Microsoft teases Xbox One-Windows Phone integration

Hey, you know what we didn't hear about at this week's Xbox One launch? Windows Phone. While Microsoft's mobile platform has only a three per cent market share and a unique connection with Xbox, the company still didn't take a moment during the launch to let Windows Phone draft off of its new, blockbuster set-top box.

But that doesn't mean there's nothing to say; just that they're not saying it.

"Is there anything I can say? No. It doesn't mean there's nothing that's being worked on. There's some time between now and the delivery of Xbox One. It is true that the general idea of an increased seamlessness and integration across these elements is a goal," Microsoft senior marketing manager Greg Sullivan told ITProPortal yesterday at the CTIA trade show.

Windows Phone has Xbox-branded games and an Xbox-branded media store. It lets you accumulate Xbox gamer points and connect to the Xbox Live network. I tried to tease out whether Microsoft would extend the Xbox One's streaming media channels to Windows Phone, but no dice.

"I would offer up Windows Phone as evidence of great cross-divisional collaboration at Microsoft. Are we where we'll ultimately be? No, and we'll continue to improve it," Sullivan said enigmatically.

Cheaper Windows Phones Coming

Microsoft's platform has been growing, but it still has a way to go. According to research firm Gartner, Windows Phone is at about three per cent global market share — growing, but tiny compared to Android and iOS.

A slew of cheaper Windows Phones with user experiences better than cheap Android phones will help turn the tide, Sullivan added.

"If you look at the market share that Android has, the majority of that is coming from low-end Android phones. There's still 42 per cent feature phone users, and they're probably going to convert to smartphone users," Sullivan said.

Low-end Android phones run Gingerbread, often slowly, and won't get updated, he noted. But the Lumia 521 runs the latest version of Windows Phone responsively and will get updates. That gives Windows Phone the potential to displace Android at the low end, Sullivan said.

Carrier distribution is also important, and low-cost Windows phones will come to more carriers, Sullivan added.