings to the table.

Tell me more about how no one would want that.

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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