With Nokia now officially part of Microsoft, the firm’s commitment to developing solely Windows mobile devices is set in stone after a brief, one-shot foray into Android. In a memo to employees sent on July 17, new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella suggested the company will take a focused, but long-term approach to gaining traction in the high-end smartphone market. While any potential geographic shifts to this strategic model are unclear, within North America, a plurality of Windows phone Web traffic is driven by users of Nokia’s more entry-level Lumia models, as opposed to its flagship devices.
To quantify North American Windows smartphone Web traffic by device, Chitika Insights examined hundreds of thousands of U.S. and Canadian online ad impressions generated by Windows phone users between July 9 and 15, 2014.
As seen above, Nokia is the largest player in the Windows phone ecosystem by a sizable margin. In total, users of Nokia Lumia models drive 89.2% of all Windows phone-based Web traffic across the continent.
However, the Nokia Lumia 520 and 521, both non-flagship, lower cost phones, generate more than 47 percentage points of that total. If you include all non-flagship Nokia devices (e.g. Lumia 500, 700, 800, and 1320 series models), that share rises to 59.9% of continental Windows phone traffic. This indicates that, at least in terms of current Web activity, lower-tier Nokia Lumia devices are much more prevalent than their higher-priced counterparts in North America. This kind of trend is likely a troubling one for existing and potential developers, but is something Microsoft is certainly looking to change as they refocus the Nokia brand and future product portfolio.
As the U.S. and Canada are considered two of the more well-developed markets for smartphones, historically, new flagship devices like Samsung’s Galaxy S series and Apple’s iPhone have fared well within the two countries as compared to still-developing markets.
Admittedly, with a weaker app ecosystem in particular, it will be a major challenge for Microsoft to pose a big threat to Android and Apple across the North American marketplace. Devices running Android or iOS drive more than 97% of all North American smartphone traffic, while Windows Phone OS clocks in at 1%. Microsoft would likely be very happy if their newfound efforts result in Windows Phone gaining just a few more percentage points in share – cementing their place as a viable third mobile OS.