Daily Dose of iQ: Windows Phones, Where Art Thou?

Forbes’ Mark Rogowsky today wrote an interesting article about Microsoft and Nokia’s failure to gain traction in the smartphone market, and particularly in North America.

Based on recent sales figures, Windows Phones are disappearing.

The two companies sit at a crossroads. Microsoft is paying Nokia $250 million a quarter to lose money pushing inexpensive Windows phones,” he wrote. The platform is picking up marginal share, but quite literally none of it is at the high end. If rumors about a lower cost iPhone from Apple prove true, even those gains are likely to prove short-lived.”

Since Windows phones are selling so poorly in the U.S. and parts of Western Europe (where most mobile-app development takes place), it’s tough to convince developers to build apps for the platform. Developers will develop for platforms they see around them. That’s why Apple’s roughly 40% U.S. share keeps iOS app development so robust even though Android dominates globally,” Rogowsky adds.

Why don’t I see any Nokia Lumias anywhere?

The article got me thinking. Why don’t I see any Nokia Lumias anywhere? (I live in Canada.) My sample size of course is anecdotal and limited to the demographics I deal with day-to-day: my friends and family, people I see in bars, cafes and restaurants, people I see when I take public transit, etc. But honestly, I know two people that have Nokia Lumias. One is a friend that just wanted to try something different. The other is a Microsoft loyalist. That’s it.

Everybody I know either has an iPhone or an Android phone (most of whom have Samsung Galaxy phones). I know nobody that has an HTC One or a new BlackBerry Z10 or Q10, nor have I seen one being used in public. Ever.

Ironic: These seemingly absent devices have reviewed very well.

What’s ironic to me is that all of these seemingly absent devices (the new BlackBerrys, the HTC One and the Nokia Lumia) have reviewed really well. The hardware is excellent. But in the case of BlackBerry and Lumia, maybe the platforms simply arrived too late in the smartphone game. Maybe iOS and Android had entrenched themselves too deeply to leave room for BlackBerry and Windows Phone app development, and it appears developers and consumers have steered clear of them.

As for the HTC One, I have no idea why the phone isn’t selling well as a Samsung Galaxy alternative. As Rogowsky noted, Android dominates globally.