Heim MicrosoftWindows Mobile Windows Phone and Web-Analytics

Windows Phone and Web-Analytics

eftir Jón Ólafsson

We usually only write in Icelandic here on Lappari.com but after many requests this morning, I rewrote an article in English.


Windows Phone users in Iceland have often complained about the lack of applications from Icelandic companies. In short, these companies look at the web-statistics and from that they conclude that Windows Phone users are so few that there is no need for a Windows Phone application.


After a tip from a reader I wanted to check how Windows Phone was measured in tools like Google Analytics  (GA) but I believe that GA is the most used web-analytic tool out there today. I especially wanted to see if there is any difference between users that use either Desktop or Mobile version under Website preference settings in IE11. These settings tell the website if you are using a Mobile browser or a Desktop browser but I believe that most users use the Mobile Version option.


For these test I used a Nokia Lumia 1520 and between each test I deleted the temp-files on the device. To test Mobile Version settings I used a dev page that I have with Google Analytics code enabled. To eliminate cache/temp error I asked Thorarinn Hjalmarsson to send me statistics from when I used Desktop Version on a dev page that he had available for me.


If you have a Windows Phone:  Do you use Mobile or Desktop version in IE?



Test one   (Mobile version)

Like I said before I used a dev website to test the Mobile version and I browsed the site for a few minutes with a Lumia 1520 device.

Google Analytics > Audience > Technology > Browser & OS – but there users can see the browser that GA detects (guessing with JS or User Agent).

  • GA detected that the Nokia Lumia 1520 was using Safari or a browser called 537 (more here below)


Google Analytics > Audience > Mobile > Devices – but here we should see the device detected by GA (guessing with JS or User Agent).


Although I might be wrong, but I believe most user are using the Mobile Version setting under IE since it is the default setting




Test Two (Desktop settings)

Now I delete the temp files of the Lumia 1520 and set the browser to Desktop Version. Now I browsed the website that Thorarinn was monitoring for me with the same smartphone.




Further tests

I wanted to do further tests to see what was happening and try to understand why.


I used the Lumia 1520 to open http://www.whoishostingthis.com/:

  • In Mobile mode the OS was not detected but that explains the “(not set)” that we saw in GA before but the browser was detected as IE Mobile 11.
  • In Desktop mode the OS was detected as Windows 8 (which is wrong) and the browser as Internet Explorer 11.


I also tested www.whatismybrowser.com

  • In Mobile mode  the OS was detected as iOS 7 and the browser was detected as Internet Explorer 11.
  • In Desktop mode the OS was detected as Windows 8 (which is wrong) and the browser as Internet Explorer 11.


Next I went to http://www.whoishostingthis.com/:

  • In Mobile mode I got this strange sting:  Mozilla/5.0 (Mobile; Windows Phone 8.1; Android 4.0; ARM; Trident/7.0; Touch; rv:11.0; IEMobile/11.0; NOKIA; Lumia 1520) like iPhone OS 7_0_3 Mac OS X AppleWebKit/537 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile Safari/537
  • In Desktop mode I got:  Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.2; ARM; Trident/7.0; Touch; rv:11.0; WPDesktop; Lumia 1520) like Gecko



I got few Windows Phone users to try this for me and as an example a Nokia Lumia 930-owner got detected as Windows 8 in desktop mode and as a iOS 7 device in Mobile mode. Google Analytics detected his device either as a Windows 8 computer or as a iOS 7 device.


One user reported that Google Analytics always detected his device as Windows Phone but this OS version was not detected (not set). His browser was also detected as Safari version 537 after Windows Phone 8.1 update 1 launched.


Another user sent me this screenshot he took last year but here you can see that Facebook detected his Lumia 1520 as “Android on Nokia Lumia 1520) like iPhone






On a global scale I find this interesting given all the “Windows Phone is dying” articles that are floating around the internet.

edit: Took out reference to an article on venturebeat.com


Here in Iceland companies have little or no interest in developing applications for Windows Phone like I said earlier. The reason is always the minimal market share that Windows Phone has but I am sure that the false detection of the device/browser as iOS 7, Android or unknown in web analytics isn’t helping Windows Phone.

Many web designers optimize their sites for Android and iOS and that is understandable given the marketshare of these mobile operation systems. I am sure that Microsofts motives for changing the browser string were just to make the user’s web experience a lot better, and it is. Now Windows Phone users can use web services like Gmail that they couldn’t before.

What I trying to get across here, is that Windows Phone devices suffer a side effect from this change. And it is causing devices to be incorrectly detected, affecting the user numbers that developers and companies rely on when making decisions about applications to develop.


We here on Lappari.com would like to hope that companies and developers take a closer look at the statistics and reconsider giving Windows Phone a second change, as the current measurement used might not be correct. #browsergate


Resources:  IEBlog – Microsoft – MSMVPS – Neowin – Softpedia – WMpoweruser


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