2012 may prove to be a breakout year for Windows Phone 7: The analyst firm Ovum says it will be the fastest-growing smartphone OS in 2012 and will draw a surge of developer interest. It's the latest in a series of reports that say Windows Phone 7 will eventually become a success.
Ovum's Telecoms In 2011 report predicts that Windows Phone 7 will be the fastest-growing smartphone OS. According to the site V3.co.uk, Ovum analyst Tony Cripps said the smartphone platform will grow quickly because of its "unique and very desirable take on the smartphone user interface". He added,
"Microsoft is finally managing to harness the evident design and user experience nous of its Xbox, Zune and Windows Live teams to create a proposition that is more than the sum of its parts."
Of course, given that Windows Phone 7 has a miniscule market share, it's easy for it to be the fastest-growing smartphone OS; compared to the iPhone and Android phones, not many Windows Phone 7 devices have to sell to show a growth surge in terms of percentages.
Still, Ovum isn't the only analyst firm to believe that Windows Phone 7 sales will surge. IHS says that Windows Phone 7 will knock the iPhone from its number two spot in smartphones by 2015, jumping to 16.7% market share, squeaking by iOS at 16.6% and well behind Android's 58.1%.
Ovum also says that developers will start to flock to Windows Phone 7 this year. The company's recently released developer survey says that Windows Phone 7 will gain significant developer interest this year. Adam Leach, leader of Ovum's Devices & Platforms Practice, writes:
"The growing momentum behind Windows Phone indicates that Microsoft has managed to convince developers that its platform is worthy of investment; its challenge now is to persuade consumers."
Keep in mind, though, that the report concludes that Android will become the most important platform for developers, and there's no evidence that Windows Phone 7 will come close to either Android or iOS when it comes to developer mind share.
If analysts are to be believed, it appears Microsoft is on track for Windows Phone 7 to become a serious alternative to iOS and Android. Given that Windows sales have falling over the last several years, it's vital for Microsoft that its smartphone OS succeed. It may well be that the company may be on track to make that happen.