Microsoft and Nokia to attack low-end smartphone markets

Microsoft and Nokia are planning to tackle the smartphone market and hit hard with new low-end hardware, according to a report by Reuters. With multiple high-end products from Nokia, HTC, and Samsung already available, the company is now looking at the cheaper price points that attract a large portion of consumers. The Lumia 521 is such a Windows Phone that Microsoft hopes will win over the minds of consumers.

Terry Myerson, head of the Windows Phone unit, had the following to say on the move:

"There is an opportunity for us to offer a very high quality device in the mainstream. That's where we've made progress in the last couple of months and it's a strategy we'll continue to explore in the United States."

The Lumia 521, a variant of the Lumia 520 (they just have to name 'em differently), went on sale on the Home Shopping Network last week, where the product has already sold out. The Lumia 521 sports not only 4G connectivity, but also includes a 4-inch screen and a 5 MP camera. If that wasn't enough, wireless charging is also available with optional covers.

The Nokia Windows Phone will go on sale at Walmart starting next week. The $150 price tag will be coupled with T-Mobile's $30 unlimited data and SMS plan. This is said to work out much cheaper than heavily subsadised iPhones and Android hardware. It seems to be working in certain markets and Microsoft hopes to replicate that success in the states. According to the company, it has as much as 20 percent of the market in regions such as Mexico and Poland.

Lumia 520

Myerson continues:

"It (subsidization) is a compelling business model for them. If you are Samsung, Apple, AT&T or Verizon, it's where everything's working, you are growing share, you are growing profits. If you are an incumbent with a successful business model, you're not going to be jumping to throw it out. I don't think we've come near to the full potential. Those are our two dimensions here, Office and Xbox. We want to bring to life getting work done and bring to life that serious fun, here on this thing in your pocket. That's going to develop over time."

It's clear that Microsoft has an array of products it can use to add more features to the overall Windows Phone experience. The only hurdle still remains is to sell the platform to the consumer. Do the US mobile operators help matters? Probably not, but Microsoft will have to work its plan hard to break through, as it has done overseas.

Source: Reuters

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.