Canalys late Wednesday provided one of the few estimates of Windows Phone 7 shipments for early 2011. The analyst team believed that Microsoft's combined partners shipped under 2.5 million phones between January and March. Each of the top five Android phone makers sold more than this number by themselves, and Samsung's in-house Bada OS also saw more shipments at 3.5 million.
The company didn't say how it had reached the shipment numbers. Neither Microsoft nor its individual partners have broken out Windows Phone 7 shipments. Microsoft has often been the most elusive and has been silent since December, being keen to tout Xbox 360 and Kinect figures during its latest results call but sidestepping any mention of WP7 numbers.
Its share would line up roughly with what's been seen in the US and would hint that the OS, while significant, was still trailing well behind Android's roughly 30 million devices and Apple's 18.65 million iPhones. Concerns have also been raised, though not confirmed, that WP7 might have low sell-through where the majority of the phones shipped remained unsold.
In the US, Canalys saw corroboration of earlier claims that Apple had partly closed the gap with Android by launching the Verizon iPhone 4. Apple moved up to 31 percent of the market and was the top individual phone maker by a wide margin. Android was down slightly to 49 percent and led mostly by HTC, whose tally doubled year-over-year and made it second only to Apple.
About 600,000 of those HTC phones were 4G-capable, Canalys said. Nearly half, 260,000 were the Thunderbolt for Verizon while the rest were the Evo 4G, Inspire 4G, and other handsets given the 4G label.