Nokia's next flagship device, the Windows-powered Lumia 900, will finally hit AT&T stores on April 8 — for an affordable $99.99 with a two-year contract. Although the new phone is half the price of competitors like the iPhone 4S, it's no slouch: It has a 4.3-inch display (bigger than an iPhone's), an 8-megapixel camera, and will run on AT&T's faster 4G network. The key question, now, is whether the attractive price point will woo customers to Microsoft-powered mobile devices, which have struggled to gain marketshare against heavyweights like Apple's iOS and Google's Android. Will a lower price give the Lumia 900 a fighting chance?
It's possible... but it won't be easy: The Lumia 900 will face "the same challenges that many past Windows phones have struggled to overcome," says Roger Cheng at CNET. For one thing, consumers aren't leaping to choose the young Windows OS over more established systems like iOS or Android. But on the plus side: Previous Windows phones sacrificed higher-end specs for affordability. "The Lumia 900, by contrast, will come packed with some of Nokia's best hardware."
"AT&T to sell Nokia Lumia 900 for $100 on April 8"
And apps are an Achilles heel: The 70,000 apps available to Windows phone users may be "too little, too late," says Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet. Apple's robust App Store has more than 500,000. If Microsoft wants to snag a larger share of the mobile market, it will have to aggressively promote its own apps to compete with popular games and services that aren't available on Windows. Otherwise, Windows is doomed.
"Nokia Lumia 900 to hit AT&T on April 8. But what about apps, updates?"
But the price is so crazy, it just might work: "It is highly unusual for a marquee smartphone to be offered at such a disruptive price," says Tony Bradley at PC World. A $100 price point is typically reserved for older versions of phones that now seem outdated. Hopefully, users looking for a "unique" and "innovative" offering will "give [Windows] some badly needed momentum." The Lumia 900 is certainly a bargain. Perhaps consumers will agree.
"Is the Nokia Lumia 900 the best $99 smartphone at AT&T?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The girl who wouldn't die
- Why so many Christians won't back down on gay marriage
- 13 Urban Outfitters controversies
Subscribe to the Week