Can Windows Phone upward momentum continue through 2014?

Can Windows Phone momentum continue through 2014?
Windows Phone's market share still places it a distant third behind the iOS and Android duopoly. But even with a small 3.6% share of the global smartphone market at the end of the third quarter, Windows Phone has been growing faster than the competition. In the five biggest European markets, the platform has a better than 8% slice of the smartphone pie. 

Things started turning for Windows Phone earlier in the year when Nokia and Microsoft started to heavily promote the low-light photography capabilities of the Nokia Lumia 920. Then, the entry-level Nokia Lumia 520 and its T-Mobile branded twin, the Nokia Lumia 521, started selling like hotcakes thanks to the low price retailers were charging for the phones. The last, and most important thing that happened to Windows Phone 8 in 2013 was the GDR3 update. This allowed manufacturers to start building Windows Phone powered  handsets that matched the most top-shelf Android phones spec for spec. For example, the Nokia Lumia 1520 phablet offers a 6 inch screen with 1080 x 1920 resolution, a quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU, 2GB of RAM and a 20MP PureView snapper on back. And the unannounced Nokia Lumia 929 aka Nokia Icon, is expected to have basically the same specs but with a 5 inch screen.

According to IDC, Windows Phone increased its global market share by 156% in the third quarter. That easily beat out the 51.3% year-over-year increase for Android and the 25.2% growth logged by iOS.  Microsoft has helped its cause by embracing the "fanboy" battles between iOS and Android. In a couple of television ads, the Redmond based software giant made Windows Phone users appear to be above the fray by not getting involved in silly battles between Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S users.

Blogger Paul Thurrott has noted that Windows Phone now has double the 1.7% market share of BlackBerry as the latter has shot itself in the foot. Before the beginning of the year, the spot after Android and iOS was up for grabs. BlackBerry and Windows Phone both were expected to fight for this slot. But after its successful 2013, Windows has left BlackBerry gasping for air. This means that in 2014, Microsoft will have its sights set on closing in on the top two places instead of looking back and worrying about BlackBerry.

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The Windows Phone Store now has its own Instagram app, although it still trails the App Store and Google Play Store by a 5 to 1 ratio in the number of apps it offers. But developers will write for whichever platforms can give them a financial reward, which means we can expect Windows Phone to continue to receive popular apps. And now that things are shaping up to be a three-way battle in 2014, Microsoft isn't sitting back on its laurels. The Windows Phone 8.1 update will apparently bring the long desired notifications center and the Siri-esque virtual personal assistant Cortana to the platform.

Amid talk that Microsoft will drop the Live Tiles for a more Android styled home page, 2014 will see three capable platforms competing on a level playing field. The big winner? Consumers around the world.

source: WindowsSupersite via BGR

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