Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform has a huge uphill battle ahead — it desperately needs more apps, and Microsoft and its partners need to do a better job explaining to Android and iOS users why they should switch. Marketing stunts alone won’t do the trick.
But there’s one area where Microsoft may have a hidden edge: Windows Phone customers use a lot less data per month than Android and iOS users.
That could give carriers an incentive to push the platform ahead of Android, particularly to business users.
As Ryan Kim at GigaOm pointed out yesterday, Android is a data hog compared with the iPhone. That’s one reason why Sprint is so excited about getting the iPhone on its network — to help lower the cost of running its data services.
But Windows Phone blows both of them away. Nielsen shared with us statistics on Q2 average data use per user (Q3 isn’t out yet):
Monthly Average MB Usage
Apple iPhone (iOS)
Windows Phone 7
Ignoring the dying Windows Mobile platform, Windows Phone users suck down less data than any other platform save BlackBerry.
That may be partly because Windows Phone doesn’t have as many apps as Android and the iPhone. Over time, as the number of apps increases, users could begin spending more time consuming data with their phones.
But it also could be because Windows Phone is less centered around heavy media consumption. The whole point of the phone is giving users quick access to information and many different types of communication. It’s got excellent search, maps, contact management, email, and social network integration. That’s where the platform really shines. Not in entertainment, like watching video or streaming music.
If carriers are smart, they will push Windows Phone as a next-generation replacement for business customers who refuse to buy another BlackBerry, but are more interested in email and search than in watching YouTube videos on their phones.