Can the Lumia 900 Be Windows Phone’s ‘Droid’?

The Nokia Lumia 900 is topping sales charts as users discover the young Windows Phone operating system.

Can the Lumia 900 deliver a “Droid Effect” to Windows Phone, boosting Windows Phone App selection and appeal?

In the fight with the iPhone and Android for market share, Windows Phone is the underdog, much like Android was in 2009.

In late 2009 the Motorola Droid arrived on Verizon, delivering a premium Android experience on a nationwide carrier, kicking off the Android app revolution responsible for bringing the Android app experience in line with the iPhone.

Lumia 900 Windows Phone's Savior

Can the Lumia 900 help Windows Phone compete?

What comes first, the apps or the users?

The lack of apps is one of the biggest complaints I hear from potential Windows Phone switchers. It’s not that Windows Phone is a barren app marketplace, far from it. But in an app fueled world, missing apps like Pandora, Dropbox, Audible, Mint and others can sway purchasing decisions

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(Read: Nokia Lumia 900 Review)

The situation isn’t going to improve until there are enough users to attract developers.

The Nokia Lumia 900 has the potential to deliver the much-needed “Droid Effect” to Windows Phone. This boom caused a 94% growth in the number of Android app projects in 2009, and by March of 2010 the Android Market had hit 30,000 apps.

30,000 apps may seem small compared to the 70-80,000 apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace, but it’s about having the right apps, not the most apps.

What Does Microsoft Need to Do?

Apps

Windows Phone AppsMicrosoft is already wooing developers with subsidies, featured placement in the App store and advertising, but that’s not enough. Even focused shops have turned down the cash for apps offer.

Microsoft needs to take advantage of the Lumia 900 buzz by targeting specific app developers, even if it means monster payments to companies like Pandora to get apps on Windows Phone.

Perhaps subsidies have already been promised and paid to big app developers. If that’s the case Microsoft needs to adopt Android’s “Coming Soon” catchphrase to lure potential buyers before they lock into an iPhone or Android for two years.

Training

AT&T retail training or Windows PhoneIn order to beat iPhone and Android at the point of sale, Microsoft needs to work with carriers to deliver training to retail employees.

When the Droid launched in 2009 the iPhone wasn’t available on Verizon, so there was no incumbent for employees to push. When potential buyers walk into AT&T today, retail employees have pushed Androids and iPhones, not Windows Phone. Maybe they are lacking the knowledge needed to tell shoppers why it is a good option.

Perhaps Nokia and Microsoft should have skipped the Nicki Minaj concert in favor of training sessions for every AT&T frontline employee.

New Carriers

Microsoft needs to get a great Windows Phone device on Verizon to capitalize on the “Droid Effect”. Verizon has the most mature 4G LTE network and is a carrier that cannot be ignored if Microsoft wants Windows Phone to take off in 2012.

Read: Straight Talk Review

Prepaid Windows PhoneAt the other end of the spectrum Microsoft should work with hardware partners to bring Windows Phone to the Android dominated pre-paid smartphone market.

I’m currently using the Nokia Lumia 900 on Walmart’s Straight Talk pre-paid plan for $45 a month with unlimited minutes, texting and data — complete with access to AT&T’s fake (but fast) 4G network. There’s tremendous opportunity in the prepaid space, especially for first time smartphone owners.

Don’t Write Off Windows Phone

It’s easy to believe iPhone and Android in a two-horse race for mobile phone dominance, but after just a day of using Windows Phone it’s clear that  we cannot, and should not, write Windows Phone off.

Windows Phone needs an Apple-like ad campaign that shows off what the phone does best. Think Smoked by Windows Phone, for the average user instead of power users.

Anecdotally, I am hearing plenty of interest in the Lumia 900 from current and first time smartphone shoppers who want something different. According to Nielsen there’s plenty of opportunity for growth in smartphone marketshare.

Stay tuned for our Smartphone Showdown. Next week we are pitting the best smartphones — the Lumia 900, iPhone and Galaxy Nexus — against each other in a grueling series of tests.

Comments

  1. Oolie zool says

    just picked up a lumia 900 today, coming from an iphone 4 and so far I love it. I’m not a big app buyer, but it has everything that I had on my iphone except for words with friends and I’ll use my ipad for that for now. The Os is fantastic, very smooth and different. I like it much more than the screens of icons I’ve gotten used to from two generations of iphones. The facebook app is the best on any platform, IMO. It’s a shame that a lot of people will discount it simply because they hear “it doesn’t have as many apps”.

