Introduction (Android vs Windows Phone Battle): Smartphone market has become a highly contested battleground where pitched battles are being waged by the giants from mobile manufacturing segment flexing their muscles and wielding the different models loaded with several warheads called features and apps. These wars are making news in the smart phones arena for quite a while now.
These giants are being supported by innumerable confederacies called third-party apps developers and features designers who are improving or replenishing the armoury of the giants by supplying improvised devices from time to time.
The core issue of these smartphone battles is all about conquering the territories with sales and apps. Out of all the wars the one between Microsoft’s Windows Phone and Google-supported Android seemingly becoming intensified. Though Apple Inc.’s iPhone cannot be excluded from these wars, this article focuses more on how the competition is intensifying between windows cell phone and Android but brings in iPhone’s market data wherever its relevancy demands for it.
In the United States market which is the hot bed for all new releases and sales strategies, certain strange marketing data is emerging. Kantar Worldpanel, a website dedicated to the consumer knowledge and market insight, has stated in its recent report on windows phone vs. android vs. iPhone, that although overall Smartphone market has stayed stable, it has observed that iOS and Windows Phone mobiles have stood in 1st and 2nd place in terms of sales than Android.
‘Why is this considerable shift of consumer attention towards Windows Phone?’ is a captivating question that needs to be explored from different perspectives like look and feel, functionality and availability of apps.
The Apps Stores (Android vs Windows):
If we take a relook at the success story of Smartphone, it is the introduction of apps that has propelled the sales. Those smart phones that offer richest collection of apps have garnered high numbers of fans. Thus apps have become an influencing factor for any smartphone to be labelled as ‘popular.’
From this perspective and in terms of number of apps, Windows Phone apps store is far behind the Android. Android apps are available in a centralized store called Google Play which boasts of hosting more 700,000 apps (free & paid) while Windows Phone Market Place displays just around 170,000 apps.
But the significant differentiator for Windows phone’s apps is that they are being approved manually by reviewers which eliminate the malware/spyware apps. Google Play publishes every app uploaded by the developer but scans the stores on a later date. It is reported sometime back that in one day more than 60,000 apps were deleted for being malware/spyware by Google Play.
This comparison drawn between the apps stores of Windows and Android indicates that the Windows Phone’s apps are highly secured than the Android’s. Maybe due the strict vigilance imposed by Microsoft, the apps stores of Windows Phone is not that rich and attractive yet offers completely security to the users.
The Designing Standards for Apps (Android vs Windows):
As specified previously, Microsoft does not allow its apps developers to go loose on design parameters. It has set certain standards which every developer must adhere. This stance has turned out to be highly beneficial for Windows phone users as they need not to strain themselves to learn about each app’s navigation.
On contrary, Android has not set any such design specifications for developing android apps. Though it has stringent mechanism of cleaning the stores regularly, there are remote chances that few harmful apps might get into the smart phones.
Multitasking Abilities (Android vs Windows):
Here again, Windows Phone score a point or two more than Android and iOS. Windows Phone presents a powerful control over the applications that are being run and offers smooth sailing between the running applications.
Applications can be disabled with ease with just one tap on them. It would not be unwise to say that both Android and Apple can pick up few lessons from Microsoft on how to improve multitasking features in their range of smartphones.
The Features (Android vs Windows):
After apps, Features drive the sales of any Smartphone. These features are nothing but the completely appearance and functionality of the hardware and software.
It is observed that the unique screen & icon display in windows phone 8 based smart phones is becoming a crowd puller. With the resizeable tiles, the iconic screen of Windows Phone can carry more information than that of an Android based phone.
The new windows phone 8 based Lumia series from Nokia has spearheaded the growth in the sales of Windows Phone 8 based smartphones. Nokia was highly successful in taking the message of “make-your-own-Smartphone-home screen” strongly in to the consumers’ minds.
Drawbacks (Android vs Windows):
Why Windows Phone, despite above strong features, still lacks the steam to surge ahead in the sales race?
All said and done, smartphone users prefer flamboyancy over mediocre and they want dazzling pieces of apps than lacklustre ones. Windows Phone is awfully short of appealing apps that which can increase the consumer engagement.
Many of the popular apps like Dropbox or Wunderlist are missing from Windows Phone’s apps store. There are no equivalent replacements for these apps, though there are exceptionally well augmented apps which are very few in numbers.
The bundled apps like Email, Calendar, People, Internet Explorer, Maps etc. are just above the average in their functionality and appeal. There are serious shortcomings in the complete Smartphone experience for the users.
The Future (Android vs Windows):
Based on the prevailing conditions, the major chunk of the Smartphone dominion would remain under the control of the Android. As of now, Android holds close to 52% of the sales while Apple’s iOS controls around 42% of the market sales. Windows Phone is content with 6% of sales but has shown significant increase in its sales of late.
Kantar Worldpanel reports say that when the sales done through the mobile network carriers have increased sharply. For example, the Windows Phone sales done by Verizon by end of April, 2012 rose to 6.8% of the total sales as compared to 0.2% recorded during the same period ended in April, 2012.
These figures are indicative enough that Windows Phone might become a stiff competitor for other players and can churn good amount of customers from them.