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03-10-2015 10:18 AM
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  1. Praxius's Avatar
    I couldn't think of a better title, but after thinking about what I am about to post and ask, it will no doubt lead to the title fitting the topic.

    I have been reading and following and scouring all sorts of information & comments in all sorts of places:

    These Forums
    Windows Central's News Feed
    Internet Searches
    Cortana News Feeds Relating to "Windows."

    And many others.

    The topic of interest is the topic that interests many in here today.... High End Windows Phones, Specifically New High End Phones to come which will run Windows 10.

    I am not focusing on Microsoft's Flagship or lack thereof, but the grand scheme of all High End Windows Phones of late.

    .... Which there really isn't any to be had.

    The most recent high ends would be the 1520 & the 930/Icon.

    Now we all know that Microsoft has said that while they are working on a flagship, that flagship won't be brought forward until Windows 10 is finalized.

    Ok... That's that.

    But with all of the reported new OEM's to jump on board the Windows Banana Boat, why oh why hasn't a single one of these decided to tap into this wide open market of the high end Windows Phones?

    In the past year, MS has helped 25 Hardware Partners release 31 Windows Phone Devices.

    Source:
    Microsoft Gathers Windows Phone Support

    Out of those 31 devices, not a single one would be considered high end by any stretch of the term.

    Being well aware that MS wants to flood the market and increase market share by unloading oodles and poodles of cheap phones.... And also being aware that logically many OEM's would want to play it safe by pumping out cheap low end phones... Wouldn't it also be logical that at least 1-2 of these 25 developers would attempt to launch just one high end phone into a completely vacant market where there is pretty much little to no competition?

    Even if their one model was produced in low production numbers to test the waters, you would think there would be something by now.

    Well are they waiting for Windows 10?

    Why??

    They're not waiting for Windows 10 with their low enders, so I can't see that being a big factor.

    Now here's where we get to the conspiracy:

    Is it at all possible that Microsoft has made direct deals with many of these OEM's to not release any high ends at all until they release their own Lumia Flagship?

    Why would they do that you might ask.

    Well I don't know, but there is a bit of logic where MS may not want to undermine the hype and excitement of this flagship they are working on.

    I speculate that whatever this flagship is that they are working on, they are no doubt going to shove every single thing they can think of into it to the point of being ridiculously over the top and they don't want any other high ends to come out beforehand to possibly steal any of its thunder.

    Also, by preventing other high ends from coming out and having over exposure of low/mid range phones for some time, when this flagship does come out, the public won't have anything recent to compare it to. Anything released by that stage will appear spectacular.

    I also speculate that a few of these OEM's actually DO have some High Ends in development and being put together. My guess is that within a couple of weeks after the Flagship is launched, we will see a number of alternative high ends come from the likes of HTC, Acer, and maybe even Samsung.

    It would be more than a blind sided punch to the back of the head to Android, iPhone and all the opinionated internet bloggers dead set in their fan boy iPhone/Android ways.... It would be a drop kick from the top turn buckle.

    I wouldn't even guess or suggest that doing the above would make Windows Phone grab a gigantic chunk of the pie chart right away, but it would produce a continual flow of publicity, hype and buzz... Getting people to talk and take more interest and further continue the momentum.

    Then again, it could all flop, become a huge failure and the sun will implode into a microscopic galactic belly button.

    But by all of the actions, wording and such I have been seeing over the last few months, I would say Microsoft is going to put all their chips in (Windows 10), put on their best poker face, throw down their joker wild card (Flagship) and show their 2 Aces and 2 Kings (OEM High Ends... around four to choose from)

    This will also allow the OEM's to ride along on that hype and help sell those high ends of theirs, using the W10 launch hype/buzz and the flagship buzz/hype. This would collectively benefit all of them at once, as well as MS's Flagship.

    If I was a business kind of guy, this would be what I would have done.

    What are your thoughts?

    Do you think MS has a backroom deal going on with OEM's holding off on any High Ends?

    Do you think OEM's just don't want to bother with high ends?

    Or do you think there is something else going on?

