If you haven’t really heard of what’s going on with Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform, it’s likely because of Android and Apple’s sheer dominance of the market. Microsoft however is not about to let that become the status quo.
Windows Phone 7 Display at Bellevue Square AT&T Store
CareAce’s offices are headquartered smack dab in the middle of techtown–we recently moved but used to live right next door to Microsoft’s Redmond campus. We thought we would venture into the wild and take a look at our local AT&T store to see how Microsoft’s latest software and Samsung’s hardware were doing in their local environment. Initial reports? Very good.
The Samsung Focus S
While at the store I had the chance to talk with the floor manager and behind the counter sales associate. At this point, the Samsung Focus S was out for just over a month so we asked them some questions regarding the popularity of the phone and the operating system. According to the employees, Windows Phone 7 as a whole had been doing extremely well, maintaining an even competition with Android. The Samsung Focus S itself receveied high marks as well outselling the HTC Titan and to our surprise–the Galaxy S II.
Focus S outsold the HTC Titan
The floor manager remarked how he was surprised by the success of the Focus S saying how he expected the much cheaper ($49.99 with contract) Focus Flash to outsell its luxury cousin. People seem to be sold on the beautiful 4.3 inch Super AMOLED and razor thin profile. But were customers happy with this choice? We asked how returns of the Focus S compared to the average rate and found that they were either normal (floor manager), or very low (only 1 according to the other sales associate). This can also be attributed to another interesting factor.
As we were discussing the topic, a third associate came to say that one interesting thing that he noticed was that people who came into their store and left with a Focus S had already done their research and known that they had wanted it. This was in contrast to potential Android customers who came to the store and wanted to try the numerous different platforms offered by Samsung, HTC, LG and Motorola. Thus Focus S buyers had likely reached the conclusion via online information that the Samsung WP7 was the best choice… however there is one more potential factor supporting the popularity of the device.
Microsoft has buildings just a few block away and plenty of their employees and family members likely purchase their Window’s Phone 7s from this exact store. Overall though I don’t believe the bias is overly strong–if anything it would be even stronger at AT&T stores located in Redmond.
After I got home, I turned to the web to see if this phenomenon was widespread or merely isolated to this locale. Our findings were corroborated by a report by WinRumors and WPCentral stating that “HTC Titan and Samsung Focus S stocks low in the U.S.” According to their article, the Titan was listed as “temporariliy out of stock” on AT&T’s website and the Focus S was on back order at Amazon wireless. The successful sales have in turn been corroborated by a large spike in the Windows Phone 7 Facebook app usage which had users increase by about 100,000 in two weeks which sums up to about 10% growth.
Although WP7 has, in the past, been forced to live in the shadows of Android and iOS, with Microsoft and Nokia’s huge ($31 million) marketing blitz supported with great new hardware, I wouldn’t be surprised to see WP7’s marketshare begin to creep up and possibly become competitive with the bunch within the next year or two.