Microsoft planning low-priced Windows Phone 7 devices this year

By Tom Warren, on 15th Feb 11 3:15 pm with 9 Comments

Andy Lees - Mobile World Congress 2011

Microsoft is planning to bring a number of low-priced Windows Phones to market this year.

Andy Lees, President of Microsoft’s Mobile Communications Business, spoke at a financial analyst briefing during Mobile World Congress on Monday. Lees revealed that Microsoft is planning to target a lot more languages and countries over the coming year. “To put it in perspective, today we actually target – with the countries that we’re in and the languages that we’re in – what represents about 40 percent of the smart phones.  That will actually increase to in excess of 86-87 percent by the end of this year,” said Lees.

Lees also revealed that the company is planning low-priced Windows Phones. “We’ll have low-priced phones in the market this year…our price points will come down, which also increases the total size of the addressable market that we have.” Lees also revealed that Microsoft has been working closely with system-on-a-chip providers for the past couple of years. Microsoft’s work means that the price point of its basic hardware requirements gets solidified. “We’re very excited about the roadmap and it enables us to take that experience to cheaper phones. The main thing we want to do is get the price down but keep the experience up,” said Lees.

Microsoft’s minimum hardware requirements have remained static for nearly a year now. The company is currently evaluating how to push the platform forward later in the year but avoid fragmentation issues that have plagued rival companies like Google. Microsoft’s mobile competition is increasingly more fierce. Android manufacturers and Apple are both likely to bump their specifications significantly in the coming months which will place increased pressure on Microsoft to follow suit. Microsoft’s recent deal with Nokia could see the platform specifications bumped later this year. Nokia expects to deliver its first Windows Phone 7 device by the end of 2011, neatly timed with Microsoft’s “Mango” release.

  • Manish

    Good move. MS should come out with low-priced phones having more simple UI for the feature phones which sell more in the countries like India. What if you could not succeed in USA, there is a whole world out to conqure.

    • JohnCz

      It will be great for Windows Phone momentum. For Chassis 1 spec, they’ll achieve lower consumer prices through parts consolidation/commoditization & operator deals. And I suspect in developing nations, Chassis 2 spec may be important. Chassis 2 specs does require you to scroll up/down but has the same width as Chassis 1 specs. Apps should work pretty much asis. But in no case, do I see Microsoft changing the UI. Its great as it is. Don’t forget, the business model is for consumer to buy apps and services…so they still want/need a capable device.

    • Manish

      Changes in UI means making it adjustable with with keys operated phone. There are many chinese/unbranded phones in developing countries which are flooding the market. The UI should be easy to operate with the keys. Current UI is more confortable with touch.

  • Anonymous

    I have said it before. Microsoft will drive down the cost of mobile computing in a similar fashion to what they did with home computing and web browsers. They will absorb a large chunk of the development costs up front, open their system to 3rd party developers, and create actual competition.

    • GP007

      I agree, if they can make some nice lower level WP7 devices for $100-$200 less (that’s without a contract price wise), and undercut Apple and Android handsets then hot damn, huge.

      It’s no coincidence Apple is looking at making a smaller, cheaper iPhone of its own, specially now that MS is in bed with Nokia, the OEM with the size and hardware ability to do just that.

  • GP007

    The WP7 spec does say something about a support for a lower screen res, 480×320? Or was that 320×252? Well either way, it’s lower, thus smaller screen sizes, thus Chassis 2 specs are for lower end feature phone like devices that are often half the cost of current smartphones.

  • daniel gandhi

    As if the current line up is premium,specs wise it is comparable to the low end LG optimus Android line up,but price wise they are trying to compete with Premium Android phones.

  • Marko Šjor

    Check out this talk from MWC. This Nokia’s CEO is the man! Im pleased and suprised :D

  • Guest