Big Week for Windows 8 – Smartphone Getting Love from Consumers and Publishers

It’s been a great week for Windows 8! First a surprising report showing dramatic growth in US smartphone sales was released last week from Kantar Worldpanel; and this week leading technology provider, Polar Mobile, announced that some of the major publishers have launched Windows 8 apps here in Canada.

At first glance, Kantar’s smartphone sales data seems as predictable as the majority of market share data we keep seeing. Android is beating iPhone, and both of them have a major leg up on the likes of Windows and BlackBerry.

However, this report, which compared December to February of 2013 to the same period last year, showed that the most dramatic change in US smartphone sales came from Microsoft with 52% year-over-year growth. This resulted in Microsoft making up 4.1% of all US smartphone sales (up from 2.1% the same period in 2012).

Yes, the percentage is still a far cry from the likes of Android (51.2%) and iOS (45.4%) but the amount of traction this operating system has gained in the past year makes them the fastest growing OS in the US which is a big deal when the race is on to clinch the coveted third leg in the smartphone race.

This nod from consumers is a big one for Microsoft. But the love didn’t stop there. Here at home, Polar Mobile announced yesterday that ten Windows 8 apps have been launched from some of the major Canadian publishers including TorStar, TC Media and House & Home.

The launch was made possible with the use of Polar Mobile’s MediaEverywhere platform which is used by media companies to develop and deploy mobile sites and apps across operating systems without most of the major complexities and massive budgets usually brought on by tackling device fragmentation.

“We are thrilled to see companies like Polar Mobile invest in the Windows 8-based platform as we believe it presents a tremendous opportunity for Canadian media companies to increase their reach,” said Mary-Ellen Anderson, Vice President Developer & Platform Group at Microsoft Canada.

Among the ten apps launched were familiar brands such as Canadian Living, House and Home, The Hockey News, Canadian Football League and Toronto Star.

With the market share growing at a rapid pace, we should expect more and more app publishers launching apps in the Windows Marketplace to expand their reach to a whole new audience.

Last week, Lumia device owners saw the launch of the “world’s largest digital newsstand” with the Zinio app.  And Google Reader substitute, Feedly, has already confirmed that they are committed to having a Windows 8 app on their product roadmap.

For any smartphone operating system to thrive today it needs two major things – device sales (users) and content (apps). So for this week, anyways, Microsoft seems to be batting two-for-two. If this momentum continues it can only mean good things for the Windows 8 platform.