Microsoft has recorded a good impact for their entry level smartphone Lumia 520 across the world with a reported 12 million Lumia 520 activations so far. This makes for over 60% of their smartphones sales. The second segment being slightly over 25% for mid range smartphones and the high end with roughly 15%.
This is according to IDC’s recent mobile phone tracker report that has Windows Phone hitting 7.4 million in smartphone shipments. Windows Phone has evolved from the days of the burning platform to now when it’s able to make disrupting impact in the entry level for emerging markets. Now over 60% of smartphone shipments in the sub $200 category makes for only one smartphone, which is the Lumia 520. I would have put in the Ascend W1 from Huawei but the sales are very negligible to make the cut here. So Lumia 520 stands.
What dynamics are we to expect in the near future?
- Google is fronting a fight in this segment with it’s Android One project that sees Google offer reference design devices at prices below $100 to Android OEMs. This means that the players who work with Google on this get the advantage of zero Research and Development costs and yet sill sell devices at sub $100 costs, very tasty looking devices at that. That spells trouble for Windows Phone which is battling Android for acceptance.
- Microsoft on the other hand is not taking this lying down. Earlier in the year at Microsoft Build, the company announced that they take off license fees for OEMs developing devices with screens less than 9 inches. This caters for 8 inch and 7 inch tablets, but mostly smartphones below that. This will have an impact in costs of production for OEMS and we have seen announcements of interest from vendors like Blu, Micromax, Prestigio and Yezz to compliment the list that includes Foxconn, Gionee, JSR, Karbonn, Lava, Lenovo, LG, Longcheer and ZTE. Impact of the other players remains to be seen as Microsoft Devices (formerly Nokia) still has over 90% of the Windows Phone share.
- Feature phones are on their way to extinction as the gap between dumb phones, feature phones and entry level smartphones gets sealed more and more by smartphone pricing. It doesn’t even make sense to sell a $100 feature phone, or even the Asha phones that Nokia lovingly insisted they be categorized as smartphones.
Overall the consumer gains as they get more choice from the bottom, what needs research obviously is technology to get good battery life for smartphones in the entry level. These care most about battery life but get the shorter end of the stick.