    Granted, all of this is speculation and assumptions based on educational guesses, but as a 930 owner waiting for W10 preview for my phone, I have the time to kill on speculations and theories.
    wpn00b, HaibaneReki and MikeSo like this.
    03-03-2015 06:35 AM
  2. someone2639's Avatar
    Or....


    They are trying to help MS get market share so they can make flagships
    Last edited by someone2639; 03-03-2015 at 07:18 AM.
    Blu3V3nom07 and ibbyj like this.
    03-03-2015 06:49 AM
  3. paulxxwall's Avatar
    Or....


    They are helping MS get market share so they can make flagships
    Um...market share is down since launch 😡
    03-03-2015 07:11 AM
  4. someone2639's Avatar
    Um...market share is down since launch 😡
    That's why I said trying.
    03-03-2015 07:18 AM
  5. anon(5969054)'s Avatar
    I think you are right. I had such a theory myself.

    I believe they don't market Windows phone well on purpose. Thus also only releasing low end devices. Why? To grow some market share but at the same time stay under the radar.

    A slow continuously growing approach would not work. You can never overpower the existing forces then.

    Microsoft knows they have to hit with a bang. A bang comparable to the introduction of the iPhone. This is the only way to get market share. It must be instantly. Noticeable. People must be willing to sacrifice stuff to switch over. Same with people switching over to iPhones back in the day. They had less functionality but the overall experience was better. Now when they switch to WP they have less apps. What can comprise?

    Big revolutions like insane battery life or other things we can't imagine.

    I'm hoping MS is preparing such a big bang. And I'm hoping their big bang is not just W10 but also the hardware. It should have something revolutionary.
    HaibaneReki, wpn00b and MikeSo like this.
    03-03-2015 07:59 AM
  6. Lance_WPCentral's Avatar
    Or maybe since Windows Phone 8.1 is not doing that well in the market all the OEM's aren't really bothered to release a high end phone. Look at it this way, when WP 8.1 is owned by MS itself and they are least bother to release a flag ship at this point, why would other OEM's bother too. Also Flagships contribute to a very small number unlike cheaper models.

    Windows 10 for phone could turn out to be a game changer from what it looks like currently so probably all the OEM's are holding back just as Microsoft did and would launch a high end device once Windows 10 goes live.
    Blu3V3nom07 and Al4video like this.
    03-03-2015 08:01 AM
  7. EasilyTheBest's Avatar
    Could it be that Microsoft's high end phones will be called Surface Phones and each Surface Phone will have an Intel Atom Processor. They will work just like a regular Windows Phone except once you connect it to a tv and Bluetooth keyboard the Desktop part of Windows 10 becomes available. So basically you can have a tiny full blown pc you can take anywhere.
    wpn00b likes this.
    03-03-2015 08:06 AM
  8. Spectrum90's Avatar
    HTC released their best phone running WP, but according to AdDupplex sales were low. If Microsoft/Nokia has problems selling more expensive phones, for OEMs is almost impossible.
    03-03-2015 08:10 AM
  9. spideymaniac's Avatar
    Why do people like with conspiracy thingy? Well, it's interesting read btw

    I just hope more apps coming to WP as well as big name games
    N_LaRUE and Blu3V3nom07 like this.
    03-03-2015 08:19 AM
  10. milkyway's Avatar
    it's easy. developing a high end phone is very expensive with all the R&D you need. and the materials are more expensive.
    so it's a high financial risk to bring a high end WP phone to the market that will eventually doesn't sell well.
    also: WP is doing well in developing/emerging markets where people don't spend much money on a phone.

    so it's a very easy decision to bring out cheap devices with WP than high end models
    03-03-2015 09:22 AM
  11. TheCudder's Avatar
    There is little (if any) money to make in the Windows Phone business. Why would a business throw millions into developing & marketing a phone that less than 1% (considering most of WP market is low range) of the world would buy? The only reason HTC gave us a "High End" device is because it's the same hardware as it's Android flagship --- and this only happened because Microsoft modified its hardware requirements to persuade them to do so (on-screen buttons & no more required physical camera button).

