Microsoft Lumia 650 announcement delayed until mid-February
Microsoft is expected to announce the business-orientated Lumia 650 relatively soon, but software issues are pushing the date back even further. Recently, Windows Central revealed that Microsoft was set to announce the Lumia 650 on February 1 through their official blog. Presumably, the availability of the device was very close to that low-key announcement, but now plans have changed.
Sources close to the matter have told me that the date has been pushed back until sometime in mid-February with no specific day yet set. The delay is reportedly due to some last minute software/firmware issues that were found. As to why such a scenario would delay the announcement, it is not too clear. However, if Microsoft were planning to align the statement with immediate availability of the new phone e.g. direct purchase online, such a delay could make sense.
If mid-February is the new timeframe, it casts even more doubt on Microsoft having any significant presence at Mobile World Congress, which kicks off February 22 in Barcelona. Instead, as we noted earlier, the Lumia 650 will be announced with little fanfare, and that still looks to be the case.
Additionally, I can add that the Microsoft used laser cutting for the metal edge of the Lumia 650. The effect of laser cutting is the band's metal is matte on the sides, but shinier on the edges. Of course, such a high-quality feel will only cast more doubt on why the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL could not have had the same attention to design and detail. One thing is clear: the Lumia team's efforts on this generation of phones were more diverse and sporadic.
More layoffs and 'the last Lumia'?
I hear there may be more layoffs in the Lumia division as Microsoft continues to walk back the purchase of Nokia's mobile division. To counter the layoffs the group under Panos Panay is reportedly actively hiring for mobile. This rebalancing seems to confirm the phasing out of the Lumia brand. However, that is pure speculation at this time.
Let me address the phrasing many sites have taken that the Lumia 650 is "the last Lumia" for Microsoft as in forever. The only thing I have heard is the Lumia 650 is the only Lumia in development and planned for release for this year. Whether or not Microsoft will have new Lumias later in 2016 or early 2017 or revise the brand is unknown. To my knowledge, there are no other Lumias in the pipeline and the Lumia 650 completes the Nokia portfolio acquired when Microsoft bought their mobile division.
Note, however, that Lumia does not mean Windows Phone. Microsoft is actively developing a new mobile phone for late 2016, with the Surface team led by Panos Panay taking the charge. Panay took over mobile hardware in the end of July, so none of that is news or surprising. What that device will look like, feature, or even if it will see the light of day remains to be seen and is Microsoft's more pressing challenge.
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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.