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Nokia still needs a cheaper phone to compete with Android

WP Central

Although one would think the Lumia 610 goes far enough to compete with low-end Android devices for emerging markets, according to Niklas Savander, executive vice-president at Nokia, covering Brand, Marketing, Sales, Supply Chain, Customer Care and Information Technology, they still need to go lower:

"We are competing with Android, Android is in many markets at the €100 price already, so that would suggest that if we are at €189 with the Lumia 610 we still have work to do when it comes to creating a lower-end first-time user smartphone."

That's certainly a tall order as the Lumia 610 already ditches things like gyroscope (compass?), ClearBlack, some RAM, CPU speed and more. Other areas where Nokia could reduce costs though would be to newer-but-low-cost SOC chipsets, even cheaper screens and overall leveraging of existing production lines.

When we heard Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, speak at the Mobile World Congress last week, he mentioned how the sub-$100 smartphone will come next year, so clearly even Google has their eyes set on that milestone too. The question is will Nokia have to reduce features or will production of smartphone parts become cheaper to reach that point? More likely a combo of both.

Source: Pocket-Lint

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Reader comments

Nokia still needs a cheaper phone to compete with Android

26 Comments

I do not think cutting everything out and "alienating" people with Windows Phones is the way to go, personally.
 
 

I think even at a higher price they will have a big advantage over Android because the WP will actually work. People will probably like that in a phone.

Slippery slope here. I understand their desire to want to compete but people jumped on cheap androids thinking they would perform as top android phones. Manufacturers used the OS because it was free, that's why it's installed on pretty much any and everything with half a million different versions. MS needs to focus on quality to further establish the break from their previous failings and show consumers their products are functional, safe and of superior quality. Adopting googles strategy just doesn't make sense for wp7 and could back fire.

If they finnaly start to market WP then they wont have to drop to rock bottom to gain market share. MS can have $50 devices, and if nobody knows about them then what's the point? Right now all, and I mean all of WP problems can, and most definitely would be solved if we had relentless marketing campaigns. Just think of a issue, then think how marketing impacts that issue... Vendors making premium hardware, Support from more carriers, app development, consumer adoption? All of these concerns are a direct result of poor, or nonexistent, marketing campaigns. Tell MS now!..Here... http://windowsteamblog.com/windows_phone/b/windowsphone/archive/2012/03/... e

How about targeting the HTC Titan as the flagship phone to compete with Apple and Android? Focus on developing one solid device first

Its a great device, but the quality is questionable. S-LCD is horrible, light leaking below the buttons. There are some more perks but it's not a good thing to put up on the podium. I love my Titan, but its not perfect enough.

On a Czech sits smartmania.cz there is a news item claiming a trustworthy source has claimed the Lumia 610 will be priced at 6490 CZK, which is 250-260 EUR at today's exchange rates. Of course, this is partly due to VAT, which is 19 percent in the Czech Republic.

The problem is you can get Samsung Omnia for the same money...

Idk if that is the best idea!! especially when cheaper = low end. There is going to be a problem where these phones dont have uniformity with high end phones when it comes to running apps and games. And I thought the 710 was low end enough....
What they should do is advertise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I mean i have not seen a wp7 commercial this year. And they even shot a promo last with Kendrick Lamar ! Kendrick Lamar! And this was when he really didnt have a name, well he still doesnt! But he Opens for drake on his club paradise tour! Wouldnt now be a great time to run that on networks ???
So all in all whats the point of manufacturing a phone if nobody knows about it? And the uniformity is what they need to keep! Its what sperates apple from android, smoothness is key!

They might take the Asha approach here...

Basically, develop WP devices 'locked' to specific Nokia, Microsoft & partner (esp local devs) apps.  This would include Drive, Maps, CNN, Facebook, SkyDrive, Office, Angry Birds etc.  Give them physical qwerty keyboards, larger screens (than Asha), etc.  These phones could run under a different series to Lumia (Asha next-gen?) and essentially have their own app marketplace.    

If Nokia markets these phones in more or less the same manner as its Asha types people will know that these phones are meant for specific roles.  Social connectivity, some form of functionality and productivity (but not enterprise level), etc.  Take it in context, if Asha evolves into using a variation of WP - however limited in our view - would be pretty big for current Asha users.   

Microsoft could push out series-specific updates for these phones to keep them as contemporaries as higher-tier Apollo devices down the line, but it should be known to consumers that this is not your conventional WP (even by Lumia 610 standards). 

Now, can this lead to a split between Windows Phone in terms of Apollo and say this "Asha WP" OS?  Maybe, but it doesn't change the fact that the MS eco-system will downstream or maintain its influence in a huge market segment of developing country consumers.  A split might be good, expectations between different handsets here would be clear and consumers will buy conscious of what they're buying into.

