1.5 million Windows Phone 7 devices were sold by manufacturers to mobile carriers and retailers in their first six weeks on the market. 4,000 apps are already available in its marketplace and it is claimed that 18,000 developers are developing for it.
Ten weeks after its worldwide launch Achim Berg, Microsoft's vice president of business and marketing for Windows Phones, provided these figures in an interview together with comments in response to questions.
Do these sales figures meet your expectations?
Yes, and I think our expectations are realistic for a new platform. We started fresh with Windows Phone 7, and it's a different kind of phone. Measuring for success is more long term than short term.
We know we have tough competition, and this is a completely new product. We're in the race – it's not a sprint but we are certainly gaining momentum and we're in it for the long run.
The first Phone 7 devices are the Dell Venue Pro, HTC HD7, HTC Surround, LG Quantum, and Samsung Focus and while they are now in the distribution channel there are no figures about consumer sales.
Moreover the 1.5 million figure doesn't compare too well to its main rivals. Apple's top-selling iPhone. Apple said it and its partners, including exclusive U.S. carrier AT&T, sold three million iPhone 4s in its first three weeks, despite widely reported signal problems related to the design of its antenna. Google claims that 300,000 phones running its Android operating system are activated every day.
According to Berg there is a positive outlook on the developer side:
...our tools are really good and leverage the skills [developers] already have. Developers are validating that the tools make it easy to make great apps and games quickly – we have more than 4,000 apps in our marketplace. With more pouring in daily, this is an enviable pace for any new platform.
All this is true - we can indeed create apps for Windows Phone 7 much more easily than for Android or iPhone but this doesn't mean that the platform will be a success.
What really matters is how the phone distinguishes itself from the rest in the mind of the potential phone buyer. At the moment there is still a buzz, although it is growing old, about the iPhone and a growing excitement about Android. Arguably what makes the iPhone stand out is its style and what makes the Android stand out is it freedom and general openness to techy development. What makes Windows Phone 7 stand out is ...
It will be a great shame if Windows Phone 7 fails because it is certainly the platform I'd like to program but wishing doesn't make it so and there are lots of examples of good or best technical platforms falling by the wayside for reasons that have nothing to do with reason.
Getting started with Windows Phone 7
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Windows Phone 7 - the Bing Maps Control
Windows Phone 7 - using the Panorama control
Windows Phone 7 - Snakes on a Phone Part 1
Windows Phone 7 Go Faster resources
Visual Basic comes to Windows Phone
Free Windows Phone 7 video training from Microsoft
New Windows Phone Labs
Windows Phone 7 development videos online