How many Windows Phone 7 devices have been sold? Everyone wants to know, here’s the best guess so far

By kellabyte  //  Mobile  //  33 Comments

It’s no secret that Windows Phone 7’s launch was more of a “soft launch” given the shortages OEM’s were shipping in the first month of the platforms release. The shortages were rumoured before launch (and played down) and it was clear by the store stock around the world that getting a device was a difficult challenge. Some regions in USA the device was more obtainable.

December is seeing some of the stock start to rise which is a good thing. If you follow me on Twitter you probably know my escapades of last week’s attempt of getting a Samsung Focus device on the Rogers network. I won’t get into the details here, and likely will write another blog post about it however let’s just say it was not an easy mission. 4 stores later though I had success. Despite the first 3 having stock.

Analysts seem to be dying to get a grasp on the numbers. Luckily it’s not terribly difficult to get a good estimation. I’m about to show you how.

So how can we possibly figure out how many devices have been sold? Some simple math and investigation does the trick. Here’s the secret sauce. The big key here is Facebook. The worlds most popular mobile application helps us measure the statistics.

Facebook publishes it’s active user count based on an application identifier. Using some history on our side, we can derive the Facebook to device attachment rate. Using iOS statistics we can conclude a fairly good estimate of mobile device to Facebook attachment percentage which we can then apply to Windows Phone 7 to figure out the big question of how many.

Keep in mind this will not give us a highly accurate number, but it will give us a decent estimate. There are some caveats but we can use this to generally answer the question, is it 100? 1,000? 100,000? 500,000? 1,000,000?.

Let’s get started.

As of September, Apple released that 120 million iOS devices have been sold to date. Facebook’s application stats indicate for iPhone (same app for iPod and iPad) that there are 54 million active Facebook users on iOS. That gives us a 45% Facebook to iOS attachment rate. The caveat at this point is unused iOS devices in that 120 million sold. Some users may have an iPod Touch or early iPhone they no longer use. Regardless of this margin of error, it likely doesn’t make our numbers far off enough to make this estimation useless.

54,335,876 / 120,000,000 * 100 = 45.27989%

This should be in the ballpark (not perfect) attachment rate for Windows Phone 7 as well. Keep in mind Windows Phone 7 has Facebook integration built in so the attachment rate may be higher. It also may be lower because the integration adds Facebook contacts to the devices contact list, some people may back out of that. In any case, it gives us a good place to get an educated guess.

Facebook indicates Windows Phone 7 has 185,087 active users, so this is our 45.27989%.


Originally my calculation resulted in a number of 286,366 devices however this is incorrect and thanks to Jesper for the correction in the comments. Here is the proper calculation:

185,087 / 0.4527989 = 408,762 Windows Phone 7 devices.

I stress again, this isn’t going to be a highly accurate number, however even if the margin of error is 50%, we can still conclude that under under 1 million devices have been sold.

Give or take a margin of error that number gives us a fairly decent educated guess based on known numbers.

So there you have it, approximately 408,762 Windows Phone 7 devices on the market at the time of publishing this blog post.

  • Jackson

    Not that its hugely statistically relevant, but first thing I noticed on the facebook page is all 5 of my “Friends using this Application” are people that got free units. Three of those five don’t use them and the other two are MS employees.

  • Hussam

    Hmmmm, intersting math. Anyway I have of these devices ;)

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  • Geezer

    I don’t think that many iPad owners use the official facebook app…

  • Simon Bartlett

    As you said 45% should be taken as the bottom limit, as the percentage is bound to be higher. Obviously due to iOS devices becoming inactive or being broken as you’ve said. Also a lot of iPod round users are simply not going to use Facebook on their iPod – instead using the app or website on their main communication device, their phone. Take for example my family; 3 of them have iPod touches, but they all use facebook on their blackberries instead! And then I have an iPad, but choose to only use the app on my phone.

  • John Armstrong

    And here you always told me you were terrible at math.

    • kellabyte

      I am. I got it wrong in the original post. Corrected now though.

  • Jesper Larsen-Ledet

    Your math is actually wrong. The correct calculation is:

    devices * 45.27989% = 185,087

    devices = 185,087 / 45.27989% = 185,087 / 0,4527989 = 408,762

  • Naeem akram malik

    Clever estimation… HTC HD7 devices are being sold in our market (Lahore, Pakistan) with a price tag around 600 dollars… Its a contact free device, still i have doubts about whether it will be programmable or not… Waiting for some rich friend to buy one :p
    secondly, first release of anything microsoft equals to beta, and beta equals to release candidate… SP1 will be truly useful, therefore i think it wont be worth spending this much money right now

  • Mark M

    Lets hear your Rogers story!! Many of us are on the elusive “Do you have any Samsung Focus phones” hunt, without any luck so far..

