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News that Google’s Android mobile operating system is dominating the smartphone market is old hat, but a recent report suggests that the Windows Phone 7 OS is gaining considerable ground in terms of consumer awareness.

As unbelievable as it may seem, 44 percent people who currently own or intend to buy a smartphone say that they are considering a Windows Phone 7 device, the market research group NPD reports, based on findings from its Connected Intelligence service. While consumer intent can only tell us so much, the figure is a sign that Microsoft is doing something right with its new mobile platform.

Still, NPD points out Windows Phone 7 faces major hurdles — 45 percent of all consumers still aren’t aware of the platform, for example. Additionally, 50 percent of consumers who say they plan to buy a new smartphone in the next six months, but aren’t considering Windows Phone 7, cite lack of awareness as a reason for their disinterest. The second most popular reason against considering Windows Phone was ecosystem lock-in, with 21 percent saying they had “too much time or money invested in another smartphone OS.”

Meanwhile, Android continues to dominate consumer interest compared to other mobile operating systems (63 percent). It was also the leading platform that consumers were most interested in (36 percent). According to Connected Intelligence’s research, Android accounted for more than half of all smartphone sales in the past three quarters, which falls in line with recent figures from NPD and Nielsen.

Microsoft’s next big push for Windows Phone 7 will come in the following few weeks with its long-awaited Mango update, and a slew of new phones that will be more competitive against Android and the iPhone. Personally, I’m most interested in seeing what Nokia has up its sleeves with its flagship Windows Phone 7 devices, which are expected to launch later this year.


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