Can Windows Phone Compete in the Low-End?

on October 24, 2013

At Nokia World earlier this week Nokia launched what I feel is an interesting product. I am an optimist so I have not given up on Microsoft or Nokia when it comes to mobile computing. The most interesting product to me is the Lumia 1320.


I got to spend some time with the new Lumia large screen phones and the latest update to Windows Phone 8 shows well on larger screen smartphones. But what makes the 1320 interesting is not the size but the price. The Lumia 1320 is estimated at $339 USD and will launch first in China and Vietnam in early 2014, followed by other Asian markets, India and European markets. For context on that price point, in China the $339 priced smartphones or 2000 Yuan price range occupied 8% of Q2’13 sales.

Here is a chart using IDC’s numbers on where the global platform share sits currently.

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 9.40.31 AM

I ask the question whether Windows Phone can compete in the low-end because that is where I feel its best chance at market share gains will come from. Our research suggests that Apple is an immoveable force in the high end or top 10% of the global market and with the addition of the 5c it is possible they will dominate the top 20% by the end of the year. Where Android succeeds is the area where Windows Phone has a chance – at the low-end. If I am Microsoft and Nokia I focus on the blue line in the graph not the green one…at least for now.

I truly believe that Android needs low-end competition. I say this because Android in the low-end is not advancing personal computing. From what I have seen and used with the Windows Phone, I feel it is a much better platform than Android at those price points to empower consumers with computing. The problem is that Android has an army of OEMs shipping phones at low-price points. Windows Phone will never make a dent in Android unless they get the same.

To date Nokia’s best selling Lumia is the 520 which is among the most affordable of the group. It will be interesting to see how the 1320 does but I will remain optimistic until proven otherwise.