Ben Rudolph, the Microsoft employee you see in all those “Smoked by Windows Phone” commercials, has just uploaded a video to the official Windows Phone Blog where he demos Windows Phone 7.8 on a Nokia Lumia 900. What exactly is Windows Phone 7.8? That depends on who you ask. Nokia and Microsoft fans, for reasons we don’t quite understand, think that Windows Phone 7.8 offers a whole heap of additional functionality, when the reality is it’s just Windows Phone 7.5, but with the start screen that’s in Windows Phone 8. In other words, Microsoft and Nokia are hoping that by making today’s Windows Phones look like tomorrow’s Windows Phones, they’re not going to upset people.
Consider this: Nokia’s Lumia 900 for AT&T hit store shelves in April. Three months later and it’s effectively been put on life support. Yes, the device will continue to do all the great things that Nokia said it would do in their marketing materials, but how long do you think developers are going to support a platform that’s used by less than 2% of smartphone users? Regarding exact Lumia sales figures, we have just three data points. One, the Lumia 800 hit store shelves on November 16th in the UK last year. Two, on January 26th of this year Nokia announced that they sold a million Lumia devices “to date”. Three, Nokia announced that they sold 2 million Lumia phones in Q1 2012. We’re going to have to wait until late July to hear how many Windows Phones Nokia sold in Q2 2012, but let’s be optimistic and say they doubled their Q1 2012 figure. That’s 1 million + 2 million + 4 million = 7 million devices that will not get Windows Phone 8.
Google activates 900,000 Android devices a day. That 7 million figure takes the company about 8 days to reach. So we’re not exactly sympathetic to those Lumia 610/710/800/900 users out there who are complaining. That being said, we wish Nokia would have stuck to Symbian for an additional 12 months and then launched Windows Phone devices when Apollo was ready.
The mess they’ve put themselves in is just difficult to watch.