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With Mango software update, analysts ask, where's the hardware?

Matt Hamblen, Computerworld | May 24, 2011
Even though Microsoft announced that the Windows Phone update called Mango will have 500 improvements, some analysts are concerned that the company didn't show any new smartphones to ship with Mango installed in the fall.

Both IDC and Gartner have forecast that Windows Phone will become the No. 2 mobile platform by 2015, behind Google's Android in terms of sales, but ahead of Apple's iOS and RIM's BlackBerry.

That move to second place will occur largely because of Microsoft's partnership with Nokia, according to Gartner. The research firm's first-quarter 2011 market analysis has Windows Phone in fifth place, with market share of 3.6%. Only 3.6 million Windows Phone 7 smartphones were sold in the first quarter -- that's one-tenth of the 36.2 million Android smartphones sold in the same time frame.

Carolina Milanesi, a Gartner analyst, agreed that it is "hard to judge" Mango because there are no phones that can be used to test the new software. But she defended Microsoft's operating system improvements, and she noted that the company's partnership with Nokia didn't seem to discourage at least three manufacturers -- Acer, Fujitsu and ZTE -- from developing Windows Phone devices.

"I'm not sure [today's announcement was] as much about hardware [as it was] about delivering a stronger experience on whatever hardware you have," she said. "Having had hardware at the launch of Mango might have taken away from what matters, which is software."

Milanesi said WP7 sales have been slow, not because of its smartphone hardware but because some buyers believe WP7 lags behind other smartphone operating systems. "This is what Mango is trying to address," she added.


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