Yesterday, we received yet another quarterly update from Nielsen. As you would expect, Android has grown since last quarter, from 39 percent to 40 percent of the US smartphone market share. Apple's iOS has remained a steady 28 percent and BlackBerry slipped one percent to a total of 19 percent market share. Nielsen's report also shows Windows Mobile, Other and Windows Phone 7 with seven percent, five percent and one percent market share, respectively.

Wait, what? Windows Phone 7 still has only has one percent US smartphone market share? Sheesh. Windows Phone 7 arrived here in the States last November and has struggled alongside the little green robot and the iPhone since day one. We knew it would had a mountain to climb, but it showed so much promise. How could it have only gathered a mere one percent of the market share?

Although I wasn't exactly blown away by Windows Phone 7 when I reviewed a few handsets late last year, I felt it was a pretty strong contender coming from Microsoft. Of course, it fell victim to some brutal application load times, lag and issues with setting up new Live accounts. But it was still in its infancy, and part of being an early adopter is understanding that the software may come with a few hitches. After several updates, the vast majority of these bugs and other issues are a thing of the past.

Developer interest and support has also been surprisingly strong in comparison to other platforms like webOS, BlackBerry and even Android. Although it doesn't hold a candle to the sheer size of the App Store or Android Market, the rate at which Windows Marketplace is growing is astounding. Windows Phone 7 blew the doors off of RIM as they flew by the 10,000 application milestone after a mere four months on the market – something that took RIM a couple years. And just a few days ago, it was announced that the Windows Marketplace finally surpassed 30,000 applications in just under 10 months. This same feat took Apple's App Store over eight months to complete and Android 17 months. Impressive to say the least.

So what's really the problem? Hardware, for one. If you want Windows Phone 7, the choice in hardware is pretty slim. Most carriers have, at most, two WP7 phones to choose between – three if you're lucky. Even then, they're all too identical on paper. They may come in slightly different form factors like the Venue Pro versus the Focus, but Microsoft has created strict guidelines for specifications in qualifying Windows Phone devices. The problem is, the specifications used in said Windows Phones are somewhat dated by comparison. Android phones are coming packed with mind-blowing specifications like HD displays, 1.4GHz dual-core processors, 1GB RAM, and pretty much every other form of overkill you can imagine. The truth is, Windows Phone 7 devices do not have to be packed with extremely powerful processors to run smoothly. The software, especially the metro UI, is minimalistic and runs fairly smooth on a simple 1GHz Snapdragon. Microsoft upped the ante a bit by switching the minimum requirements Qualcomm MSM8x50 to MSM8x55 – a small change in comparison to many counterparts bumping from single to dual-core processors, but a change nonetheless. And luckily, the second batch of Windows Phones are just around the corner.

But having OEMs create hardware that catches the eye of the consumer is only half the battle. Android was already huge when Windows Phone entered the scene. Wireless providers quickly learned just how lucrative Android can be and how easily it sells itself. Providers like Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile have focused a lot of their attention on Andy, pushing others aside. If you walk into a carrier store today, the chance of someone actually suggesting you buy a Windows Phone is slim. No, almost zero. Windows Phones are usually displayed in the back corner of the store on a broken pedestal, covered with cobwebs and with a busted light bulb over it. That may be a slight exaggeration, but it might as well be true. Just to test the waters, I have entered carrier stores pretending to want a Windows Phone on several occasions. Almost every time I was countered with, “Why don't you buy a [insert popular Android phone name here]? It's what everybody is buying.” Or something to that effect.

There's no one reason why Windows Phone isn't gaining any traction. All of the stars have aligned just right for Android and iOS, and everything else is struggling to stay afloat. Whether it's because the UI is simply too boring or because the device selection is limited, Windows Phone 7 clearly isn't doing as well as Microsoft had planned. It looks like the phone (or platform rather) that was meant to save us from our phones needs saving from itself. Here's to hoping the approaching Mango update can spice up the software a bit and hardware manufacturers can continue to make competitive hardware. I've been desparately looking for something new.

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45 Reactions to this post

"Does Windows Phone 7 need saving from itself?"

