Earlier this week, at Computex, Microsoft announced the first new Windows Phone devices from new manufacturers.
Here's my question though:
Why are (smaller) OEMs signing up to produce new Windows Phone devices?
Here are some of my thoughts on the subject:
With Nokia devices making up the vast majority of those in the market, past manufacturers of WP devices stopping production and those that have remained making little effort in the space, what do these new manufacturers see in the platform to make it attractive?
While analysts have not been brilliant at predicting future mobile operating system market share, the broad consensus is that Windows Phone doesn't have a future with a large market share. So why the appeal?
With Microsoft buying Nokia's device business they will now be able to more closely integrate their devices with the OS. They claim that this will be good for all manufacturers but surely this still leaves them in a stronger position than anyone else. Doesn't it?
The Nokia brand name was argued by some to be the biggest thing that Windows Phone had going for it. With that going away, is Windows Phone going to suffer?
Network operators and Microsoft don't have a great history. Whether due to the Skype purchase or other past events, Nokia was believed, by some, to be the redeeming factor for Windows Phone. With Microsoft now owning the Nokia devices division are those old feelings likely to re-emerge and the operators turn against Microsoft again? If they do, or even just that they could, doesn't that make Windows Phone less appealing?
These new manufacturers are [assumed to be] intending to produce "low end" devices. This is where they'll be different from Nokia devices (who have a range of devices) but it's the low end where Nokia devices have numbers. Would Microsoft give up the low end to other manufacturers and focus on the high end--where they have an even smaller relative market share than smart phones as a whole?
Nokia and Microsoft spent billions advertising and marketing Lumia devices. Even then they only managed to achieve a relatively small market share. Can these, mostly, small manufacturers achieve sales without the deep pockets for such promotion?
Has Samsung got Android tied up such that no one else can be successful there? Doesn't Xiaomi prove this needn't be the case for smaller OEMs?
Is it because Microsoft have removed the license fee, for devices with a screen smaller than 9 inches running Windows, that now makes it more appealing? In theory this is now cheaper than paying for/licensing the patents that Microsoft owns and are part of Android. Is this price difference enough to make manufacturers change OS? Or could Microsoft be dropping Android patent licensing requests if the manufacturers are also building Windows Phone devices?
Is this just a way for OEMs targeting certain markets (primarily India & China) to differentiate within those, highly competitive, markets? If that's the case, is a different OS that is perceived to still suffer from an "app gap" able to provide an appealing alternative to iPhones or devices running android?
I'm not stupid and I've spent 10+ years trying to learn all that I can about the mobile industry (and developing websites and apps for mobile devices). Something just doesn't quite add up for me. Am I missing something obvious?