Microsoft is preparing for an influx of low-end smartphones for Windows Phone, Microsoft executive Nick Parker revealed at Computex in Taipei that new phones coming by the end of the year will have prices around $100, 200 and 300, instead of higher up in the scale.
The Windows Phone’s will be developed by new companies who have only just become partners of the platform. Microsoft added Foxconn, Gionee, Lava, Lenovo, LG, Longcheer, JSR, Karbonn and ZTE into the fold just recently and most make low-end Android handsets.
ZTE and LG are both good pick ups for Windows Phone, ZTE has a commanding market in China, a place where Windows Phone is currently non-existent. We are surprised Oppo, Xiaomi and other Chinese manufacturers haven’t been brought into the fold.
Karbonn and Lava are both big manufacturers in India, another market Microsoft is hoping to hit this year. The Indian market is ripe for any smartphone costing under $200 and made with impressive build quality, the Moto G and Nokia X both did well in the country.
Samsung and HTC are also looking to come back to Windows Phone, after a brief hiatus. The two companies have been working hard on Android, but Microsoft has apparently offered incentives to come back and work on the third largest mobile OS. We would be surprised if either company worked on $200 smartphones though, considering their previous efforts were for the high-end market.
Microsoft’s move to becoming a low-end smartphone distributor is questionable, considering the lack of actual profit manufacturers can make and the lack of adoption in high revenue per user areas for low-end devices. Microsoft wants to make sales on their software and services side and this will not happen in places like India and China.
Analysts predict Windows Phone will hit 10 percent market share worldwide in the next few years, if Microsoft can continue to keep manufacturers interested.