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Paul Mondragon Are you kidding I would love to have this phone
Joshua Clark they just need better apps, the apps are a joke nothin like iphone and the games are a joke too much the same price, not enough RPG games and needs popular developers and games like infinity blades for the WP7.
Art Carlson I had an HD77 earlier this year. Loved the metro interface: progressive, clean and easy to use. The OS worked flawlessly. At the time I had the device, functionality was limited. Perhaps with the Mango update later this Fall the phone will be a contender. Its a shame though how little carrier support WP7 seems to have gotten...
Kevin Joel What do you mean? Man, WP7 is a success, time will soon bring down its opponents. Those talking abt the lack of devices need to look up good YouTube reviews, I own a great looking Dell venue pro!
Ali Ahmed I really like wp7 just need more in the market place but its with any os that is new it will mature with time but its amazing compared to the current competition
Ridgwan Ablania Using android (sense),tried Metro Ui launcher and realized that's all I need. Can't wait to try the real thing on Mango?. But there's more to improve though
Equaknox Knox Caint hav no fun with it..apps..roms..c'mon..true cell phone junky aint messn with it
Luis Valentin-Zeno Microsoft needs to better advertisement and annouce Mango to the Real Public
Cristian Reyes no it just needs microsoft to make good commercials not the crappy ones they have on now
Jaime Barraza Its smooth, but they need killer hardware to convert to fan boys. Until then you'll keep seeing bad comments. I hope Nokia gets those phone here quick.
Jamie Layel WP7 mango is going to catch a many off guard. Smoothest running OS ive seen on a phone. People need to stop being so bias toward something they know nothing about.
Nathan Wright Once people get past the whole mixing it up with windows mobile, im sure it will take off. Especially with mango and better hardware coming, it will see growth. Not Android growth but growth. Wp7 doesn't have 100-200 phones running wp7 yet to get high.
Marco Raymond Microsoft will gain market share in the next couple years
Marco Raymond Wp7 is amazing, im sure in the next couple of years when ppl get tired of IOS and Android UI they try the beautiful interface of Windows phone. I have a samsung focus and its amazing!
Jason King The new Nokia Windows phone hardware looks good ... the N9 or Sea Ray is a great phone i think... Now the software Ummmm nawww . The article is right on all points .. No one is looking for an WP7 & even worse the Cellphone companies are not even pushing it and every time i go into a cell phone store or best buy mobile you dont even see a real WP7 working to play with ... The only way to see what its about is look for reviews on youtube . Personally i think the problem with WP7 is the word "Windows" Almost everyone i know who has owns a windows PC wants to get or is getting an apple for their next laptop and that transfers to the Windows mobile division unfortunately.. Also the key factors of the phone should NOT be Excel or Word Documents ... no one is trying to do work on a phone and if they are it will be a Blackberry. But i hate to mention other phones ... Microsoft its time to go back to the drawing board.
Dana J. Hill Wp7 is a boss. HTC titan is a beast
Alex Englehart Android or bust, you can get launcher7 from market and have the metro ui on your Android
Mark Mann They need better hardware
Chris Corliss Wp7 is essentially the retarded cousin of the smartphone family. The interface is way to striped down, and honestly I'd be embarrassed if people saw me using it.
David Erwin Better or more variety? All the apps Ive seen work beautifully on WP7, and you dont have the same risks such as malware apps that exist within androids app market. "In August 2011, the security firm Lookout estimated that between half a million to one million Android users have been affected by malicious software in the first half of 2011. " You arent going to encounter issues like that with wp7.
Anthony So Its sad wp7 is good but it came in too late and the previous window mobile os was a dud which scared everyone off to droid and iOS and app market for both are much better then MS
