Windows Device Stats for December Looks at Windows 10 Mobile and Surface

Posted on December 20, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface, Mobile, Windows Phones with 45 Comments


This month, AdDuplex takes a look at Windows 10 Mobile and Surface usage data. And yes, there are a few surprises.

As you may recall, AdDuplex bills itself as the largest cross-promotion network for Windows phone and Windows apps. AdDuplex empowers developers and publishers to promote their apps for free by helping each other. And each month it provides a glimpse at which Windows phone devices people are actually using. And this month, the data includes Surface PCs too.

For December, the AdDuplex data slice examines two key parts of the Microsoft devices ecosystem: Windows 10 Mobile on phones and Surface on PCs.


Windows 10 Mobile

A few key takeaways from AdDuplex’s look at Windows 10 Mobile device usage share.

HP Elite x3 struggles continue. In October, I reported that the HP Elite x3 was a failure from a phone usage share perspective, and in November, the data showed, again, that I was correct: HP may still make a dent when compared with PCs, but this device is not competitive as a phone. This month? The Elite x3 doesn’t register at all when you look at overall Windows 10 Mobile device usage. And if you look just at those phones that shipped with Windows 10 Mobile, the Elite x3 accounts for just .3 percent (“point three percent,” or one third of one percent) of usage. Again, I’m not trying to hammer on HP or this device, which is in its own way very nicely made. It’s just that the Elite x3 needs to be considered a “3-in-1” PC, not a smartphone.

Low-end Lumias continue to dominate in the Windows 10 Mobile era. It is a curiosity to me that the thing we all complained about—Nokia and then Microsoft spamming the market with low-end Lumias—is apparently, in fact, the correct strategy. Why? Because even among those phones that shipped with this OS version in the past year, the low-end phones dominate. Lumia 550 is first, with 35.4 percent usage share, followed by the Lumia 650 in second place with 28.7 percent. The Lumia 950 (21.3 percent) and Lumia 950 XL (12.1 percent) are the only other devices with appreciable usage share. The Alcatel Fierce XL, in fifth place, has just 0.6 percent usage share, for example.

It’s dead, Jim. As AdDuplex notes, because Microsoft has essentially sold out its Lumia stock and will likely never make another Lumia, this month’s data most likely represents “the very last meaningful snapshot of the Windows 10 Mobile ecosystem as we know it.” Remember: For the past forever number of months, Nokia/Microsoft has been the number one maker of Windows phones by usage (and sales). And they stopped making these things in early 2016.

Windows Device Stats for December Looks at Windows 10 Mobile and Surface


A few key takeaways from AdDuplex’s look at Surface usage share:

Surface Pro 4 is the success story of the current generation products.Surface Pro 4 is now the most-used Surface device, with 37.4 percent of all usage. In June, it was number two, after Surface Pro 3. But this month, Surface Pro 3 is down to number two, and just 27 percent usage share. Point being, Microsoft’s biggest Surface success has been the 2-in-1 tablet form factor. (In fact, if you add up all the Surface Pro versions plus Surface 3, they collective represent 94 percent of all Surface devices in use.)

Surface Book has not sold very well. With just 6 percent of all Surface usage, Surface Book is the poorest-selling Surface portable PC, behind even Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro, and the woeful Surface 3, which was canceled and not upgraded. How to account for this? Surface Book is a premium, aspirational device. And I’m sure v2 will solve its many problems.

Surface Studio makes no dent at all. With just 0.1 percent of all Surface usage, Surface Studio doesn’t register. But that makes sense: It was just released and it’s astronomically expensive. It will never amount to much from a usage/market share perspective, but it’s probably not meant to. Like Surface Book—even more so, really—Surface Studio is a premium, aspirational device. And maybe v2 will even include actual desktop internals.

There’s some math to be done here. I’ll be back with more soon.


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Comments (47)

47 responses to “Windows Device Stats for December Looks at Windows 10 Mobile and Surface”

  1. 428

    I'm the 6% ! :D

  2. 2039

    AdDuplex data needs to stop being treated like gospel on this site, especially when it comes to PC. As the name suggests, it's counting where their ads display and therefore is flawed. It's as if Paul didn't count his Premium members as readers because they don't see ads.

    Chances are the more expensive and the less touch focused devices, the lower the usage of free, ad driven, mainly touch focused software which skew those numbers towards Surface Pro while Book and Studio will have significantly less impact independently of sales as users of those are less likely to even look at Windows Stor, not to mention install free app with AdDuplex ads in it.

