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PHONES / SMARTPHONES & PDAS

Windows Phone 8: Softly, Softly Catchee Monkey?

By Oonagh Reidy | Sunday | 16/12/2012

As Windows Phone 8 hits phone town, we ask the Q: is it a game changer?


In an exclusive interview with SmartHouse, IDC's local mobile analyst, Aman Bajaj, tell us why the launch of Windows Phone 8 will be a case of softly, softly catchee monkey.

"We expect to see a gradual uptake of Windows Phone 8 rather than witnessing a sudden spike in the market," Bajaj predicts.

Microsoft's new phone operating system "is not going to change the landscape or take major share from iOS or Android in the near future." 

However, "if Microsoft plays its card right it can use the one connected eco-system across tablets, PCs and smartphones to offer a compelling proposition to end users and secure uptake in all three markets."

This multi device unique selling point "might" drive uptake, but it will be gradual in any case, but 2013 will be "key" for the development of the Windows Phone 8 OS.

However, the IDC analyst agrees Microsoft's recent addition of Windows Phone 8 to the portfolio can "only help drive share" after Windows 8 for tablet and PCs was launched in October.

Read: Hello Windows: HTC Brings In the 8S 

HTC's 8S & 8X and Nokia's Lumia 820 & 920 went on sale in Australia this month, with big telcos Vodafone, Optus and Telstra flogging various models exclusively.

"Its all about grabbing eyeballs and communicating the benefits of the OS to end-users."

The 'live tiles' is also its unique selling point and "something quite different from iOS or Android ...but it all depends on personal preferences," said Bajaj. 

If you upgrade to W8 on PC or tablet then you can sync content to other devices, also another plus for PC users. In theory it's a great proposition and that's what Microsoft is aiming for.

JB Hi-Fi and Dick Smith have already reported good sales of W8 computers so a spillover to mobile phones may be inevitable.

"Reviews [of Windows 8] have been great but it really needs a lot for mobile consumers to take the leap," says Bajaj. 

But reviews aren't everything.

The iPhone 5 got "lukewarm" reviews and its sales broke all of Apple's previous 4 and 4S records.

Price is also an issue. When cheaper Windows 8 phones emerge it may increase the uptake among phone users, like Nokia's Lumia 620 released in US recently, says Bajaj.

Read: Windows Phone 8 Launch With Samsung, HTC & Nokia

Apps, Apps Apps

Currently there are 100,000 apps in the fledgling Windows Store compared to around 700,000 in the Apple App Store and 500,000 from Google's Play Store, something which Bajaj believes could go against Microsoft's potential popularity among app crazy mobile users.

"If your favourite app isn't available on Windows platform it may have an adverse impact on a buying decision." But the Seattle giant has the cash, time and most importantly eyeballs to make it happen.

Microsoft has a large install base in both households and commercial organisations, says Bajaj.

And with the news last week that Surface Windows RT tablets will be sold in retailers JB H-Fi and Harvey Norman, it could create some further hype around Windows platform.

Another plus is it is seen as a highly secure platform. Let's not forget when Android launched in 2008 and there was doubt about how far Google's OS would go against kings Apple.

But now it has overtaken the iPhone in Australia, local analysts Telsyte confirmed this week.

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