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Hamburg Police Increases Windows Mobile Deployment - But It Isn't Sustainable

Hamburg Police has joined a number of other German police forces in equipping its officers with Microsoft Lumia devices, leveraging the power of the Universal Windows Platform to run the same business apps across phones and PCs.

The concept is sound and in this very tightly defined use case Windows phones are far ahead of Apple or Google in providing a secure, flexible and, above all, enterprise focused solution.

However the size of these deployments raises concerns as to the long-term viability of such projects. Hamburg's deal for 900 handsets at 100,000 euros amounts to just 111 euro per device. So not a particularly high end choice. 

So when Microsoft runs out of Lumias who is going to step in and fill the void? A low-end handset only works for an OEM if it can be sold in volume. There aren't enough government contracts around the world to guarantee the numbers an OEM would need to commit to a volume production run.

Which would normally mean the price per device would have to rise, to ensure the OEM isn't committing itself to a loss making project. However government contracts, by their very nature, are looking for extreme value for money and there is no guarantee that a pricier Windows phone would still win a tender process against an Android device for example.

There are rumours of a second HP handset targeting a lower price point. If Windows phones are to continue to gain ground in enterprise solutions like these that handset needs to arrive very quickly and hit a very focused price point. And it won't be able to do that by compromising on performance either.

All in all its a big ask and one which introduces risk for customers and Microsoft alike. Microsoft may not care about consumers, but numbers don't necessarily add up without them. Which may turn out to be a painful lesson for all concerned.


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