As we come into Mobile World Congress 2015 in earnest this week, I’m reminded of a stark reality as a Windows Phone enthusiast. That reality is that beyond two devices that are both over a year old, Windows Phone has no flagship device. That, in itself, should not be news. If you are reading my site then you are likely a Windows Phone user or at the very least have a morbid curiosity on how the other 3.5% live (that’s the rough market share of Windows Phone) and know that there hasn’t been a flagship worthy Windows Phone in a long while. The last three devices of what many would consider “Flagship” were the Lumia 930 (Icon), the Lumia 1520 and you may be able to stretch and say the HTC M8 Windows Phone. The last of those was launched mid-year last year but the Lumia 1520 came out at the end of 2013 and the 930 early last year. In terms of half-life for mobile devices, that is an eternity. One could argue that the Lumia 830, the “affordable flagship” is a reasonable stop-gap but let’s be honest with ourselves here, it’s not a flagship device not matter what the marketing materials says.
Microsoft has been very busy on the low end of the market and you often hear the term “the next billion” when referring to the segment of the market that is moving from mobile phones to smartphones. There is, in many parts of the world, an untapped customer base, thus the next billion. But equally the argument could be made that Microsoft needs – indeed must – cater to the upper end of the market at the same time. They don’t have to look any further than their own competitors in the market to see this need yet seemingly are willing to ignore it. It is disappointing, frustrating and not helping win mind share around Windows Phone as a platform.