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.