    Similarly HP Elite and AdDuplex are a bad match as users of this phone are likely to use software proprietary to their company, Office, maybe Slack, Skype, of which none add up to AdDuplex's count.

  3. 250

    It remains unclear to me whether AdDuplex attempts to correct for sampling error or even recognizes that it might be a problem. They state that they survey 5000 mobile devices on a specific day each month, and it seems to be a requirement that those phones have AdDuplex software on them in order to report. Since they are a network of developers and publishers, isn't it necessarily the case that their survey base is self-selected by individuals who focus on the models most likely to be generally used and therefore exaggerated in the stats? Looking at it from the other side, how many business-focused x3 developers are going to see any point in cross-marketing with a company that focuses on the teen and young adult segment that -- particularly in the international market -- relies on less expensive phones?

    AdDuplex says the x3 is is present in the world at the rate of 0.3 percent, or 17 phones out of ~5000 polled. What's the confidence range on that number, please?

    What I and probably others would be interested in knowing is not percentages, but the monthly and cumulative sales totals for the different models in the phone and Surface markets. Obviously the companies are not going to announce their production and sales quantities, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that HP has recorded sales and pending orders for the x3 at levels that match or best the total of the two 950 models, which seem to have hit or are at least nearing their end of life totals. Among the Surface devices, I am guessing that the first Studio production run was for a toe-in-the-water total of a thousand units, and that another 2000-3000 were approved for production when they had a chance to see how quickly the first batch were pre-ordered. I am happy to listen to arguments that those totals are necessarily different -- in either direction.



  4. 5592

    Seems like the big takeaway is that Surface Pro 4 is not only the success story of "the current generation products" but of all four generations of Surface Pro products. A product line that's growing every year in the "flat" tablet and laptop market is the real news story.


  5. 1482

    The surface line is pushing past $5B in annual rev soon.  Will ad duplex  count surface hub along with the studio in the future?  Also, even at 6% surfacebook would be selling 250-300K per year depending on the asp and that's without the benefit of "worldwide" release.  Just rattling on here.  Appreciate the surface info.

  6. 5611

    Are they including Surface Hub in any stats?

  7. 5975

    Paul: as a non-native English speaking person (Belgian), I looked up the word "woeful" ... I got "very bad & deplorable" ... What do you mean really here because I remember you were very positive about it last year. Or do I get something wrong here?

  8. 6993

    To be fair, the Surface Book is not only a lot more expensive than the cheapest Surface Pro 4, it's also a lot harder to buy, since it's still not available in most places around the world.

    Thing is, if I were looking to buy one, I'd have to jump through quite a few hoops to do it, while I can get any Surface Pro 4 model I want right now by simply going to any large store here.

  9. 1792

    As Microsoft have stopped making phones HP has an opportunity of grabbing the 97% of the Windowsphone market. It could own 97% of 0.1% of mobile sales.

    I guess ad-duplex would find the measure pretty irrelevant anyway.

  10. 220

    Give me a Surface Book with a quad-core processor and pascal gpu please.

  11. 5485

    I find it hard to use these statistics to ascertain the conclusions exposed in this article. There are too many variables left out important for this conclusion. Also what is described by statistics its not market share yet the article defines it as such.

    It might very well be true that Surface Pro 4 sales are superior to Surface Pro 3. Superior to any other Surface device ever. But that could be concluded even if its usage had not surpassed Surface Pro 3. Also there was probably a time were this kind of statistics would put Surface RT 100% yet we knew it wasn't really a success story.

    Just saying that thes Surface to Surface statistical circle is not a good base to establish the level of success. The same base is used for Windows Phones and ... does it work? If not, why does it work here?

  12. 1377

    The concept of the 3-in-1 still eludes me. Either a tablet attachment or a clamshell attachment for a phone seem silly since it means carrying as many devices as stand-alone phone and tablet or laptop. Phone on its own and dockable to serve like an immobile PC may have their uses, but phone to serve as the brains of tablets and laptops doesn't.

    But I could be wrong. How large a share of the 0.3% of Windows 10 Mobile's 1.9% share of all smartphones is encompassed by Elite x3 tablet and clamshell attachments?

  13. 1377

    Re Surface Book, maybe the hinge is too much even for the aspiring.

  14. 5496

    and how many people download adduplex apps?

