Nokia’s new Windows Phone 8 handset, the Lumia 620, might look like a pared down version of the Espoo-based mobile-maker’s flagship Lumia 920.
But while chatter about its so-called ‘dual-shot’ colour scheme is little more than a neat PR trick, this is a device that points the way for Microsoft’s struggling mobile operating system. The first thing that’s really striking about the Nokia Lumia 620 is its price tag. At €190, around £150, SIM-free, it’s incredibly cheap.
But it’s made all the more impressive by the fact that it packs in a fully powered version of Microsoft’s OS along with Nokia’s own excellent native apps.
These include impressive Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive and Nokia Transport, as well as the ace Nokia City Lens augmented reality function. Let’s be clear, this is a vitally important phone for both Nokia and Microsoft. The latter’s share in the smartphone space is paltry at best, while Nokia is still working its way out of some serious difficulties.
This phone, far more so than the pricey, top-end Lumia 920, will show just where the Finnish giant is with its plans to get back to the top.
This is not a handset aimed at hardcore tech types, rather it’s for your average punter who walks into their local phone shop and wants a cheap handset that can still do it all. Windows Phone hasn’t really appeared on many devices in this category before.
The Lumia 620’s only current competitor using Microsoft’s OS is HTC’s Windows Phone 8S and that’s far pricier, over £200 SIM-free.
But if the Big M wants to succeed in mobile, it’s going to need to push manufacturers harder into making such devices. Why? Because budget Android phones are the ones turning Google’s OS into the world’s favourite platform.
This is where Mountain View is cleaning up and where Microsoft cannot afford to lose out. It’s all very well having flagship devices, but today you need cheap options too.
Apple knows this and has acted accordingly by selling old versions of its iPhone at knockdown prices. Microsoft doesn’t have such a legacy in the smartphone space and can’t follow suit.
The Lumia 620 could prove to be the shot in the arm that Windows Phone 8 needs as 2013 begins.
But it’s going to take a lot more phones like it if Microsoft wants to succeed. In the meantime, Nokia should be praised for outing such a decent budget blower.