Windows Phone 7 Gains Some Market Advantages

HTC today unveiled two smartphones, the Titan and the Radar, which will run the upcoming "Mango" release of Windows Phone 7. And Samsung is generating early buzz for its yet-to-ship Windows Phone 7-based Series 7 Slate device.

Last week the Windows Phone Applist blog reported that the number of mobile applications that support Windows Phone 7 had reached 30,000. That's nowhere near the 500,000 apps available for Apple iOS and 250,000 developed for Google Android devices, but it's a respectable number nevertheless.

Windows Phone 7 is also looking like a more stable bet in a turbulent market, following Google's planned acquisition of Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion and Hewlett-Packard's decision to "explore options" for the future of the WebOS mobile operating system it acquired when it bought Palm last year.

Microsoft has even made a play to convince WebOS ISVs to develop their applications to run on Windows Phone 7.

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Still, Microsoft has a lot of ground to make up. Microsoft's share of smartphone subscribers was only 5.7 percent in July, down from 6.7 percent in April, according to Comscore. And that includes the older Windows Mobile software: Market researcher Nielsen put Windows Phone's current market share at 1 percent (with Windows Mobile holding 7 percent).

Google Android, in contrast, has 41.8 percent of the smartphone OS market while Apple iOS has 27.0 percent, according to Comscore.

Microsoft is counting on the Mango release, due sometime this fall, to increase Windows Phone 7's market presence. The mobile OS will offer more than 500 enhancements including cut-and-paste features, a mobile version of the Internet Explorer 9 browser, and third-party application multitasking capabilities.

Microsoft has begun accepting and certifying third-party Mango-based applications through the company's App Hub, said Todd Brix, senior director, Windows Phone marketplace, in a posting on the Windows Phone Developer Blog.

Also expected to boost Windows Phone 7's fortunes will be new smartphones from Nokia, based on the mobile OS, expected later this year. Those are being developed under an alliance between Microsoft and Nokia unveiled in February.