Mobile

Windows Phone may finally be heading from “sleeper hit” to just “hit”

Windows Phone may be getting a long-awaited second wind. Newly available app usage data indicate as many as 600,000 Windows Phones may have been purchased over the past two weeks alone.

Currently, the Windows Phone Facebook app has more than a million active monthly users. The exact number rose from one million users on November 11 to 1,100,000 on November 25.

According to calculations by WMPowerUser, a Windows Phone-focused blog, this surge means as many as 600,000 Windows Phone devices may have been purchased and activated since the 11th.

Microsoft has been tight-lipped on specific numbers, but Windows Phones have historically not sold as well as their competitors in the Android or iOS categories. However, in a recent earnings call, executives remained optimistic about Windows Phone’s future. “We are well positioned to become the third mobile ecosystem,” said Microsoft chief financial officer Peter Klein.

A good bit of the current buzz around Windows Phone has to do with Nokia. The Nokia brand has been on the decline in the U.S. ever since the advent of smartphones. However, with the phone maker’s recent launch of the Lumia 800 and 710 phones using the Windows Phone 7 OS, interest has revived around both the Nokia and Windows Phone brands.

The new Nokia Windows Phones are expected to hit U.S. carriers in early 2012.

Microsoft is betting not just on Nokia but also on Samsung to carry the Windows Phone banner. “We also signed a broad agreement with Samsung on the development and marketing of Windows phones,” said Bill Koefoed, Microsoft’s general manager for investor relations, in a recent call.


What about the apps?


Right now, the Windows Phone app marketplace has around 40,000 apps.

That number stands in stark contrast to the half-million Android apps that have been published so far and a roughly equal number of available apps in Apple’s App Store.

However, Microsoft recently released Windows Phone Mango, the latest version of the mobile OS that brings tethering features and a new marketplace for mobile web apps — a surefire way to augment the low number of available native applications.

Here’s how the mobile web app marketplace works:


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