“Nokia has given more than 4000 ad spots to the Lumia 800 on TV” – complained the promoter of a rival brand. “If only our products were equally promoted ….”While the jury is out, I am certain that the Lumia 800 is breaking no sales records and is far from turning the tide for Nokia. Microsoft getting Nokia to adopt WP was a mutually beneficial move, one which would see Windows phone finally get some traction with a dedicated hardware manufacturer who has equal skin in the game. Nokia so far has not disappointed by launching two handsets in a span of just six months.
The Lumia 800 is best priced at Rs 28,300 (in Mumbai), and that’s competing with the likes of HTC Sensation, Samsung Galaxy SII and a plethora of lower priced Android phones. At a time when dollar rates are surging, it would be unfair to expect price cuts on a top end smartphone from Nokia, and I won’t even ask for that (hint: it may still happen). Hence the Lumia 710 has been my bet since long because of the price advantage it has over the rest which also opens up a bigger segment for the device. The QUESTION: Would Nokia promote its dark horse?
I got a glimpse of the 710 during the Lumia 800 launch last year, and that’s the last I saw of the 710. And so far there have been no seed units for media, no aggressive in store promotions, no painted Jets, no sky parties, no flash mobs, no TV slots. In my opinion, the 710 actually has the potential to sell way more than the Lumia 800, now if only Nokia pushed this device a little more.A sub Rs. 20,000 smartphone with a beautiful and refreshing OS like WP Mango is indeed a lucrative prospect. And the 710 has a Nokia brand name to back it up. That’s not all, the 710 has the same processing power as the 800 and developers can deliver equally well.
Another way to look at it is Microsoft’s interest. At this point Microsoft cares less about beating the top end iPhone or Android on the market. The biggest criticism of Windows Phone is the lack of great apps and MS needs millions of users to entice developers. What Nokia is doing, is at best creating a feel good factor (Yes, the Amazing every day and all). But for the Windows platform & Nokia to be Amazing a year later the requirement is simple: lots of users and a whole lot of quality app, which comes from developers making money from the platform.
Nokia might want to go out and claim that they have a refreshing design, top of the line smartphone and make truly attractive ads, all the effort wouldn’t cause magic. Windows phone needs to hit the spot where there would be maximum volumes, and that’s not the top end of the market but somewhere closer to the mid-low range.
Even if a fraction of effort and money put behind the Lumia 800 is directed towards the 710, both Nokia and Windows Phone platform would benefit. For now the Lumia 710 gets a price cut and sells for Rs 15,400. That is the sort of aggressive pricing strategy Nokia needs. Now all it needs to do is make the dark horse shine and be the talk of the town. At the end of the race, it won’t matter which horse crossed the finish line for you…
But what matters in the end is the question: DID YOU PLAY TO WIN?