Nokia’s continuing strategy: Push deep into the cheap →

Ars Technica’s Lee Hutchinson:

Nokia is expected to announce a lineup of low-cost handsets at [Mobile World Congress] next week. The new devices are expected to include several inexpensive feature phones targeted at developing markets—which are currently dominated by companies like Huawei (which is in the process of opening a new R&D facility right in Nokia’s backyard). Also on the list is at least one (and more likely two) lower-priced Lumia smartphones, which will run Windows Phone 8.

What’s interesting about this—in some ways—is that it suggests that most of the new devices won’t be Windows Phone. Since Nokia seems to be “done” with Symbian, that means they’ll likely be running S40, the Java ME-based OS that Nokia still develops.

This is the biggest advantage that Android has over both WP and iOS: it’s not only free, but you can take an older version of it and slap it on cheap hardware, and you’ll be able to sell it as a smartphone — which Nokia doesn’t refer to its S40-based phones as. Apple’s approach to getting into this market so far has been to discount older hardware, but in markets where most or all phone purchases are unsubsidized, an iPhone 4 is still expensive. (The US price appears to be $350.) Windows Phone 8, though, doesn’t have older hardware to discount, and its requirements are pretty steep.