Paul Thurrott beat me to the punch with a blog entry about Windows Phone having turned the corner in 2013. Yes, things feel much better than they did a year ago. Volumes are up. Market share is up, strongly in some regions. And the app library is starting to fill in nicely (although it still has a way to go).
Personally, after dissing the state of Windows Phone earlier in the year, I found the Lumia 1020 irresistible. It takes amazing pictures, something that continues to draw attention. I was in Thailand the last couple of weeks and I think I sold two guides on getting 1020s because every time they borrowed mine to take our picture they were just amazed at the result. And taking pictures of their customers is something they do regularly. One was frustrated with the reliability of their Galaxy Note and I suggested they look into the Lumia 1520. Yes, the Phablet form factor is popular in Thailand.
Nokia and Microsoft have also done a considerable amount of updating of WP8 and the Lumia devices over the year, with Windows Phone 8 Update 3 and Nokia Black coming to my AT&T Lumia 1020 today. The device has continually felt fresh.
I also have a Lumia 521 that I bought to play with, something completely reasonable when you consider you can get one without contract for under $100. I can see why the 52x line is helping drive Windows Phone volumes as it’s a great device for its price category. I can also see a future generation putting the final nail in the coffin of the feature phone, something that will make more strategic sense as Microsoft takes over the Nokia device business.
And many more of the apps I really care about are now available. Yes I still have some frustrations in this area, but Joe Belfiore was probably right in asserting that WP will reach effective app store parity by the end of 2014.
Something else about my Thailand trip. The Thai’s seem quite a bit less jaded about Windows Phone and still hold Nokia in high regard. So Microsoft’s opportunity to achieve high market share in this Newly Industrialized Country (NIC) of 70 Million people is quite good. It’s just a different perspective than one gets sitting in the good ole USA.
Anyway, since Paul covered the argument rather well I won’t attempt the complete argument myself. Windows Phone, and its prospects, seem tremendously better than last year. In 2014 the Microsoft Lumia seems set to join the iPhone and Galaxy as the three device lines that the world primarily cares about.