Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows Phone hardware partners will produce devices this year that cost less than $200, according to a Microsoft executive, a shift that could lead to an increase in market share for the platform.
"We'll reach price points that are very industry competitive for 7-, 8-, 10-inch devices," Nick Parker, Microsoft corporate vice president responsible for OEM partnerships, said Wednesday at the Computex trade show in Taipei, Taiwan, according to the Wall Street Journal. "They will really surprise you. Last year, we were in the 3s, 4s, 500 dollars. This year, we'll be 1s, 2s, 3s."
When asked to clarify if he was talking about device prices without carrier subsidies, Parker said he was, according to PCWorld.
Parker said some Windows Phone smartphones will sell for under $200 in certain markets this year, though he declined to name which vendors would produce devices at those price points.
Microsoft is working with Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) to bring its lower-end smartphone chips to Windows Phone devices this year, and is also allowing its partners to use Qualcomm reference design chips, which could reduce device costs. Further, new Windows Phone OEM and ODM partners include Foxconn, Gionee, Lava, Lenovo, Longcheer, JSR, Karbonn, Micromax, Prestigio and ZTE. Many of those companies have strong positions in emerging markets like China and India where devices are cheaper than in Western markets.
Windows Phone is still lagging badly in terms of global smartphone market share; research firm IDC thinks the platform will capture just 3.5 percent of the global smartphone market in 2014. However, lower-cost devices, enabled perhaps by Microsoft's decision to drop licensing fees for devices with screens of less than nine inches, could change that.
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this PCWorld article
Microsoft exec hints at new HTC Windows Phone work
Microsoft's Nadella: Despite Nokia hardware purchase, we're a software company
Microsoft may start letting customers upgrade to Windows Phone 8.1 on June 24
Microsoft's CEO defends making Windows Phone free, hints at wearables
Motorola's Moto E, BlackBerry's Z3 take aim at low-cost smartphone market
ARM expects a $20 smartphone to hit the market in the next few months