Nokia Prepping Low-Price Windows Phones: Report

Nokia is reportedly prepping a line of low-price, entry-level Windows Phones for unveiling at Mobile World Congress, according to reports.

Nokia is apparently gearing up to present some lower-price smartphones at this year€™s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, according to a new Bloomberg report.

While Nokia decided last year to use Microsoft€™s Windows Phone as its primary smartphone operating system, the Finnish phone maker apparently isn€™t ready to wholly abandon its old software platform, Symbian. According to a pair of unnamed sources speaking to Bloomberg, a €œcamera-focused phone€ will make its debut at MWC (indeed, a video posted by Nokia on YouTube hints at some development along those lines). In addition, Nokia will roll out a set of €œlower-price, entry-level€ smartphones at the conference.

Unnamed sources speaking to Reuters also suggested that a set of cheaper smartphones loaded with Windows Phone would appear at MWC.

When Nokia CEO Stephen Elop made the decision in 2011 to abandon Symbian in favor of Windows Phone, arguing that Microsoft€™s software could better combat Apple€™s iPhone and the growing family of Google Android devices, analysts and pundits greeted the move with some skepticism. Indeed, Nokia€™s global market share continued to decline throughout the year, as users abandoned the Symbian platform ahead of the rollout of the first Windows Phone devices.

By January 2012, Nokia had unveiled three smartphones: the Lumia 710, a midrange device retailing in the U.S. for $49 with a two-year contract; and the high-end Lumia 800 and Lumia 900. Both Nokia and Microsoft believe that offering a selection of hardware at all the market€™s price points will ultimately help in their mutual quest for increased Windows Phone adoption.

There are some early signs that Nokia€™s Windows Phone strategy is paying off. The company announced it had sold 1 million Windows Phone units in the fourth quarter of 2011, surpassing some analyst expectations. However, net sales declined 21 percent from a year ago, and the overall quarterly results suggest there is significant ground to cover if the company wants to challenge Android and Apple€™s iOS.

€œWe still have a tremendous amount to accomplish in 2012,€ Elop wrote in a Jan. 26 statement linked to Nokia€™s most recent earnings, €œand thus, it is my assessment that we are in the heart of our transition.€

In addition to Nokia, other manufacturing partners such as HTC have committed to building a new generation of Windows Phones loaded with the latest version of Microsoft€™s software. During January€™s Consumer Electronics Show, for example, HTC announced the Titan II, a 4G Long-Term Evolution-capable (LTE-capable) device with a 4.7-inch WVGA screen. It€™s rumored that similarly advanced Windows Phones will make an appearance at WMC.

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