While Microsoft is unveiling new low-end Lumia handsets at Mobile World Congress today, the software maker continues to skip the high-end market. In an interview with The Verge, Microsoft's director of phone marketing, Neil Broadley, confirmed that the company is waiting on Windows 10 before any new flagship hardware. "We remain completely committed and focused on new flagship products," says Broadley. "That said, certainly we believe the best time to bring those flagship devices to market is when we have our very latest flagship software experience available. “We’re focusing our flagship development for slightly later when Windows 10 is available."
The news won't come as a surprise to Windows Phone fans waiting on their next upgrade, but it does mean there could be a lack of high-end Windows Phone hardware until later this year. Windows 10 is expected to ship after the summer period, meaning phones ready for the operating system won't likely debut until September or October. Unless Samsung, HTC, or other phone makers create a high-end Windows Phone ahead of the Windows 10 launch, it's a long wait for fans. That's a tough position for Microsoft to maintain, and one that will frustrate Lumia 920 and Lumia 1020 owners desperately waiting on the next great Lumia camera hardware. Many had been hoping to see a new flagship phone in time for Windows Phone 8.1, but Microsoft canceled its "McLaren" hardware.
Windows Phone is all about the low-end for now
Microsoft is, understandably, focusing on the low-end Lumia market to grow its market share, and today's Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL launches underline that. However, the latest IDC figures reveal that Microsoft's smartphone market share shrank last year to just 2.7 percent worldwide, despite improved shipment numbers of nearly 35 million. Windows Phone sales continue to head in the right direction, but growth is slowing compared to the dominance of Android and second-place iOS — both are still growing faster than Windows Phone. Google and Apple continue to squeeze Microsoft out of the smartphone market, and 2015 will be a testing time for Microsoft's mobile efforts.
With the company focused on Windows 10, Microsoft is still struggling to attract consumer attention for its range of Windows Phones. There are a number of reasons forcing these issues, but a lack of apps is severely hindering Microsoft's progress. Microsoft continues to test Android apps running on Windows 10, and it's possible the company could be forced to push its plan b into action sooner than expected. All eyes are now on Microsoft's Windows on phones plan for this year.