Microsoft has begun teasing the first Lumia smart phone that will bear its name and logo. But a quick analysis of the supplied image—and some good work from fellow bloggers—has revealed that this new device will be a low-end Lumia 735 derivative and not the flagship handset that Windows Phone enthusiasts have been waiting for. Do we really need yet another low-end Lumia?
There's not a lot of official info yet. But a new post to Conversations by Nokia provides the shot seen at the top of this page, plus the line "Microsoft is delivering the power of everyday mobile technology to everyone." That suggests a low-end or mid-level device, not a flagship.
And the image itself is easily compared to current Lumias like the 530, 635, 735 and 830. And the one it most resembles—is in fact basically identical to, aside from that front-facing camera—is the 530. Here's a photo of that device, and you can hopefully see that it has the same basic body and shell.
So a 530 with a front-facing camera?
Maybe. Based on information from two fellow Microsoft bloggers—Daniel Rubino and Tom Warren—it appears that this device will be marketed as the Lumia 535 and will include the same basic internals as the Lumia 735—including the cameras—but with a lower-end (but bigger) screen. In other words, it's as the Lumia 625 was to the 620, a bigger, low-end phone.
A page on a China-based blog has leaked the following specs:
Processor. 1.2GHz, presumably the same Snapdragon 400 found in the Lumia 735
Screen. 5-inches, 1280 x 720, TFT
RAM. 1 GB
Storage. 8 GB, with microSD
Color shells. Black, white, gray, blue, orange, blue, green
SIMs: Dual-SIM with GSM and WCDMA
In short, nothing spectacular. And nothing that even slips into the "affordable flagship" territory of the Lumia 830.
Everyone reading this site understands that Microsoft is pushing the low-end of the market because this is where it's seen the most success. Its last several flagships—the Lumia 1020, 1520, Icon and 930—were all spectacular handsets but none saw widespread success in the market. But the issue here is that there is a generation of users on the Lumia 920—which was quite successful thanks to its broader distribution—who are now coming off contract and are looking for an upgrade. And with the exception of a few markets in which both the 920 and 930 were sold—there's no viable flagship choice for these most enthusiastic of customers.
This is a problem.
And while I understand that the market for a high-end flagship Windows Phone is small, Microsoft still needs at least a few current devices that enthusiasts can use to show off what's possible to others. An aspirational device. A Lumia 1020 follow-up with a stunning camera but better performance. A 1520 follow-up to address the phablet market. And a Lumia Icon/930 follow-up to address the 5-inch sweet spot with a device that isn't a brick. These updates need to happen sooner rather than later.
Like any Windows Phone enthusiast, I am of course interested in seeing the first Microsoft-branded Lumia. But I'm far more interested in seeing a device that will compare favorably to the iPhone 6 or the current Android flagships. And I suspect many of you are as well.