Windows Phone's expansion into the entry-level smartphone market has been a while in coming, but thanks to the less demanding Tango build of Microsoft's OS, devices such as the Nokia Lumia 610 – introduced at Mobile World Congress – have now stepped into that void.
But Nokia has admitted that while the Lumia 610 is a step in the right direction, Windows Phone will have to go even further downmarket to truly compete against Android in this fiercely competitive part of the market.
Microsoft has made little secret of the fact that it sees Nokia as the key to driving Windows Phone's appeal at the low end of the smartphone market – an area Nokia has always been strong in. It's developed a version of its operating system specifically for the job, too – Windows Phone Tango – so it's all looking hunky dory, right?
Not quite, according to Nokia executive vice-president Niklas Savander, who has delivered the reality check that the Lumia 610 simply isn't cheap enough to hold off the low-end Android masses.
“We have a lot riding on the fact that we need to get a lower price point,” Savander told Pocket-lint. “We are competing with Android, and 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.”
Sounds reasonable to us, but Nokia is probably happier than Microsoft for the process to evolve naturally. After all, it still has quite a few Symbian devices further down the smartphone pecking order, and surely won't be relishing the prospect of lining up a bunch of Windows Phones against them just yet.
“Symbian is doing a very good job in capturing that first-time smartphone user, but the platform is, of course, ageing. And the functionality isn't evolving as rapidly as it should, so we need to continue to push the price of handsets down when it comes to the low-end.”