Exclusive renders: the Microsoft Lumia 650 brings metal to the mid-range
Sometime in early 2016, likely between January and February, Microsoft is expected to announce a new lower-tier Windows Phone. According to our sources, the Lumia 650 (codename Saana) is being positioned as a low-cost business device for companies to mass deploy to their employees.
Windows Central has partnered with @PhoneDesigner to bring you these exclusive renders of the upcoming Lumia 650. The renders themselves are based on internal Microsoft slides for the phone. While these images are not official at least according to our sources, they are highly reflective of the final product.
According to our reporting, the Microsoft Lumia 650 was initially cancelled with the Lumia 750 and Lumia 850 back in July 2015 following Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's letter to employees.
However, just a week later the project's status was reversed. From our understanding, the device (known only as Saana at the time) went through a few redesign efforts to be marketed as Microsoft's business phone. The phone is expected to be sold en masse to companies looking for a low-cost, but capable Windows 10 Mobile solution and takes over for the Lumia 640.
The phone's new look does add a professional aesthetic when compared to the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL, which were also positioned for business use by Microsoft back in early 2015.
While the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL are placed as the top-tier Windows 10 Mobile devices, their $550 and $650 price points make bulk deployments unlikely. Nonetheless, with their support for Continuum both phones can easily be sold for mobile professionals who need max specifications.
Regarding specifications, the Lumia 650 is not a barnburner, but it does bring a new design language that is very reminiscent of earlier iPhone designs. With its chrome sides and thin profile, the Lumia 650 looks like a premium budget phone. The effect of the metal band is similar to adding a Mozo case to the Lumia 950, and it seems Microsoft has learned a bit from that design folly.
Lumia 650 Specifications (likely)
- Windows 10 Mobile
- Colors: Matte White or Matte Black
- 5-inch 720p display
- Snapdragon 212 processor
- 1GB of RAM
- 8GB of storage with micro SD expansion
- 5MP front-facing camera; 8MP rear with LED flash
- No wireless charging
Also, our latest information points to a change in regards to the processor. Our report initially suggested the Lumia 650 would support a Snapdragon 410 while other reports claimed a Snapdragon 210.
Interestingly enough, it may be the case that both reports are wrong, as we now hear the Lumia 650 will ship with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 212. The Quaclomm Snapdragon 212 features a quad-core ARM Cortex A7 CPU with a 1.3 GHz CPU, Adreno 304 GPU, and support for X5 LTE and 1080p Full HD video playback.
Additional modern features include support for Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0, dual-SIM configurations, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, HD Voice, and Wi-Fi calling.
Microsoft is unlikely to announce the Lumia 650 at the 2016 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas in early January. Microsoft typical eschews this event for announcements, instead letting their OEM partners have their moment. We expect a few OEM partners to showcase new Windows Phones this year.
Instead, Microsoft may opt for a low-key announcement on their own, or, more likely, something for Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. That event takes place between February 22 and February 25. Last year, Microsoft announced the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL at that event making a repeat a possibility.
Additionally, we have heard that in the U.S., at least, one carrier – Cricket Wireless – will be taking stock of the device likely in April. Cricket was one of the first carriers to pick up the Lumia 640 in May 2015 ($129 at the time) making a Lumia 650 pickup a natural replacement. Other carriers are possible, however, at this time, we have no further information to add.
Special thanks to @PhoneDesigner who worked with us on this story on their renders. To see more of their work, please visit phonedesigner.eu and their Facebook page
Microsoft Lumia 650 topic page, news and details
Microsoft Lumia 650 forums at Windows Central
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.