    It's only logical that they get in on the low-end range...the only place Microsoft has seen success.
    03-03-2015 09:38 AM
  12. envio's Avatar
    There's no conspiracy, there's no collusion, it's all rather simple. The big increase in OEMs producing Windows Phones is directly related to fact that Microsoft lowered the bar to entry to compete for the bulk of OEMs that have, in recent years, become exclusive Android shops. They did it in several ways, here's three that standout:-
    1. They made the licensing costs free for screen sizes of 9" and below.
    2. They relaxed the control key rules such that the 3 dedicated hard / capacitive soft keys are optional.
    3. They reduced minimum level / combination of hardware spec like dedicated camera button.

    Developing a high-end flagship product is very expensive and unless you've got very deep pockets and / or have the ear of carriers worldwide who can subsidize and help market your product, you're going to lose out big time. These OEMs target the entry to low-mid range devices as it's the most profitable and has the lowest bar to market.

    Microsoft is stuck trying to re-embrace what has mostly become an Android OEM mobile world. Most of that world equates (more or less) to cheap, low-end, off-the-shelf parts and forgettable products, like it or not that's where we are. Thank your lucky stars that Microsoft bought the Nokia mobile IP when they did, the true flagships are coming and will be worth it. We just need to be patient.
    03-03-2015 09:52 AM
  13. theefman's Avatar
    Too much time on peoples hands, drives them loopy....
    a5cent and Al4video like this.
    03-03-2015 09:56 AM
  14. Grimlock's Avatar
    This theory is way too complicated and would make Occam roll over in his grave.

    There is no flagship because MS is focusing more on low and mid range devices because this is where they can increase market share and make money. Why do I believe this? Because that's what they ACTUALLY SAID!

    "For now, Microsoft seems intent on bolstering its efforts in the budget segment, with the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL heralding a move in the right direction for the hardware giant."

    "We're focusing our flagship development for slightly later when Windows 10 is available."
    wpn00b likes this.
    03-03-2015 11:10 AM
  15. a5cent's Avatar
    The real reason none of the 25 OEMs are releasing high end devices is because doing that would require significant r&d investments... investments OEMs are very unlikely to get a return on, by selling high end WP devices in developing nations.

    In contrast, the low end devices require almost no investments at all. They are in fact all the exact same device, copied from MS' reference design, with a custom camera, case and logo slapped on. We're not actually talking about dozens of devices. Just one that was rebranded dozens of times. There is not much risk to selling something that cost you almost nothing to make, and where selling just 50'000 already gets you to the break even point.

    None of those companies have the brand recognition to sell high end devices however, not even in their own countries. Simple as that.
    Last edited by a5cent; 03-03-2015 at 11:37 AM.
    03-03-2015 11:27 AM
  16. Wevenhuis's Avatar
    I agree that there is no consipiracy. In one way or another, in previouws keynotes microsoft made clear what their roadmap is and all these cheaper models and increase in choice is within the agenda they mentioned. Winodws phone is only the third largest OS and many people still today do not know what windows phone is. Microsoft is just expanding the brand and making good enough phones at an affordable price for more of the market to get aquainted and offer oems good arguments to make windows phones at an affordable price for bulk production into mid to entry markets that really only knows one other OS.

    Flagships will come, but the fact that windows 10 will very likely support the flagships of the windows 8.1 era is promising that microsoft will make a big impact in the mobile market, as the market always lags behind to some degree to the early adopters. The reality is that flagships are too much out of reach, and that flagships on a global scale are really niche devices, and you're really lucky that you own one. Don't forget that.
    Blu3V3nom07 likes this.
    03-04-2015 06:21 AM
  17. Praxius's Avatar
    The real reason none of the 25 OEMs are releasing high end devices is because doing that would require significant r&d investments... investments OEMs are very unlikely to get a return on, by selling high end WP devices in developing nations.

    In contrast, the low end devices require almost no investments at all. They are in fact all the exact same device, copied from MS' reference design, with a custom camera, case and logo slapped on. We're not actually talking about dozens of devices. Just one that was rebranded dozens of times. There is not much risk to selling something that cost you almost nothing to make, and where selling just 50'000 already gets you to the break even point.

