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.