Divining Nokia's plans for WP 7.X Lumia handsets
By now we all know that Windows Phone 8 won't be coming to Lumia handsets. While the new Start screen will come with the 7.8 update, the biggest concern is that apps specifically compiled to take advantage of WP 8.0 will not run on 7.8.
Here's what else we know:
- Nokia still needs to continue to push Windows Phone into the low-end range. They have the 610 and 610 NFC now at the low end and they plan to go beyond that.
- Here are some of the apps Nokia promised to bring to Lumia: Angry Birds Space, Words with Friends, Draw Something, PGA Tour, FIFA, Madden NFL, NBA Jam, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR, Mirror's Edge and Yahtzee, enhanced Groupon, Tripdots
- The Windows Phone Marketplace icon has been replaced by the Nokia Store icon in Lumia 610 Tango handsets
- Stephen Elop stated they are receiving "specific support" from Microsoft for low-end handsets.
- Digitimes (grain-of-salt alert) is reporting that WP 7.X will be actively supported even after WP 8.0 comes out.
Here's what I think:
The focus on dual-core and up for WP 8 likely means that Nokia won't be able to use WP 8 for their low-end business. Thus, Nokia will still actively support WP 7.8 as their platform for their low-end segment to compete with Android on the low-end, and to replace their rapidly degrading Symbian business. That likely means a continued push for new apps for WP 7.8 even after WP 8 comes out, especially if Nokia's WP 7.8 handsets reach critical mass internationally.
The biggest fear is that the WP7.8 marketplace will stop growing. I'll say that without any clear indication that WP 8 can be used for low-spec handsets, Nokia will still work hard to grow their WP7.8 handset business and consequently, the WP7.8 store. And I would not underestimate Nokia's capabilities in that regard.