    None of those companies have the brand recognition to sell high end devices however, not even in their own countries. Simple as that.
    I don't get the R&D cost argument. To simplify the situation, it's like building a PC... You get the manufacturers to supply you with a compatible & powerful CPU, toss in a bunch more RAM, add larger storage, pop in the same SD Card slot you have for the lower end phones, get a higher MP camera(s), higher resolution display, put Windows on it, slap a case around the whole thing and then test it out like you would with any of the low end phones before launching it.

    Possible bugs?

    You bet... That's what patches and updates are for.

    Nobody is reinventing the wheel, nor would anybody be trying to make hexagon shaped sliced bread... They would be making a higher end phone that displays graphics sharper, runs faster, has a better camera and more storage space.... The external appearance is mere eye candy but would probably be the most complicated part of the process as you'd want a look that is recognizable, unique to that phone, functional and looks classy.

    How is that more complicated than me going from computer store to computer store, buying each and every individual part for my PC, and putting it all together myself, then running it to see if it works?

    Any OEM would have a lot more knowledge going on in their companies towards making phones, but to play it safe, all they need to do is look at the list of known hardware that is easily compatible with Windows 8.1/10, put it together and there you have it.

    They don't need to build their own CPU's or RAM or Displays and then spend months on end with MS to make it work.

    And who said anything about only selling these high ends in developing nations?

    Who said all of these new OEM's are from third world countries?

    Again, HTC, Samsung, Acer, and more, are brads that sell all around the world.

    High end phones will be expensive to make and they won't get any profit?

    That's why you sell them at a higher price than the low ends and start off with low production numbers to test the demand.... Hell even Microsoft did this with their Band, which continually sold out.

    Brand Recognition is irrelevant. With a little bit of marketing where you show what the phone looks like, what it can do and let the market see what it has under the hood (ex: That it has some modern gear running it that competes with the big wigs and has enough guts to keep it relevant for 2-3 years).... The interest will be there and the people will come.

    Even the 1520 is still a beast today considering its age.

    The 1520 is as high end as you can get with Windows Phones and it is one of the most expensive Windows Phones out there.

    But it still isn't huge in overall popularity..... Why?

    Price?

    Nope, people will shell out stupid amounts of money for tiny iPhones that barely compete with phones twice their age.

    Little Marketing?

    That's a part of it. I can't remember the last time I saw an ad on TV or even the internet for any specific Windows Phone, let alone the 1520.... Marketing it a bit better would have gone a long way.

    Then there's the possibility that it didn't sell oodles due to the actual OS it runs.... If it ran Android with all of its guts under the hood, chances are it would have been even more popular, especially with more marketing.

    But I wouldn't want it running anything but Windows.

    The problem is that at the time of the 1520 coming out, WP still had the stigma of going nowhere and being a limited OS. I never believed this to be true, but I can't ignore that this is a factor in some people's thinking.

    The argument of lack of apps exists, however that exists for all WP devices, even more so for the low end devices that don't have the power to run many of the apps in store.

    With Windows 8.1 Denim being what it is today and with Windows 10 coming very soon.... Working on a high end device and releasing it now is one of the best times to do so.

    Already the 4XX and 5XX series models are being pumped out and scooped up..... The 640 and 640XL was just announced and is expected to sell well too.

    All of these new phones are not just riding on the low cost path.... They are also emphasizing strongly on being upgradable to Windows 10 when it comes.

    For me personally, that's all well and good, but as a user of a 930, and previously a 925, I have no intentions of downgrading to a low end phone if I can help it. If there is a high end available when it comes the time, whoever releases that high end Windows Phone will get my money.

    I am willing to pay the extra money for the better hardware, the better screen, the better sound and cameras.... And there are many in here who have voiced the same position.