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  • Nobody

    Facebook for Android shows it is used by “only” about 18M people. Aren’t there about 80+M Android devices sold in the past couple years? Most should still be active, I would think. If WP7 is similar to Android, you get quite a different number for the WP7 sales estimate. We will find out for sure in coming weeks/months.

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  • CzeMike

    Your math is off. iPhone users tend to be Facebook-using poseurs whereas the target demographic for WP7 handsets couldn’t care less about Facebook. Judging the number of WP7 handsets in the wild based on use of the baked-in FB app will give you a lower-than-actual estimate.

  • epsilon283

    People listed as using this (or the iOS Facebook app) do not necessarily have the phone. Some people have logged in from a friend’s phone and then they are listed while they don’t own the device. So the margin of error is big.
    Remember also the facebook integration in WP7 makes it less likely that people will need to download the actual application.

  • FredTheKat

    I Love the blog. I especially like Geek Girls. Please don’t take this the wrong way, though… Your writing would benefit from some proofreading for punctuation and grammar. You should have as much respect for the English language as you do for programming languages. There are rules for composing in English. If we don’t all follow them, then the language will devolve into gibberish.

  • PHenry

    I’m anxious to hear about your Rogers story. But from your intro above, it sounds similar to mine! (unfortunately)

  • Wez

    Hi all, I’m writing this on my HTC hd7 with Windows phone on it and really like the whole user experience, from hotmail to general web browsing I am very pleased with it. My wp7 isnt technically superior to my ip4 but its very flash and offers a fresh alternative, I’m using this for a bit!

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  • Lauren Alissa

    This isn’t really statistically correct as you’ve said that the Zune Phone (WinPhone 7) has integration with FaceBook as part of the OS. As much as I would like to believe that ZP is as prevalent as that, I feel that it must be lower than that.

    Keep in mind that this is successful in a way that Windows Phone 6 was being sidelined for iOS and Android. The ZP works as an MP3 player with streaming music along with a wider development platform to build on since you can use a PC for it and don’t need to buy a Mac. Sure, Apple is winning by leaps and bounds, as is Android, but it’s still a good showing for M$ at this time.

    You just can’t apply math in that regards because the platforms aren’t the same in the way that Facebook integrates with the ZP out of the box and iOS needs an external program.

  • CB

    U can’t compare wp7 stats with Android now, reason is, wp7 is not available yet on Verizon + sprint. Samsung focus is the best device its so sleek.. u need to compare any platforms like IOS/Android after 1 year.. then it would be accurate.

  • Jan

    OMG, I hope FredTheKat is not going to read my blog. My english is worse. Whatever, my German is perfect.

  • Danissle

    Funny that Mary Jo or whatever her name is linked to your site. Windows phone has Facebook integration BUILT IN. Unlike the iPhone, a third party app is only necessary for hard core users. So I am calling BS.

  • Ericwhy

    Is this the client ID for the People/Photo hub integration or the client ID for the Facebook app in Marketplace. If it is the former, I would think it would be a higher percentage of the number of phones, since much of the People/Photo hubs appeal depends on this integration. If it is the latter, I would think that would represent a much, much lower percentage of the number of phones, since most of the app’s functionality duplicates what you already get in the People and Photo hubs..

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  • Pan Glozz

    I am keeping a public Google Doc with the Facebook application # scrapes. Updated at particular events. I updated it today to see if the Verizon iPhone announcement changes uptake.
    Looking at the Xmas delta changes in Daily and Monthly users makes it likely that your attachment rate for the WP7 should be 60%++, and total units in the wild consequently much lower. After all the phone setup prompts for a FB log-in for its “people” hub which explains the high Daily to Monthly ratio. The phone is automatically polling FB, rather than launching a separate app.

    Also note the User delta values expressed as a total market penetration have been falling since intro. Currently down to 0.7% of new smartphone uptake. Market share will converge on the uptake ratio, so I suspect WP7 will top out at under 1% share.

  • Scott Barnes

    The numbers sold need to account for Microsoft staff given there is around 90k staff world wide lets assume 60% of those have suckled onto the new mobile. Then u have what we call seed stock aka giveaways press phones etc so remove around 100-150k and u will prob have your realistic estimate

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  • Gary

    Nokia only released Symbian version 3 in the last six months. Already shifted 4.5 million devices running that latest version of Symbian.

    By your reckoning that should mean 4,500,000 * .45 gives over two million facebook users just on version 3 of Symbian.

    Now Nokia worldwide market share is around a third (check the figures folks) which we shall equate to Apple numbers you used (Apple ship 10% less than Nokia’s one third share but it is a reasonable ballpark)

    2 million Symbian 3 facebook users + 54 million using other versions of Symbian gives 56 million facebook users (at least) for Nokia.

    Kind of lays out how much work windows phone will have to do to catch up.

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