The media is buzzing about new devices: Samsung's recent event previewed a host of devices for the upcoming holiday season, including its Galaxy Note Edge; others are eagerly anticipating Apple's upcoming event on Sept. 9 in which the company is expected to preview its new iPhone iteration.
Lost in the all this buzz is Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) new lineup; the company released three new Nokia Lumias: the "affordable flagship" Lumia 830, the Lumia 730, and the Lumia 735. Microsoft hasn't made a huge dent in the worldwide smartphone market so far, can these devices reverse that trend?
Where is important
Interestingly enough, where the announcement was made should be the story. The company introduced the products at the IFA consumer electronics conference in Berlin, Germany . And that's important because Windows Phones have relatively done better in Europe. Matter of fact, Kantar Worldpanel reports Italy and Great Britain with 13% and 9.9% WP operating system market share, respectfully. For reference, the study pegs U.S. market share at 3.9% and China at less than 1%.
The company continues to look toward Europe for device success. Recently, Microsoft released its Surface Pro 3 line of tablets in Europe this month as well. And although the European presser runs the risk of not being covered in the U.S., it shows Microsoft understands their target market and is moving accordingly.
The company stated it expected to sell these new units "around the world." That's in stark contrast to its Lumia 930/Icon model that wasn't launched in the U.S. until later amid carrier incompatibility issues.
The actual products
The actual devices are -- by all accounts -- solid. The "affordable flagship" Lumia 830 -- a step down from the Lumia 930 model -- boasts the similar aluminum body and 5-inch display as its higher-end model, but the CPU has been downgraded to 1.2GHz quad core and the resolution sports a 720p vs. the higher end unit's 1080p.
Next are Nokia's "selfie" lines: the Lumia 730 and Lumia 735. It appears Microsoft is again using its camera as a selling point. The backward-facing camera has been downgraded from the 830's 10-megapixel to a 6.7 megapixel version, but sports a nice 5-megapixel wide angle front-facing camera as its selling feature -- perfect for selfies.
U.S. and China?
It appears Windows Phones aren't putting a huge dent in these massive markets. Both firmly remain a virtual duopoly. China appears to be more Android-friendly than the U.S., but both averaged over 90% market share combined between iOS and Android in July. In addition, upstart handset maker Xiaomi is growing quickly there and recently knocked Samsung out of first place in sales.
The U.S. has been a tough market for Windows with Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy lines so popular. Many Windows Phone fans await the end of cell phone subsidies as a potential catalyst to propel the Windows Phone to popularity here. I've written about the subject and think waiting for subsidies to end is a foolish (note lowercase f) strategy.
The most impressive thing about Microsoft's announcement was where it was held. Microsoft understands it has a stronger following in Europe and I commend them for announcing there. In the long term, the company needs to work with developers to close its "app gap" with Apple's iOS and Google's Android, but right now understanding your target market and delivering is a great first step. Will these new units put a huge dent in the competition's market share, probably not, but it's a step in the right direction.
Jamal Carnette has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Google (A shares), and Google (C shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google (A shares), Google (C shares), and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.