Earlier this week, Microsoft officially RTM’d Mango and is currently shipping the OS to manufacturers and carriers for testing purposes. It’s widely felt that Windows Phone Mango is set to drop sometime in September, but Windows Phone is just an OS, the other half of the equation is the actual handsets that the OS runs on. We’ve heard and seen leaks and rumors that manufactures are gearing up for a big fall release of devices for the new platform, but a report by DigiTimes is citing sources that a number of Windows Phone device manufacturers are preparing for a September launch to likely go head-to-head with Apple’s rumored iPhone 5.
So far, we have seen actual devices from Samsung, HTC, Acer, ZTE and Fujitsu-Toshiba. And we have seen renderings from LG for a device to drop sometime in 2011. This is likely to be the lineup to launch against the very popular rumored next-iPhone, with insiders noting that manufacturers are preparing “a number of Mango phones, powered by Qualcomm 1.5GHz single-core CPUs with display sizes ranging from 3.8- to 4.7-inch.”
Then there’s Nokia, the proposed savior of the OS. And for that matter, Windows Phone is considered to be the savior of Nokia. After months of shedding mobile market share, Nokia hopes to tie its future to Microsoft and its emerging product. Nokia might be dwindling down in the mobile market, but their mind share in other countries is still very strong. Microsoft hopes to capitalize on this presence by combining the Nokia hardware with the Windows Phone OS. Nokia has now committed to releasing a device in 2011, “at a time when fellow vendors have already heated up the market for Mango phones.”
The latest report by Nielsen shows that Microsoft commands a 9% piece of the smartphone market. This includes both Windows Mobile and the Windows Phone OS and based on the speed at which old Windows Mobile has been ceding market share, the numbers are likely an indicator that Windows Phone is growing and starting to eat up some of those previous users.
So, it’s an exciting time to be following the mobile market and with heavy hitters like Microsoft and Apple set to duel in the Fall, it should be something to watch. We know that most Apple users will be lining up to hand over their cash to get an iPhone (no matter what is looks like) because that’s what they do, but will the rest of the world look to a new and exciting smartphone platform for their next device. We’ll have to wait and see.