In case you haven’t noticed, WindowsWave has been on hiatus since December. We launched this website around the time Microsoft launched its new Surface tablet, but sales of that device have been rather lackluster. Moreover, the tablet has an expensive price tag and suffers from a number of performance issues.
While we continue to debate where we will take WindowsWave in the future, be sure to check out iFans.com in the meantime. You’ll find our complete writing staff — Stephen Hall, Thuc Nguyen and I — on that website, a leading online iPhone, iPad and iPod touch community with over 175,000 registered members.
Thanks to everyone that was part of the early audience here at WindowsWave, as we truly appreciate the readership. This isn’t the last time you’ll hear from us, so check back periodically to see what we have in store. We’ll push forward with something, but exactly what remains a mystery at this point.
Android, as an open source mobile operating system, is considered more prone to malware attacks than closed platforms such as iOS — the iPhone, in particular — or Windows Phone. Microsoft is looking to take advantage of that fact by relaunching a marketing campaign on Twitter, in which users are invited to share their worst Android malware horror stories, using the hashtag #DroidRage, for a chance to win a free Windows Phone.
Microsoft is expanding its reach this year by using its official Windows Phone account on Twitter, which has over 220,000 followers, to promote the marketing campaign. Last year, it ran the campaign using the Twitter account @BenThePCGuy, which only has around 18,000 followers at the time of writing, and generated thousands of tweets in response. This year, that number will presumably be much higher.
The social campaign will certainly involve its fair share of illegitimate entries, as people attempt to win a free Windows Phone by making up an imaginary malware nightmare. But, as The Next Web notes, Microsoft will be pleased just to get the Android malware conversation going, in an attempt to make its flagship Windows Phone 8 smartphones sound more appealing to consumers.
[The Next Web]
Nokia today unveiled its latest Windows Phone 8 smartphone, the compact Lumia 620, at the LeWeb conference today in Paris. The Lumia 620 features a 3.8-inch screen, 1 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, NFC technology and 512 MB of RAM; moreover, the handset is Nokia’s cheapest Windows Phone 8 smartphone yet at $249.
As with Nokia’s other Windows Phone 8 smartphones, the Lumia 620 is available in a wide variety of mix-and-match colors. The handset has dual-colored shells in lime green, orange, magenta, yellow, cyan, white and black, giving the device a creative edge. And unlike its Lumia 920 sibling, the smaller Lumia 620 is softer and rounder for a more playful appearance.
According to Nokia, the Lumia 620 will be shipping to the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa in January, while launches in Canada and Europe will follow shortly thereafter. This smaller smartphone should help Nokia in its attempt to cater to the low- and mid-level range in emerging countries, where the Finnish handset maker has also been highly promoting its Windows Phone 7.5 devices.
Microsoft released the Surface tablet in late October to considerable fanfare, but consumer demand and sales of the device have not been very good to say the least. It’s no wonder that a new Bloomberg report claims that the Microsoft-Intel push to compete with the iPad has gotten off to a slow start.
Apple is still dominating the tablet industry with its iPad, while the release of the iPad mini has not helped Microsoft whatsoever. Google is also becoming more competitive in the tablet market, releasing both the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 this year.
Even worse, it’s difficult to track down Windows-based tablets that are built on ARM chips or Intel processors. The scarce availability of Windows 8 tablets has all but helped the iPad maintain its position atop the industry this holiday shopping season.
Plus, there are a limited number of options to choose from: Microsoft’s Surface, Asustek’s Vivo Tab RT, Lenovo’s IdeaPad Yoga, Samsung’s ATIV Smart PC and Acer’s Iconia. And with little to no marketing of these tablets being done by Microsoft’s manufacturing partners, sales remain poor.
“You can hardly even find one,” said Bob O’Donnell, an analyst at market researcher IDC in Framingham, Massachusetts. “So even if you wanted to buy it, it would be difficult.”
While more options are coming, such as a Windows RT tablet by Dell in December, it’s evident that Microsoft still has a lot of work to do to cut the gap between the iPad and its own product offerings. But that is what happens when you enter an already saturated market three years late. For now, the iPad remains the benchmark.
Although the adoption rate of OS X has been rising considerably, to the point that Mac growth is outpacing PCs, gamers are still sticking to the Windows platform for their gaming needs. Steam has released its hardware and software survey for November, with Windows 8 claiming a 4.25 percent stake among the most popular operating system versions. That percentage sits the 64 bit version of Windows 8 at fourth-place, trailing significantly behind Windows 7 64 bit, Windows 7 and Windows XP 32 bit at 58.58 percent, 13.98 percent and 10.36 percent respectively.
But more importantly, Windows 8 saw 2.4 percent month-over-month growth because of its release in late October. According to the survey, OS X 10.8.2 64 bit had a 1.49 percent share, 10.6.8 64 bit held a 0.78 percent stake and 10.7.5 64 bit accounted for a 0.72 percent share. Gaming has never been regarded as a strong point for the Mac, evident by 8 of the top 12 operating system versions being Windows-based. Linux was not particularly strong, either, accounting for less than 1 percent of operating systems being used to power Steam. Are you a Windows gamer?
[Steam via PCGamer]
High demand, low supply. That has been the trend since Nokia’s flagship Lumia 920 smartphone hit markets in early November. Because of the supply shortages, it has been difficult for analysts to determine just how well the Lumia 920 has been selling a month after launch. Despite the confusion, investment firm Canaccord Genuity recently performed channel checks and determined that Lumia 920 has indeed been attracting a considerable amount of consumer attention.
While the iPhone 5 was undoubtedly the highest selling smartphone in the United States last month, with the Galaxy S III trailing behind in second place, the Lumia 920 managed a respectable third-place finish in November sales. The Lumia 920 was the top-selling Windows Phone smartphone on AT&T last month, whereas the HTC Windows Phone 8X took the top spot on both T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.
“While our checks indicated the Lumia 920 was the top-selling Windows smartphone at AT&T and #3 selling device at that channel, we believe iPhone dominated AT&T’s sell-through volume,” Walkley wrote in his research note.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has noted in the past that he plans on positioning Windows Phone as a legitimate third-place competitor, so the third-place Lumia 920 has already hit the sweet spot. It’s unlikely that any Windows Phone will ever surpass the iPhone or top Android smartphones in the foreseeable future, but Microsoft has proved that it can willingly compete alongside the two major platforms. And as a consumer, that’s music to my ears.