Microsoft has launched what some think will be its last Lumia smartphone, with the business-focused Lumia 650 costing under $200 when it goes on sale in Europe on Feb. 18.
Microsoft is positioning the Lumia 650 as a business device first and foremost, clearly hoping that enterprise customers looking to save money will chose this smartphone over the huge range of budget Android smartphones on the market — with Microsoft highlighting the productivity advantages Windows 10 gives to customers.
However, going by previous efforts, the company will struggle to make a major impact on the market with the Lumia 650 with the Windows 10 Mobile (previously Windows Phone) platform struggling to get any traction in the market. According to figures from IDC, Windows accounts for less than 3 percent of all smartphones sold in 2015.
Microsoft has given the Lumia 650 an aluminum chassis to give it a premium feel despite its budget price tag. However, on closer inspection the spec list gives away the phone’s cut price credentials. The 5-inch screen has a low pixel resolution and the whole thing is powered by a relatively average Qualcomm chip, paired with just 1GB of RAM where today’s flagship models are increasingly coming with 3GB of RAM.
“We’re extremely proud of the Lumia 650 and believe it will quickly be seen as the device that provides the perfect balance between work and personal needs,” Microsoft’s Samuli Hänninen said in a blog post announcing the Lumia 650.
Many are expecting that the Lumia 650 will be the final smartphone from the company in 2016 and potentially the last one ever. The company has confirmed to International Business Times that it won’t be making any announcements at the important Mobile World Congress trade show next week where Samsung, Huawei, LG, Sony and Xiaomi will all be showing off new smartphones. Microsoft has previously used the show to launch several new Lumia smartphones.
Microsoft is not giving up on smartphones completely, however. Multiple reports suggest the company is working on a premium smartphone, which will bear the Surface moniker and sit alongside the company’s Surface tablets. The Surface Phone has been rumored for some time but the latest reports suggest it will be launched in the fall alongside the latest Surface and Surface Pro tablets.
The Lumia range is a carry-over from Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia in April 2014 for $7.2 billion, and the 650 could simply be the final smartphone that had been in development by the company at the time of purchase. Microsoft has already written off $7.9 billion as a result of the acquisition and it may now be ready to move forward with its own plans for smartphone hardware.