Microsoft trying to catch up on Dual SIM market with Windows Phone 8.1

Lava & Karbonn to launch dual-boot Windows/Android phones

by our Indian correspondent, Asif Shaik

lumia 1520 costs $700+

According to latest (Q4 2013) IDC numbers, Android had a majority 78.1 per cent share of smartphone shipments worldwide, while iOS stood still on 15.2 per cent whilst Windows Phone stood at a distant 3 per cent. Hence Microsoft is doing everything possible to push its market share towards double digit numbers and eat into its more successful competitors namely iOS and Android. In its latest attempt, the company is trying to target the lower end of the smartphone market, especially in the developing BRIC nations – Brazil, Russia, India, and China.

Starting with Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft will offer a license fee waiver to OEMs developing low cost devices which will lure more manufacturers to pitch into the platform.

Local Indian smartphone players Xolo, Karbonn and Micromax have signed the contract to use Windows Phone 8.1 in their upcoming smartphones.

Windows Phone devices from Karbonn will fall in the price range of $100 to $200, while Lava’s range will start at $110 as they are famous for providing slightly premium feel to their devices in comparison.

Other new brands releasing Windows Phone smartphones are Foxconn, Gionee, JSR, Longcheer and ZTE which hail from China along with Korea’s LG.

Including Windows Phone smartphones in the line-up will help local brands in increasing their brand’s quality recognition in the eyes of buyers.

That’s because they are more likely to have consistent interface and receive latest software updates over a long period of time.

The much awaited Windows Phone 8.1 update will also bring Dual SIM compatibility which is often asked by almost all the buyers in the entry-level and mid-range segment in India.

This feature will immediately help Windows Phone in improving the sales as a lot of people are interested in cost effective devices such as Lumia 520 which is priced around $125.

That’s opposed to high end devices like the Nokia Lumia 1520 which are priced over $700 (see MySmartPrice).

But such consumers demand the inclusion of dual SIM connectivity.

Domestic {Indian] handset players Lava and Karbonn have also announced that they will also launch dual-boot Windows and Android powered smartphones in the coming few months.

This might be seen as a desperate attempt from Microsoft to save itself from further competition in low end smartphone market from the upcoming Firefox OS and Ubuntu Touch, both of which are free and are now focussing on developing markets.

Such similar steps from Intel to force tablet brands to include Android and Windows 8 have been curbed by both Google in the recent past.

In the times when Windows is facing the old chicken-and-egg problem of applications and games, dual-boot smartphones might stop developers frommaking Windows Phone applications altogether.

Waiver of fees is OK but asking smartphone brands to also include Windows Phone in their Android smartphones is a bit too much.

This might increase Microsoft’s market share on paper but how will they ensure that people actually use it instead of more attractive Android platform?

About Asif Shaik

Asif Iqbal Shaik is a consumer electronics expert and computer science graduate turned technology Blogger. Asif is obsessed with gadgets, games, internet and technology brands. He is known as ‘gadget guru’ amongst his friends. He works for the Indian mobile phone price comparison web site,
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