By now, you’ve probably seen Windows Phone 8, Microsoft’s next-gen smartphone operating system set to debut in the fall. Windows Phone 8 has the potential to shake things up in the consumer marketplace, with a redesigned start screen that features a nearly infinite level of customization. The once-squarish live tiles can now be resized to one of three different categories, turning your Windows Phone 8 device into a puzzle that’s uniquely you, surpassing customizability options provided by Apple’s iOS and closely matches that of Google’s Android platform.
Windows Phone currently makes up less than 5% of the U.S. smartphone market, and carriers have been extremely skeptical about releasing Windows Phone 7 devices when consumers aren’t exactly lining up to buy them. There were some early signs of success with Nokia’s Lumia 900 on AT&T, though sales of the device have reportedly fizzled out, never a good sign for the de facto flagship Windows Phone device.
With the Windows Phone 8 announcement yesterday, carriers may be singing a different tune. PC Mag reached out to all the major carriers yesterday, and received statements back from all major players indicating that they have an interested eye tuned into Windows Phone 8.
“AT&T plans to carry a new line of Windows Phone 8 smartphones launching later this year. The unmatched leader in Windows Phone – offering the very first 4G LTE Windows Phone smartphones in the U.S. – AT&T is home to the most robust Windows Phone portfolio of any carrier.” - Company spokesperson
The nation’s 4th largest carrier remains bullish on Windows Phone, issuing a blog post highlighting the strong sales and customer satisfaction record for the Lumia 710. Regarding Windows Phone 8, T-Mobile plans to be a launch partner when Windows Phone debuts in the fall.
“We’re bullish on the future of Windows Phone. In fact, IDC’s report out earlier this month predicts Windows Phone will surpass iOS by 2016 – and we expect Windows Phone to continue to play a prominent role in our product portfolio and marketing efforts. Microsoft announced today that T-Mobile will be among the launch partners for the Windows Phone 8 release later this year, and we’re excited to bring new, innovative Windows Phones to market.” - T-Mobile Blog
Verizon has previously publicly announced that they would not support Windows Phone devices until Windows Phone 8 came to fruition. They remain committed to Windows Phone 8, and plan on launching Windows Phone 8 devices in the fall.
Sprint wouldn’t publicly confirm whether they plan on offering Windows Phone 8, suggesting that they don’t comment on unannounced devices. That said, Sprint has offered a few Windows Phone devices in the past, and reaffirmed that they have a strong partnership with Microsoft and its partners. If we were betting folk, we’d say Sprint will likely be a launch partner for Windows Phone 8 in the fall.
Cricket, and MetroPCS have yet to decide whether they will offer Windows Phone 8 initially or not.
If you’re looking to get your hands on a Windows Phone 8 device later this year, you will likely have your choice of carrier. We expect that all 4 major carriers will offer a Windows Phone 8 device at launch, and we could even see several regional carriers jump on board. This is good news for the Windows Phone platform, which, despite widespread praise from experts, has failed to generate much market share for Microsoft. Perhaps we’ll see that trend shift once carriers are more publicly behind the platform.
[via PC Mag]