    I don't use many apps, bit the few I use, it doesn't run adduplex. So unless you're running an adduplex app, it wouldn't count it.

    The X3 is a business phone, hence, not that many people download apps.

    the only people that have real useage numbers, is Microsoft.

  15. 2235

    I drool over the Surface book every time I see it, but I have to remind myself I don't really need it. When you start picking away at it versus the Surface Pro or any other 2-in-1 or premium laptop (like the X360) it falls apart. If they could get the tablet portion of the Surface book, to realistically, get around 5 hours by itself, then that would mitigate one of its the biggest cons, for me at least.  

    • 5611

      In reply to potzy1:

      Your post got me thinking...

      What if the next Surface Book has the usual x86 hardware in the base, but ARM in the tablet part?

      Since Windows 10 will be able to run on both x86 and ARM, it's not impossible to visualise this scenario and would make for some awesome hybrid combinations from the OEMs too.

      • 2235

        In reply to WP7Mango:

        I assume you would have to connect back to the base to do any heavy-lifting though. But, I would imagine, most people would use the tablet portion for consuming anyways, which I would  think a high-end ARM could easily handle. It would be pretty sweet to combine those though. 

      • 4800

        In reply to WP7Mango:

        You really want to try and have Windows shift from Intel to Arm on the fly without a reboot.  That's just not going to happen.

        • 5611

          In reply to lvthunder:

          That's an implementation problem to solve. But the concept of an x86 / ARM hybrid certainly has merits.

          And I can already think of one way to do this without needing a reboot.

          • 5842

            In reply to WP7Mango:

            There are few possibilities:

            1. Run two OSes in parallel (x86 + ARM) and keep running apps in sync. This is stupid.

            2. Run ARM system in emulation mode on x86 and sync everything to ARM. Also stupid.

            3. Run x86 code and quickly switch to ARM. How do you do that if you have 0.5 seconds at most to move all data from x86 to ARM side and synchronize the state.

            Maybe there is another way but anything I think of only leads to crazy complexity and reduced battery life.

            People are not even using continuum so who would care about this contraption.


      • 5496

        In reply to WP7Mango:

        what would be the point of that.

    • 5486

      In reply to potzy1:

      Exactly that. Nobody needs a Surface. As Paul said, it's an aspirational device (just like Apple), that's meant to make you want it - at any cost. But, the problems Surface owners have experienced, for the money they paid, is just awful and MS should be ashamed. In reality you can do everything you need on much cheaper devices. They may not look as pretty, but they'll probably be more reliable!

      • 2235

        In reply to ghostrider: I have the Surface 3, and at the time it was the closest thing I could get to the Surface without breaking the bank. Fit and finish is superb, but it never really was the catch-all I needed it to be. But that's my fault for not doing enough research before hand. My biggest gripe was after the Windows 10 update as the battery life was cut in half. 
        I recently got a Miix 700 through my company for $400. M5 and double the storage and ram. It's fine and more akin to what i should have bought before. Lesson learned. Now off to Ebay to try to sell all these products.
      • 8172

        In reply to ghostrider:

        You don't know what you're talking about!

        I bought a Surface Pro 4 about 8 months ago and I use it every day and I have not had a single problem with it... It's an exceptional device and without question the best computer I have ever owned.

        • 5615

          In reply to billreilly:

          He knows what he's talking about. The Surface line has had numerous well-publicized reliability problems. Just do a search on this site. Paul even discusses many of them in his "Surfacegate" article. While great for you, the fact that you personally have not had any problems does not change the facts regarding the Surface line's significant reliability issues.

    • 4800

      In reply to potzy1:

      That all depends on how you use it.  I use mine with Photoshop all the time so I benefit from the graphics in the base and use the pen almost every time I use it.

      • 2235

        In reply to lvthunder:

        If I was in a position where I need to do more graphic design or photo editing, I definitely could see the advantages of having a specked out laptop with the convenience of a tablet-like screen. However, from my end, it's just me being attracted to the shiniest marble in the bag. I used to try to future-proof myself by buying the best I could at the time, but now I see it is a carrot/stick concept. I have a drawer full of good enough electronics that I convinced myself where anything but when the latest arrived.

  16. 5783

    Despite moving on to an Android phone, I just can't seem to let the bitter disappointment go. I feel a loyalty to Microsoft. Partly because I used to work there, my friends and neighbors work there, I live in the Seattle area, etc. Microsoft's success contributes to the vitality of my life.

