Windows Phones Sell 40K Units, Samsung Ships 3 Million Galaxy S Phones

I've been trying to get a Windows Phone to no avail; I'm not on the "A-List" of gadget testers. Repeated requests to Microsoft have so far been ineffective. So yesterday I went into an AT&T store to play with one.

Windows Phone branding and promotion were all over the store; Windows Phones are the new iPhone for AT&T. However there wasn't a unit on the floor. After wandering around the store looking at all the handsets I finally asked the "greeter," "I'd like to take a look at one of the new Windows Phones, where would I find it?" The guy offered to put my name on a list that had about seven people on it. He told me it would be about 45 minutes to an hour before I could get access to one. "I just want to see the phone," I said. He didn't have an answer for me.

As I left, frustrated, I thought: what the heck is AT&T doing? Is this some sort of hazing ritual to weed out unqualified buyers? Is this an attempt to build momentum and perceived demand through artificial scarcity? It was strange and wrong-headed from a marketing and customer service perspective under any conceivable scenario.

There have been mixed reports about demand for the new handset. It sold out in Germany but there have also been US reports of only modest interest. One financial firm estimated initial sales at only 40K units. But this is a very premature assessment of the success or failure of the handset. When we have a full quarter of sales we'll know better what consumers think. 

Meanwhile Samsung said it had shipped 7 million Galaxy S Android phones, 3 million of them to the US. Samsung is the leading handset OEM in the US market overall according to recent comScore data. 

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Samsung is competing with HTC, Motorola and LG to be the leading Android OEM. Indeed I believe that Samsung will ultimately emerge as the Android volume winner, eclipsing HTC and Motorola. Motorola in particular wil have a greater challenge vs its Android rivals and will need to be supremely clever about hardware and software choices to continue to succeed as an Android OEM.

Droid has already lost its luster vs. Galaxy S. But that could change again if a new and more shiny Android handset comes out next week.