Windows Phone Sales Surge -- Is It Real or Just a Blip?

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Windows Phone Sales Surge -- Is It Real or Just a Blip?
Analyst reports released in the last two days show Windows Phone sales surging between 115 percent and 227 percent compared to a year ago. Does this mean Windows Phone is finally gaining traction, or is it just a blip on the radar?

IDC reports that in the second quarter of this year, Windows Phone sales jumped by 115 percent compared to a year ago, to 5.4 million units, and a 3.5 percent market share. IDC also notes that Windows Phone "narrowed the gap between itself and BlackBerry last quarter in its bid to become the number 3 mobile OS in terms of market share." A year ago in the second quarter, Windows Phone had 2.3 percent market share and Blackberry 11.5 percent market share. Now Windows Phone has 5.4 percent to Blackberry's 7.4 percent.

Canalys reports similar numbers. It reports that Windows Phone grew by 277 percent in the second quarter compared to a year previous, and shipped 5.1 million units for a 3.2 percent market share. That's up from 1.2 percent market share and 1.3 million units a year previous. A year go, Canalys says, Blackberry had 11.6 percent market share; now it has 8.5 percent.

That certainly sounds like good news. And to a certain extent, it is. But keep in mind that those high growth percentages come as a result of Windows Phone having such an insignificant market share a year ago. It's easy to rack up big percent gains when you start with small numbers.

Windows Phone Sales Surge -- Is It Real or Just a Blip?
And also keep in mind that Android dwarfs Windows Phone sales, and on a per-unit basis is growing dramatically faster than Windows Phone. IDC says that Android had a 46.9 percent market share a year ago, shipping 50.8 million devices, and now has a 68.1 percent market share, shipping 104.8 million devices. That means that it shipped 54 million more devices this year than a year ago, while Windows shipped only 2.9 million more devices this year than a year ago. Canalys reports similar numbers.

So throw away the percentages --- with every passing quarter, Windows Phone is falling further behind Android where it really counts, in the number of devices shipped. The gap constantly increases dramatically.

IDC notes that:

I don't think that's likely to happen. Expect to see big percentage gains for Windows Phone because Windows Phone still has a small market share. But also expect see the gap between it and Android widen while the Android juggernaut continues.

Preston Gralla is a contributing editor for Computerworld, and the author of more than 40 books, including "How the Internet Works," "Windows XP Hacks," and "Windows Vista in a Nutshell" and "NOOK Tablet: The Missing Manual." You can follow him on Twitter or Google+.

This story, "Windows Phone Sales Surge -- Is It Real or Just a Blip?" was originally published by Computerworld.

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