T-Mobile's Lumia 521 highlights Microsoft's attempts to boost share

The Lumia 521 went on sale on the Home Shopping Network (HSN) last week, and has already sold out, according to Reuters. The device highlights attempts by Windows Phone proponents to take the smartphone platform mainstream.

Lumia 521 Nokia T-Mobile

Lumia 521

The Nokia (NYSE:NOK) phone, running Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone operating system and selling through T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) for an unsubsidized price of $150, will be available at Microsoft retail stores and Walmart on May 11. The Lumia 521 will be available with Walmart's exclusive T-Mobile no-contract $30 per month unlimited Web and text plan. The data-centric plan offers offer to 5 GB of data on T-Mobile's HSPA+ network, unlimited texting and 100 voice minutes with a charge of 10 cents per minute beyond that.

"There is an opportunity for us to offer a very high-quality device in the mainstream," Terry Myerson, the corporate vice president of Microsoft's Windows Phone division, said at Microsoft's campus last week, according to Reuters. "That's where we've made progress in the last couple of months and it's a strategy we'll continue to explore in the United States."

Microsoft has been trying to move the needle on its market share, especially in the United States, but only has 3.2 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, according to comScore. Microsoft has said Windows Phone has done better in foreign countries such as Mexico and Poland, where it has 20 percent share, and the United Kingdom, where it has almost 7 percent.

Reiterating comments he made last month at AllThingsD's D: Dive Into Mobile conference, Myerson said Windows Phone has fared better in markets where carrier subsidies do not play such a large role in the phone market.

"AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon  (NYSE:VZ) have been great partners," said Myerson. "But where the market dynamics are different, and where the operators play a different role, we have done better."

"It (subsidization) is a compelling business model for them. If you are Samsung, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), AT&T or Verizon, it's where everything's working, you are growing share, you are growing profits," said Myerson added. "If you are an incumbent with a successful business model, you're not going to be jumping to throw it out."

T-Mobile will start selling the Lumia 521 soon through its own channels but has not provided pricing or availability. The Lumia 521 runs on Windows Phone 8 and offers a 1 GHz dual-core processor, 8 GB of internal memory that can be expanded, a 4-inch touchscreen display and a 5-megapixel camera with auto focus and 720p HD video recording. The gadget also includes Nokia applications such as Nokia Music, Cinemagraph, Creative Studio, Panorama, Smart Shoot and HERE Drive, Maps and Transit.

In other Windows Phone news, the company has partnered with contextual app search startup Quixey to produce a "Switch to Windows Phone" app in Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play store, an official app aimed at Windows Phone evangelism. The app produces a report on what portion of the device's Android apps are available as "Windows Phone equivalents" and then lets users sign in with a Windows account to save the list to the cloud. Through Quixey's app search technology, Switch to Windows Phone recommends the same or similar apps found on the original device which can then be downloaded from the Windows Phone Store.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this AllThingsD article
- see this ABC News article

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