David Erwin One thing thats really hindering windows phones from gaining traction is the lack of a "cool name" Think about it, "Droid, Galaxy, "Thunderbolt", Its the name that people are buying. If Microsoft could push the xbox angle more, add some cool names to their devices(not their control I know) and really push some marketing on what these devices can REALLY do, its going to get better. Alot better. Its all about awareness! Also, you have those pesky contract dates for upgrades which really hinder alot of people jumping ship when new devices are available, they simply upgrade to the "best" phoen when the contract is up. Then you got verizon snubbing wp7 for the most part which doesnt help things either, hell thats 97 million people that are forced to choose ONE device? An old one at that? Ill be getting my mango love soon, either with the HTC Titan or that beautiful Samsung galaxy version that was spied a few months back. Im with verizon now but Im not going to buy what THEY think is cool, Im gonna buy what works for me. And WP7 is easily the best OS out there. Android will continue to gain shares simply because they have a new phone every 3 months, perfect timing for anyone who needs an upgrade. If WP7 can bring out devices like that, youd be seeing an increase in market share. How many wp7's came out within the last quarter? Yeah, thats what i thought. Everyone who "knows" this industry is waiting for mango...its as simple as that.
Matthew Hessler I'd take WP7 over android any day but prob not over iPhone. The app marketplace is growing though. It's a very stable OS
Raymond Sosmoove Samuel Windows phone isn't that bad as far as the usage of the phone.. It just needs a better/improved user interface.
Robert Merrill Its just a little too simple for me. But its not bad by any means.
Kenny Hilderbrand I got a window's phone and id take it over the android i had any day, but that's me. I had a droid i had to send in 2 times for repair and right before my upgrade i had to keep pulling the battery out cuz it kept freezing, good thing i had my droid insured.
Derrick Wimberly Jr. It's a decent phone it jus needs a little TLC
Jamil Oquendo I own and love a wp7 hd7, but from what I am seeing and hearing it seems like they are moving too slow hardware wise. The new HTC phones are good but I read today they will not be released in the USA until later, wtf. Then Nokia isn't releasing in the USA until late and the Samsung galaxy variant with wp7 is coming out later than the Android counterparts. Totally unacceptable, I'm mostly disappointed with the release dates, the os is the best imo. I fear that by the time the phones are released in the USA, they will be lost in the sea of androids and iPhone 5 phones. The sea ray and Nokia I believe is their best shot at being successful.
James Vincent I've never experienced wp7 myself and have only seen ONE person with a wp7 phone and they couldn't figure out how to get Facebook working
Jermaine Parker Wp7 is needs to be scrapped and I would love to go to the next iteration of win mobile. The lack of windows explorer and ability to save files where you want is a disgrace.
Henry Murillo I like it. Gonna switch to mango or ios. Maybe BB. Android gettin old!
Perro Rosello it needs more appealing hardware since Mango adds almost all that was missing software wise. OEM's look like they make WP7 hardware out of leftover parts... apps are coming quickly, but the negative bais because of the sour taste windows mobile left is whats holding them back the most
Terry Davis I agree with Derrick, there are no decent windows phones available otherwise I'd have one. I'll definitely be interested in seeing the HTC Titan when its released.
Mandy Brownberry What Windows has proven time and time again is that it's no master when it comes to the aesthetics department. It must have stuffy old men working on its OS. For goodness sake, pretty-up the darm OS. The left-leaning tiles are so old looking and boring.
Adam Cuong Tran window 7 need to go back to window 6.5 interface and evolve from that...window 7 is insulting to user, make you feel like your too dumb for a smart phone so you gotta buy it.
Carlos Quinones All it needs Is awesome apps at competitive prices. That's iPhones saving grace in my opinion. They have tons of apps, to top it off, they have great deals and random sales all the times. It reminds me of Steam for gaming PCs. That's all windows phone 7, and blackberry need to compete.
Jack Trowill I thought it looked nice and it worked well and fast
Derrick Bird I like WP7 but I do not like any of the phones. The new samsung might be interesting but chances are it will release too late. It doesnt stand a chance against tje S II or iphone 5.
Valine Cretens I <3 Mine! Just right for me.
Leon Digidude Lionheart Chevron team can try their best with their unlocker/jailbreak but seriously it was never going to succeed and be taken seriously as a full fledged Mobile Platform.
Steve Hartsock The Metro UI killed it from the start.
Talon Meyer mango looks awesome. i think it will do better
Rich Reuther It never had a chance...

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