So its not just one X series smartphone. Today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the biggest event of the mobile industry Nokia in its last appearance as an independent handset maker revealed 3 smartphones that run on Android, called the X-series. One is available immediately and two will be released in April. We do not know exactly when the transition to full Microsoft control will happen for Nokia's handset unit. The earliest it can happen is the start of April. Its pretty obvious that Microsoft doesn't like this and will end the Android based X-Series as soon as Microsoft gets control of the Nokia handset unit.
To understand just how ludicrous this is, this is as if Sony would now announce a new edition of the Playstation the Playstation 5, which would run on Wii - the system owned by competitor Nintendo! Or of Apple's next iPhone the iPhone 6 would suddenly be running Blackberry OS... Any sane person looking at either of those situations would deduct that clearly Sony is ending Playstation as a platform or Apple ending the iOS. And it would be a massive coup for the rival ie Wii or Blackberry. That is what Nokia is now signalling to the world. That Windows Phone is so flawed, they have to rush Android to the market.
But what does this tell us about Windows Phone? Nokia for a year has manufactured exclusively Windows Phone based smartphones (its last Symbian devices rolled out of the factory this time a year ago). Nokia's own Linux based smartphone platforms, MeeGo/Maemo and Meltemi were also killed by then-CEO Stephen Elop. Nokia has spent literally the world's largest ever handset launch budget to promote the Windows Phone platform, boosted even further by Microsoft's enormous contributions and in many cases for the carriers/operators launching the Lumia series - their largest launch budgets for any handset as well. In mobile the past year a Nokia smartphone has been exactly the same as Windows Phone - and for Windows Phone, Nokia has been shipping about 9 out of 10 smartphones on that platform, so for Microsoft, Nokia had become the critical component.
Now there are mere weeks left that Nokia exists as an independent smartphone maker brand. This would be the time to truly use every means possible to take advantage of the Windows Phone platform - if that had any life left. What does it tell us that now, suddenly, Nokia launches not one, not two; but three Android based smartphones - the platform that has 79% of all smartphones sold in the world (and Apple's iPhone has another 18%). Windows smartphones had 5% market share when the Nokia partnership was announced. Now after all the sacrifice of Nokia market share has been 'contributed' to Windows, did Windows grow? No! Windows has still fallen in share! The latest industry analysts report Windows Phone at about 3.5% market share (give or take one tenth of one percentage point, depending on which analyst numbers you look at).
What does it mean that Nokia now launches 3 Android smartphones at the world's largest telecoms fair? It means that Windows Phone is totally dead.
It means that Windows Phone is totally dead.
If the world's largest supplier of Windows Phone based smartphones - Nokia - which for a year has made nothing but Windows Phone smartphones - and the partner that will be taken over by Microsoft - now launches Android, it means only one thing.
That Windows Phone is so dead, Nokia would rather take the extra costs of launching on a new platform - rather than using Windows Phone for one last time! Talk about Elop setting Nokia's 'platforms on fire' haha...
Obviously we now can see that the promise of Windows Phone allowing Nokia 'differentiation' was false. Nokia is now resorting to Android for differentiation. We now know that Windows Phone was utterly unable to serve the mass market opportunity for hte big growth in smartphones - lower price points and emerging world markets (where Nokia used to utterly crush the competition selling more than half of all smartphones on its 'obsolete' Symbian only two years ago). Windows Phone cannot serve emerging world needs, so Android is needed there. And what of the apps, the 'ecosystem' that Elop tried to sell us? Now we see that Windows Phone is such a clown-show as an 'ecosystem' that Nokia's latest smartphones run desperately to the Android market where the most apps reside. Yes. Windows Phone is good for one thing, and one thing only: to destroy a smartphone maker's business (as it did for Motorola, Palm and Dell, and almost ruined LG. SonyEricsson, HTC, Samsung, Huawei and ZTE have all shown with their actions that the only way to escape the ruin of Windows Phone - is to go Android. Now Nokia is the latest proof that this is the only way to resce some profits out of the pit of desperation that is Windows Phone)
The worst news out of an Android smartphone series by Nokia is what it says about Lumia loyalty and Windows Phone inability to draw migration from Asha and S40/S30 dumbphones. Remember how Elop promised Lumia and Windows Phone would result in a 1 on 1 conversion from Symbian (reality was total catastrophy, 9 out of 10 existing loyal Nokia customers ran to the competition - mostly Samsung and Apple - while only 1 out of 10 loyal existing customers was willing to try Lumia on Windows Phone). Now we are seeing the first generation of Lumia owners considering their next phones. And we already knew from the Bernstein survey and Yankee Group study that early Lumia loyalty was atrocious. Four out of five Windows Phone owners would prefer ANY other device than another one on the Microsoft system. Hence: Android in 2014. And what of Asha and S40/S30 conversion? That didn't go well either. Before Windows on that so-called 'obsolete' Symbian, Nokia achieved 1 to 1.2 conversion - yes Nokia GAINED market share when migrating customers from dumbphones to smartphones. That never happened with Lumia. And now the Android X series is proof Nokia knows this. There is no way to get loyal Nokia customers to take Windows Phone but if you give them Android, they may well be happy to take that instead. All in all a devastating indictment of the failure of Windows Phone in general and Lumia in particular.
If you want to read more about how Microsoft lost the battle of the century with its mistakes on Windows (and Google won with Android) you may enjoy this analysis I wrote a year ago - How Android Won and Windows Lost the Battle of the Century.
And if you thought that it was Nokia who 'messed it up' with Windows Phone but that somehow the future will be different once Microsoft takes over, please read this for a dose of reality. What happens after Microsoft takes over the Nokia handset business. (for those new to this blog, I have been the most accurate forecaster of every stage of the sad Nokia saga since the Microsoft partnership was announced in February 2011. I even said that at some point Nokia would be forced to launch smartphones on Android haha..)
PS I somehow think that Elop on stage showing Android smartphones by Nokia does not endear him to his masters upon his return to Microsoft in some weeks. I don't think Elop will last long at Microsoft...
So if you're a developer. Here is the ultimate sign that Windows Phone cannot win. Its biggest hardware partner prefers Android instead (like all past Windows smartphone partners - all of them - have done. See HTC, Samsung, SonyEricsson, Motorola, LG. etc)