Following on from our earlier post where WPDownUnder reported a solid start to Nokia’s Australian Windows Phone debut – this week will see the much awaited media release confirming an expansion of their device line-up for our shores. Whilst the Lumia 610 and flagship Lumia 900 have been announced and released in selected overseas markets, tomorrow in Sydney Nokia are holding an exclusive Media event to provide updates on their Lumia range for the Australia. WPDownUnder has been keeping our ears to the ground of late…and thought we’d speculate on what tomorrow – and beyond – may bring!
In the US – the Lumia 900 is literally selling like hotcakes and is by far the most successful WP7 device launched to date. It has won a best-at-show awards at CES2012, been accorded “hero” status by ATT – with Sales staff all using the device as their day-to-day phone and most recently confirmed as seeing demand levels pushing Nokia’s production facilities to the max! Helping this in the US has been an extremely incentivized launch price on contract, under that of competing top-end devices on Android and iOS platforms. Prior polls at WPDownUnder have also confirmed extraordinarily high interest levels by our readers, over and above any other Gen2+ Windows Phone handset.
Meanwhile the Lumia 610, arguably a more important device for Nokia in many markets – including Australia – is an entry-level device which extends the Lumia range into lower price brackets and broader consumer reach.
With the only non-amoled (correction – the 710 is also non-amoled) screen currently in the Lumia range, it also features a slower CPU, reduced memory – but still runs the Windows Phone OS, launching with the forthcoming Tango update specifically to accommodate lower-spec handsets. With the potential to bring Windows Phone into the pre-paid device price range – and extend retail into major outlets like BigW, K-Mart, Target etc - the Lumia 610 with its price-to-features offering may well be an enticing option for those taking-up their first smartphone offering better value than most Android devices in its price bracket.
Being Melbourne based and not attending the Nokia event - we thought we would share what we know, and what we suspect will be announced tomorrow:
- The device will be available as one model – capable of multi-band NextG/3G on any Australian Carrier (ie 850/900Mhz WCDMA 3G in the one unit unlike the Lumia 710 and 800 before it).
- We expect the Lumia 610 will be announced on VODAFONE for launch, and probably TELSTRA as well.
- We do not anticipate it being ranged by OPTUS – and are not sure on VIRGIN (probably also a no).
- The RRP for the Lumia 610 should land around the $299 mark. The 710 launched at $379, and sells outright for just under $330 – a discount off RRP of around 13.5%. This should see the Lumia 610 hit around the $250 outright sell price, or even lower if pushed hard by the retail channel.
- The device will also be available as one model – capable of multi-band NextG/3G on any Australian Carrier (ie 850/900Mhz WCDMA 3G).
- Importantly, the Lumia 900 Australian model will be a HSPA+ device, capable of the highest 3G speeds possible (depending on carrier technology) in Australia. It will not be sold as, or work on the new (limited coverage) 4G 1800Mhz bands with local carriers.
- We expect the Lumia 900 will be exclusively announced on the OPTUS network for launch.
- Furthermore, we believe that this device will be a “flagship” device for OPTUS, who will simultaneously or shortly thereafter announce the switching-on/launch of their HSPA+ network availability for East Coast Australian capital cities following on from the earlier trial in Newcastle.
- We are of the firm opinion that TELSTRA will NOT range the Lumia 900. On the surface, it appears their focus is in pushing 4G 1800Mhz capacity and relieving some of the arising 3G 850 Mhz congestion issues they have seen with the rapid growth in their mobile smartphone device segment.
- Our guesstimate on the RRP for the Lumia is to land on or a little over the initial Lumia 800 launch RRP of $699 – leading to a street outright price of a just over the $600 mark (the Lumia 800 is now regularly seen around the $500 mark).
Another tip for readers – with this much time now lapsed waiting on the Lumia 800/710 firmware/software update from Nokia to enable Tethering/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) support – WPDownUnder think we will be waiting a little longer. With carriers reluctant to test and support regular device updates, it’s probably a fair bet that this functionality will now not role out unitl the Tango update hits existing devices. Our bet, this will be announced/launched by MS in June. So if this is a drop-dead feature for you, you may be waiting another 4-6 weeks…
So there you have it. Some knowns and some unknowns, but guesses at what might be confirmed by Nokia in Sydney tomorrow. If you are at the event, and have some news or confirmation – make sure you give me a shout out via Twitter or comments here to prove us wrong or right.
And of course, to quote a power-broker and intellectual – former advisor to the most powerful position in the world:
“We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don’t know”