44% of smartphone owners are considering Windows Phone 7

For the past couple of years, Google's Android mobile operating system has been the most popular among consumers, thanks in part to the many different companies that release smartphones based on the OS. Microsoft launched its Windows Phone 7 operating system in 2010 but so far, it has only been used by a few percent of all mobile phone customers. Now a new study from the NPD Group claims that while Android is still the top choice for smartphone owners, many are beginning to look at Windows Phone 7 as a possible alternate choice.

According to NPD's Linda Barrabee, "The Android juggernaut continues, and that's not great news for some of their OS competitors." She added, "That said, Android is also experiencing continued competition from Apple's popular iPhone, as well as some nascent competition from Windows Phone 7."

According to the study, 44 percent of smartphone owners, along with those people who intend to buy one, are interested in purchasing a Windows Phone 7 device. But the bad news is that a whopping 45 percent of consumers are not even aware of Windows Phone 7. Barrabee says, "Windows Phone 7 has a way to go before consumers really understand what it is. But with the right marketing mojo, apps portfolio, and feature-rich hardware, Microsoft could certainly improve its standing and chip away at Android's dominant market position."

Microsoft will be releasing its Windows Phone 7 "Mango" update any day now and a number of WP7-based smartphones, including some from Nokia, are due for release by the end of 2011.

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