    But the bitterness and disdain I feel towards Balmer and co for screwing this up......ugh. Microsoft threw out everything it learned about the PC business - cheaper and good enough, and tried to compete with Apple. It ceded that to Android due to its ineptitude and now increasingly faces an existential crisis. It ceded the consumer market....and that is starting to have repercussions on the enterprise market and will continue to do so.

    I was recently talking with a friend who still works at Microsoft and has spent his entire career in the consumer space there and he described the frustration and anger that he and his colleagues have towards senior management constantly bungling every opportunity.

    So now I'm stuck with Android. An absolutely crappy experience. I'm not spending the money for Apple. And Android will continue to make inroads.

    The nail in the coffin for Windows in the consumer space will be when Google gets its act together and and supports some type of Win32 layer. Or maybe we get an emulator from VMWare that runs Windows on a Chromebook. MS will still get a license but for how long?


    • 6447

      In reply to yaddamaster:

      Well, I picked up a Lumia 535 a while back for like $40 and I found "windows phone" to be a crappy experience, as you do with "android". Your response will be something like "well that cheap POS doesn't represent windows phone, you need to try the $600 Lumia so and so...". Same thing with android.

      As many find the Pixel great, in an iPhone way, I cannot see the value simply in the more fluid experience and metal build, at the expense of many useful features. I just cannot bring myself to pay 700+ for a current iPhone, or Pixel and the iPhone SE is just too small.

      My used $140 Galaxy S5 (had for 6 mos) has removable battery, water resistance, expandable storage, Knox, fingerprint, 1080p AMOLED, pretty good camera, IR blaster, still getting security patches (every couple months) almost 3 years after release (on tmobile).

    • 5486

      In reply to yaddamaster:

      You may have some loyalty to Microsoft left, but you considering Android is a 'crappy experience' compared to WM is utterly unbelievable. I don't know what Android device you're using (cheap ones perform about as well as cheap WM devices), but like any mobile experience, on the right hardware, you get what you pay for.

      • 6993

        In reply to ghostrider:

        Well, these days I have a cheap Lumia 640 DS and a cheap Vernee Thor that runs Android 6. While the Thor is a *lot* faster than the 640 DS, I still find myself using the 640 DS more often, because I still think the overall experience is better.

        Oh, and the Flow keyboard in W10M is so far ahead its not even in the same league as the default Android keyboard, and it's way way way better than things like the SwiftKey Keyboard.

      • 2235

        In reply to ghostrider: Last Android I had was on cupcake, which was horrible, especially compared to Windows Phone 7 (how I miss thee, true hubs). From what I've seen now, Android is pretty decent. My friend loves her Pixel, and I can see why. It's ridiculously fluid and the phone feels great in the hand. After years in Windows, and a busted 1520, I had to reluctantly walk toward the shiny expensive orchard. The iphone is fine, I have no complaints, except it doesn't really wow me, but it gets the job done with nary an issue. And in the end, that is probably what I really need in a phone. 


      • 8172

        In reply to ghostrider:

        The only advantage that Android has over Windows Phone (or Windows 10 Mobile) is the number of apps... The user interface on Windows Phone is far superior to Android, regardless of whether you're using a cheap phone or an expensive one... Android is crap.

  17. 3272

    The Surface Book is a 2 in 1 tablet form factor as well. It can be used as a laptop or the screen can be used as a tablet, a big tablet but still a tablet. Exactly the same as other Surface models. I am not too surprised at it only reaching 6%. It's expensive and the issues it had at launch and for months after launch really surrounded it with negative press. Hopefully they can drop the price a few hundred bucks on all configs and eliminate the hardware issues the next time around.

    The Surface 3 is not woeful. It's not a screamer 2 years later but it performs the function of a tablet which is consumption, as good as any other, has amazing build quality, a great screen and the benefit of a usable keyboard and Office. Woeful is not an accurate description of this device.

    I would imagine AdDuplex has some difficulty actually measuring the Elite #'s. I could be totally wrong but I would thing the ones sold to business customers don't show up here. Either way, I would love for HP to release some #'s on it.

    As far as those low end phones. Look, they are on the shelf of Walmart, they are sold in plastic wrapping on prepaid plans, and they are cheap. Not surprising they still do well. Hell, hanging on a hook at Walmart is better advertising than any of the major carriers ever do for the higher end phones.

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