Microsoft OEM partners VP predicts sub-$200 Windows smartphones in 2014

Microsoft's vice president of OEM partners, Nick Parker, said the retail price of Windows Phone smartphones and tablets will become more competitive during 2014, as company initiatives to boost the operating system (OS) begin to bear fruit.

Parker predicted the price of Windows Phone devices with screen sizes of 7-inches to 10-inches will fall from as much as $500 (€367) to between $100 and $300, and the price of some smartphones running the Microsoft operating system (OS) will fall to under $200 in some global markets, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Speaking to reporters after a keynote session at the Computex trade show, which took place in Taiwan this week, Parker said prices will fall as the company steps up its efforts to compete with market leading smartphone OS Android, the Journal reported. The company has made Windows Phone software free for devices with screens up to 9-inches, and has eased certification requirements for mobile devices.

Microsoft is also attempting to attract new device vendors to the Windows Phone fold--a task arguably made easier by the completion of its €5.4 billion (€7.3 billion) acquisition of Nokia's device business, which should remove any concerns about the Finnish vendor receiving preferential treatment.

Sister publication FierceWireless noted Taiwanese manufacturer HTC could be on the brink of launching its first Windows Phone smartphone since late 2012, citing several media reports. The device is tipped to launch in the third quarter of 2014 via Verizon Wireless in the U.S.

Vendors including InFocus Corp, Prestigio, and Yezz all unveiled new Windows Phone devices at Computex, FierceWireless added.

Microsoft is also working on a new brand for its own smartphones, despite having access to the Nokia name as part of the device business acquisition, former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop--who is now EVP of Microsoft Devices Group--said during a question and answer session on Nokia's website in April.

Analysts at IDC recently predicted a solid year for Windows Phone in 2014, provided Microsoft continues to attract more vendors to the OS. The research firm forecast shipments of Windows Phone smartphones will grow 29.5 per cent year-on-year in 2014 to 43.3 million units, and that the momentum will carry through 2015, when shipments will reach 65.9 million units.

However, the 2014 figure falls well short of the 997.7 million Android units IDC predicts will be shipped, and iOS shipments of 184.1 million units.

IDC also predicted the average selling price of Windows Phone smartphones will be $265 in 2014, compared to $254 for Android devices, and $657 for iOS units.

For more:
- see this Wall Street Journal article
- see this FierceWireless report
- see IDC's smartphone shipment forecasts

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