Ericsson has published their Mobility Report for 2015 this November, and it includes some pretty interesting statistics on mobile operating systems, Windows Phone included.
Ericsson is a global leader in communication technology, powering around 40 percent of the world's mobile traffic with their networks, with around 1 billions subscribers. Ericsson Mobility Report is an annual report utilizing this vast amount of mobile network traffic data to give a comprehensive picture of the mobile landscape, with industry analysis, internal forecasts and other relevant studies.
While the statistics provided in the report are fascinating, predicting trends on mobile subscriptions, traffic, energy efficiency and others, the part that should directly interest Windows mobile watchers is near the end, under the "Smartphone Switching Pattern," which, like the name suggests, details in clear-cut percentage just how likely a user would switch from one mobile operating system to another. The analysis is based on switching pattern from old to new devices on the same operator.
The studies found that, generally speaking, smartphone users are unlikely to switch operating systems, with around 70 to 80 percent of users on the two dominating mobile OSes, Android and iOS, treading familiar ground with their updates. Buyers of high-end models are much more likely to buy the next version of the series from the same maker than owners of the low-end.
Windows phone users - around 60 percent switched to Android and 15% to iOS, while only around 20% switched to a new Windows smartphone
— Tero Alhonen (@teroalhonen) November 17, 2015
Things do not look as pretty for Windows Phone, however: 60 percent of previous Windows Phone owners switch to Android when they update smartphones, with only 20 percent staying with Windows for their next mobile device. While this is still higher compare to iOS switching rate at 15 percent, overall, when put in contrast with the very opposite picture found on Android, it's clear Microsoft needs to do better to keep users on their platform.
Of course, given that there's a much higher switching tendency among onwers of low-end smartphones, which had been all Microsoft had on the market until very recently, and that analysis is based on users staying on the same operator, on which Microsoft's device availability doesn't have a very good track record, the numbers are hardly suprising.
It's more relieving to realize that even with a lack of a flagship to lead the way, Microsoft has managed to keep themselves visible on the mobile map (all other OSes' market share are so miniscule they are not even included). The new Lumias represent a comeback to the mobile space for Microsoft, and among the interest shown for the phones, news of more third-party makers coming (the Acer Jade Primo comes to mind) even in Microsoft's weakest markets when it comes to smartphones like China and Japan, and bubbling rumors of the secret Surface Phone, it is safe to say that the 2016 Mobility Report will be the one to look at to get the idea of Windows 10 Mobile' viability in the smartphone race.
Alas, all of this hardly matters in the bigger picture: as CEO Satya Nadella put it, Microsoft is committed to building Windows devices, phones included, for Windows fans, and they will serve, more than anything, as proof-of-concept for Microsoft's vision for the future of computing, which, given the hardware marvels being produced recently, should be something very interesting to watch in the times to come.