    Build It and They Will Come.
    03-04-2015 07:48 AM
  18. Grimlock's Avatar
    The reality is that flagships are too much out of reach, and that flagships on a global scale are really niche devices, and you're really lucky that you own one. Don't forget that.
    I understand the point you are trying to make, but the statement that flagships are niche devices is too extreme. If you are using that logic then smartphones in general are niche devices. How can the iPhone be a niche product when its selling 100x more than any budget smartphone?
    03-04-2015 08:02 AM
  19. Keith Wallace's Avatar
    The device makers who have come on-board are low-end ones. BLU and Yezz have historically produced low-end devices. It's not a conspiracy, it's just that such device makers live in those markets. Microsoft's recognized that the low-end is where they actually have some measurable level of success, so they push those devices, whether we like it or not (for the record, I abhor it and think that they have crapped out WAY too many devices that fit the same markets).
    a5cent likes this.
    03-04-2015 10:02 AM
  20. a5cent's Avatar
    I don't get the R&D cost argument. To simplify the situation, it's like building a PC... You get the manufacturers to supply you with a compatible & powerful CPU, toss in a bunch more RAM, add larger storage, pop in the same SD Card slot you have for the lower end phones, get a higher MP camera(s), higher resolution display, put Windows on it, slap a case around the whole thing and then test it out like you would with any of the low end phones before launching it.
    You have an extremely unrealistic view of what it takes to build a smartphone. It's nothing at all like building a PC. If it was, you'd have to develop the drivers for the web cam you plugged into your PC yourself, not to mention having to setup the factory production lines to manufacture your PC for you.

    A lot of custom software and hardware development goes into these things, particularly into the high end devices. Sure, it's primarily the little things that nobody thinks of (motion sensors, battery charging and discharging profiles, light sensors, radios, image processing algorithms for the camera, dynamic heat and power management, etc), but these many pieces add up. Ensuring that you've found the cheapest supplier world wide for part X, that everything stays within the predefined thermal limits, that the various radios and other components don't electromagnetically interfere with each other, and proving that every device conforms to the telecommunications and safety regulations of every country is a major effort. It's entirely different from slapping together a consumer PC.

    If that doesn't convince you, just consider that you and I can slap together a PC including an installed OS in less than an hour. Microsoft Mobile employs around 10'000 people, yet manages to release only between six and twelve devices a year. Surely they aren't all HR managers twiddling their thumbs, right?

    However, OEMs can choose to skip all that. Instead, they can just order Qualcomm's/MS' WP8.1 reference design from Foxconn, basically part #029384230, which gets shipped to them including pre-installed OS and drivers. Slap on a case and presto... done. They need not even worry about production capacity or factory floor configurations. Everything is already taken care of. That's a huge difference! That's my R&D argument.

    Brand Recognition is irrelevant. With a little bit of marketing where you show what the phone looks like, what it can do and let the market see what it has under the hood (ex: That it has some modern gear running it that competes with the big wigs and has enough guts to keep it relevant for 2-3 years).... The interest will be there and the people will come.
    Tell that to Samsung and Apple, who each spent close to half a billion on advertising in the U.S. alone. Samsung's global marketing budget for 2013 was around 14 billion. None of the companies we're talking about in this thread could afford anywhere close to that. If you want to play in the high-end market, you must bring the big bucks. A spec sheet will convince some of the people on sites like this, but the vast majority must be convinced in other ways that a specific smartphone model is a prestigious high-end device. You can't do that with just a "little bit of marketing".

    And who said anything about only selling these high ends in developing nations?
    Who said all of these new OEM's are from third world countries?
    Again, HTC, Samsung, Acer, and more, are brads that sell all around the world.
    Maybe I misunderstood you. I thought we were talking about those 25 companies and 31 smartphones you mentioned. How many of those smartphones are built by HTC or Samsung? Zero. The vast majority of those companies are either Chinese or Indian. Developing nations.

