Windows Phone is the fastest growing OS

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Technology giant says it maintain the momentum the OS has built-up over the past 12 months 

Microsoft has hailed 2013 as a “great year” for Windows Phone, branding it the fastest growing OS in the world – and vows to maintain that momentum in this and subsequent years.

The software giant, which is this month expected to complete its £4.6 billion acquisition of Nokia’s device business, said that based on research from IDC, adoption of its OS was up 91 per cent, with global share rising from 2.6 per cent to 3.3 per cent last year.

The firm has overtaken BlackBerry as the third biggest OS, after its share plummeted from around 5.2 to 0.6 per cent, according to Gartner and IDC respectively.

Race to the top

The task now, according to IDC, is to catch Apple on 15 per cent and eventually Android, which is currently on 78 per cent.

“If you are in a race and want to pass third place, you have to go faster. As long as we keep doing what we are doing we will pass them,” Windows Phone director Greg Sullivan said.

As in the UK, growth was attributed, in part, to the sales of the Lumia 520, which vice president of operating systems Joe Belfoire claims was the third best selling handset over Christmas ahead of all Android devices – although sales figures were not given.

He added Windows Phone-run handsets outsold the Apple iPhone in 10 markets, although again declined to provide details.

“Last year was a great year for Windows Phone. It got bigger while other companies got smaller.

“One of the reasons for this growth is the Nokia partnership, which in particular has seen the Lumia 520 sell well everywhere,” he said.

Lower end

Belfiore added that Microsoft will up its focus on creating lowerpriced smartphones, particularly in emerging markets, as it looks to help “connect the next billion people to the internet”.

He said Microsoft has lowered the technology specifications for WP to help reduce the cost of producing and selling hardware running the OS.

For example, future WP handsets may have fewer buttons utilising software to support soft keys for functions such as the camera, allowing vendors to reuse hardware across product lines. It will also lower the RAM and storage currently required in WP devices, meaning prices will also fall.

“When you put WP on inexpensive hardware, I think that’s where we really shine relative to our competition,” he said.

“We have changed the system to bring hardware requirements down and enable our partners to ship devices that have a lower opening price point.

“This will enable our partners to build devices that have just 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. And that will help us get tablets and wearables at lower price points than with our current hardware requirements.

“Today Windows Phones requires three hardware buttons on the phones – in future they will no longer require them.”

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