    • the person says

      well he’s not using MMS on ST because Nokia pulled the app that allows you to configure that.  I would like to see the author talk more about Straight Talk and bring more awareness to it though….its the best deal in mobile right now.

      • Wesley says

        so this phone needs a sim card? and would it be as easy as to transfer the number and pop in the old/using sim card on it?
        PLEASE REPLY OR EXPLAIN THE ST CAPABILITY>Author where you at!?  < lol

        • Josh Smith says

          I posted the Straight Talk review here - http://www.gottabemobile.com/2012/04/17/straight-talk-review-affordable-pre-paid-wireless-for-smartphones/

          I believe ST allows you to bring your own number.

  2. Josh Smith says

    I bought the straight talk SIM for $14.99 and just popped it in. Data and voice work great, need to test text and mms soon. Will be posting more on this combo early next week. 

    • the person says

      we need more visibility about Straight Talk….hope you can help with that.  The inability to configure MMS on Windows Phones is the biggest problem right now….only the Focus S and Focus Flash can do this at the moment. 

  3. Josh Smith says

    MMS does not work, The Nokia Network app isn’t available right now, but data, text and calls work fine. will post speed tests and more next week. 

  4. ictia says

    i think there is definitely room at the low end of the market where windows phone can compete with android. this will pick up speed as more people switch to windows phone. as mentioned, it was a two horse race and naturally droid took the low end since anything with apple in its name will cost you quite bit. this phone — the lumia 900 — looks like it’s squarely targeted at the iphone and high end droid crowd. the design, build quality, and performance is excellent — i can’t stop looking at and playing with mine! :)

    one other thing that i haven’t heard much of is the typing experience on windows phone … this beats the crap out of ios and droid — ms research did an awesome job on this. anyway, this phone deserves every bit of attention it’s getting because it’s rightly placed as it’s the best thing we’ve seen in the smartphone area in a while.

        • Josh Smith says

          My favorite thing about Swiftkey is that it learns. So it can tell when I am typing my phone number, address or anything else i type often and allows me to auto complete not just the word, but the entire address in a few short taps. 

      • KidDoc says

        I’ve had the 900 for a week and and a half, and I must agree that typing is really good. 

    • ictia says

      i have a few gmail accounts — no prob, you’ll be set. also, there is a free google search app (from google) that works well if you don’t like bing.

  5. P_frog_ta says

    Im thinking of getting the nokia lumia 900

    but im unsure if im able to get unlimited text at the 99$ price 
    i never gotten a phone before so its my first time, so if anyone can help me thatll be great message p_frog_ta@hotmail:disqus .com  please and thank you 

  6. Trinston Finley says

    Yes, all email POP services work. I picked up my Lumia 900 and it’s all love. Xbox games are far better then IOS. I never owned a Droid, UI look childish I couldn’t get into it. Nokia Lumia 900 will catch up on app but, I must say, Window’s app are better quality than IOS.

  7. havasu46 says

    I got my Lumia 900 10 days ago from AT&T online preorder. I’ve worked with enterprise, mobile and web applications for 42 years before retiring in 2010. The Lumia 900 is the best mobile device in terms of hardware, software and application integration and productivity I’ve ever seen. In 10 days I’ve used it with cellular and home Wifi off and on. Yes, I had the connectivity issue but fixed it by adding the blanked out Cellular APN settings. I’ve got integrated email from Hotmail and Yahoo, contacts imported, Nokia, XBox Live, MSN and other apps installed. I’ve set up active tiles for Bloomberg and MSN Money plus others. I tried to XBox Live console and it works like a remote wireless controller. I’ve sync music albums from my PC with Zune and applied the Nokia software patch yesterday after Zune backed up the Lumia 900 to my W7 notebook. The battery lasts a day and a half if you leave the phone on all the time. Probably a week if on/off usage. Camera seems great to me but I’m not photographer. In sort, I think the Lumia 900 and WP7 are flat out amazing. We’ll be getting another white one after April 22, don’t care what it costs.

  8. Wesley says

    so can it be used on Straight talk or not? im currently using this carrier, and if it can then ima be switching to this phone!! hope theres good newss soonn!!

  9. BottledWater says

    I’m really digging the lumia 900 and the windows operating system. The biggest problem I have now is that Audible hasn’t released it’s app for the operating system.

  10. pjsfcro says

    This article is on target! Nokia’s Lumia 900 using the Windows Phone OS is a game changer and has already taken die hard iPhone and Droid users by surprise. Hard not to be surprised when your phone gets smoked! Nokia has hit a homerun with this product and is setting a new standard for user interface, simplicity and speed. Word of mouth is already getting out and that is the best advertising a company can ever hope for.

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