    Build It and They Will Come.
    You mean like how people swarmed in to buy high-end devices like the 920, 1530 and 1020? Those devices make up less than 0.5% of the smartphone market. They were built. Nobody came.
    HaibaneReki, MikeSo and jmshub like this.
    03-04-2015 10:21 AM
  21. jlzimmerman's Avatar
    There is little (if any) money to make in the Windows Phone business. Why would a business throw millions into developing & marketing a phone that less than 1% (considering most of WP market is low range) of the world would buy? The only reason HTC gave us a "High End" device is because it's the same hardware as it's Android flagship --- and this only happened because Microsoft modified its hardware requirements to persuade them to do so (on-screen buttons & no more required physical camera button).

    It's only logical that they get in on the low-end range...the only place Microsoft has seen success.
    1% (it's actually more like 3%) of the worldwide market share is still a **** load of phones. But I understand what you're getting at, and while there is more money and marketshare to be had on the low end, none of those phones make headlines and turn heads like a flagship phone.

    And how much more money does an OEM spend if there is already an Android version of that phone already in circulation? I'm surprised that HTC (and to some extent Samsung with the Ativ S) is the only one who has done it. I don't see it being a financial burden. With that said, at least we have some proof of what many of us thought before when comparing OS's on the same hardware:

    Acer Executive Says Windows Phone Runs Better On The Same Hardware Than Android - WMPoweruser
    HaibaneReki likes this.
    03-04-2015 11:00 AM
  22. Flat Tire's Avatar
    And how much more money does an OEM spend if there is already an Android version of that phone already in circulation? I'm surprised that HTC (and to some extent Samsung with the Ativ S) is the only one who has done it. I don't see it being a financial burden. With that said, at least we have some proof of what many of us thought before when comparing OS's on the same hardware:
    Acer exec also says:

    "Finally, the cost of opportunity is low. We wouldnt have made a competitor to a Lumia 930 device because of the cost of all the R&D. The one limitation of Windows Phone is it has to run on Qualcomm. Now we have the Z220 running on the Qualcomm platform. We just take it, make a few changes, tweak the RAM and make it more affordable, and then you have it."
    wpn00b likes this.
    03-04-2015 12:09 PM
  23. TheCudder's Avatar
    1% (it's actually more like 3%) of the worldwide market share is still a **** load of phones. But I understand what you're getting at, and while there is more money and marketshare to be had on the low end, none of those phones make headlines and turn heads like a flagship phone.

    And how much more money does an OEM spend if there is already an Android version of that phone already in circulation? I'm surprised that HTC (and to some extent Samsung with the Ativ S) is the only one who has done it. I don't see it being a financial burden. With that said, at least we have some proof of what many of us thought before when comparing OS's on the same hardware:

    Acer Executive Says Windows Phone Runs Better On The Same Hardware Than Android - WMPoweruser
    I know WP has about 3% of the market share, but of that 3%, it's safe to assume that no more than 1% of that is looking to purchase a high end WP device. And you don't have to turn heads to sell a low-end device, that's the beauty of it --- any why OEM's are only jumping into that area. These phones are being purchased by those who are looking for a cheap device that isn't a lag fest.

    As for the Acer comment/article you linked to, that's no secret. Microsoft is seeing success on the low end because of that reason. This is why Google has developed Android One (a lightweight version) to try and stop losing market on that end.
    03-04-2015 01:02 PM
  24. Wevenhuis's Avatar
    I understand the point you are trying to make, but the statement that flagships are niche devices is too extreme. If you are using that logic then smartphones in general are niche devices. How can the iPhone be a niche product when its selling 100x more than any budget smartphone?
    I wouldn't know. I can only guess because the iPhone....doesn't have....flagships? Perhaps a question of definition?
    03-04-2015 01:53 PM
  25. realwarder's Avatar
    I'm going to completely disagree in one way: "No high end phones exist.."

    I don't think anyone would say the iPhone is not High End, and yet when you look at an iPhone 6 spec, it is often worse than those of the Lumia 930,1520 and HTC M8 and Samsung ATIV SE.

    Those are all Snapdragon 800 devices with a 2 GB RAM, good screens, high MP cameras, 4G etc.

    Sure, we don't have a recent flagship, but the ones we have are top end specs.
    Blu3V3nom07 and jmshub like this.
    03-04-2015 01:53 PM
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