 Also, it's possible that for a while the central or core WP experience - for the most part - can remain the same, e.g browser, messaging, common games (Angry Birds), viewing word/excel/ppt docs, etc.   

Good points.  And seeing demos of the performance of the Lumia 610, it did not appear that performance was 'degraded', at all, on the lower specced device.
Perhaps with part prices dropping, when a smaller screen size (i.e. 3.2-3.5), smaller MP camera (or no camera), I think Nokia can easily get the price down to where they need it to be.  The core WP OS should still work fluidly.

as long as the cheap phones are functionally equivalent to mid-range, then this is a good strategy because the preception of the OS does not really get hurt.  The main risk with this strategy is if the preception of OS quality/functionality is compromised like it is for Android.  I don't think this will happen due to the very close partnership between Nokia and MSFT.   I wonder if Google is using their Motorola leverage to attack this market as well. I haven't read much on what exactly is their strategy since the Motorola acquisition.  Nokia's likely countering Google's plans and hopefully they succeed.

What some of you don't realize is that in a lot of the world, especially in places like China, India, and South-East Asia, Nokia is so popular not for their $200+ phones, but for their $50-100 Symbian devices.  Android is hurting Nokia and Symbian in this segment, and the only way for Nokia to compete with Android there is by reducing the cost of WP phones and releasing WP phones at that price point.
Cutting back costs, reducing specs, etc is not meant for US, Canada, and parts of Europe, but the world doesn't revolve around these few places.  A majority of the world make much smaller wages than we do in developed countries and can't afford $600 for a premium handset.  Nokia needs to be able to compete with Android for these kinds of users, and Windows Phone is their vehicle for doing it.

Exactly.  Even with a limited WP, just bring the developing world the smooth/snappy OS with apps such as Facebook, Angry Birds, SkyDrive, MS Office, maybe Skype - and we have a solid device.  Yes this risks a split between the premium and lower-end handsets, but what if going with the OS split allows Nokia to develop a local app catalogue for WP users more hastily than MS? 

Completely agree. The realization that '610 is not enough' is very big coming from Nokia. 'Well begun is half done'.

Seems to me most of those cheap Android devices are 2.2 (at least the Optimus I use to have is still 2.2 at Best Buy, Tmob and Radio Shack) or 2.3.  I say let Android continue to sell their old stuff to that market, continue to pull down the impact ICS can make, and eventually end up burning those Android users.

Eventhough, android have captured an good majority of the low end market, it is the inability of the operating system to offer a consistent user experience that will turn some of the target market away from it in the long run. People are basically the same no matter where you are in the world and for the most part if their friends have basic functions on their phones they will want those features as well. I understand the need to gain market share but at what cost, android says that it is not fragmented but it is and one of the main reasons why the experience is not consistent across the board for devices. I personally enjoy the experience on my wp7 and would like to enjoy that same experience whether it's a low end device or high end one. Just my opinion.
 

The bigger problem with lower end phones is the lack of GPU, it has been stated by Elop in his previous interview with theverge.  They could not go anymore lower with WP as the smooth and optimal performance is core to WP and without GPU, that is going to be a problem. 
I think, what they are doing in the short term is to place Asha in those deep Android ranges, while in the mid to long term, maybe 1 of those additionally supported screen resolution in WP8 would be 320*240 or 400*240 and would work similar to how apps work for 3GS and 4S.
Though admittedly, this would be fragmentation, but only to a limited extent. MS should only have a default ratio landscape phones  (4:3) like 320/240 and 640/480 and continue with the portrait phones (5:3) like 800/480 and 1280/768 or even go lower at 400/240

Nokia just need to make the Nokia 3330 of Windows Phone and they'll be well and truelly on their way. 
It might seem strange but people associate Nokia with more than just cheap stable phone, when i think of Nokia, i think Snake & Snake 2, changable covers front and back as well as their famous ringtone! Its the small things that often matter the most to consumers.

At some point we just started believing that smartphones HAD to be expensive. . . Good on Nokia and I suppose google to for getting to the lowest of low and being able to keep the smartphone title

If the Nokia 710 is able to be sold for £150 (currently available) then I would have thought the 610 could go for nearer £100. At those prices they are more than in the ball park with Android, I think they very very competitive.

Well, I think Nokia doesn't have to reduce the specs of WP for the price point to compete with Android phones. They could

1. Bundle an asha phone with 610 and then sell them at competitive pricing, say like a family package: 610 for adult and the asha for kids or something like that.

2. Sell 610 at reduced rates to keep loyal Nokia consumers (Symbian).

No please I rather spend the money if I really want the phone then for them to make the phones cheaper and slower. On top of that they will have to cut a lot of corners for that to happen.