This morning AT&T announced the final pricing strategy for Nokia’s Lumia 920 Windows Phone, $99—with a 2-year contract of course. This pricing strategy is identical to that of the Lumia 900, the first Windows Phone Nokia released on AT&T. While the price is beyond competitive and one hell of a deal, especially when you consider the hardware for the price, not to mention, AT&T will toss in a free wireless charging base, but the question that may be on consumer’s minds will be, “why is this smartphone so cheap?”
Now for most of you reading this, you’ll have to think like an average consumer, not someone who’s heavily into tech and has read all about the Nokia Lumia 920. For most people, spending a little more money on quality electronics, be it tablets, PC’s or smartphones is not an issue, case in point, Apple’s new iPad Mini, which costs $70 more than its closest competitor and yet sold over 2 million units (presumably) on its launch weekend. So when an average consumer walks into an AT&T store and sees the Galaxy Note II for $299 and the Galaxy S III and iPhone 5 both at $199, they may begin to wonder why the Lumia 920 is only $99. They also may be uneducated as to what Windows Phone 8 is all about or how easy it is to use. To make matters worse, HTC’s signature Windows Phone 8X’s are priced at $199 and $99 for a 16GB and 8GB model, respectively. So why is one Windows Phone 8 device $200 and another $100? To those consumers, it may be because the Lumia 920 is heavier and thicker and thus, not as cool and sleek as the 8X. Perhaps it’s that many consumer feel that Nokia has lost a step and is no longer relevant, when compared to Apple, Samsung and HTC.
Believe it or not, not every smartphone owner, is well, smart. Many consumers buy what they think is cool or is the “it” phone at the moment. Look at the iPhone, sure it has an amazing build quality and a great display, but there are Android phones with faster processors, bigger screens, NFC, wireless charging and much more, yet iPhones continue to outsell every single Android model. Why? Because they are easy to use, have tons of apps and accessories, Yes. But it’s also because TONS of other people have one and they’ve also become sort of a status symbol. Windows Phone doesn’t have that status and when you sell a Windows Phone—that’s supposed to be a flagship device—at only $99, it comes off looking cheap and inferior to other flagship phones on the market.
I know Nokia is looking to gain marketshare by undercutting their competitors, but seeing how it didn’t work so well for the Lumia 900, you’d think they would have learned their lesson. Nokia needs better advertising, more marketing and they need to have some self respect. They don’t need to whore their flagship phone for only $99. It’s got an amazing display, a phenomenal camera, a smooth and slick interface/OS, it’s gaining apps daily and above all, superb build quality. But at $99, many consumers may just think it’s a bargain level smartphone and who’s going to correct them? The $7.50-an-hour AT&T sales representative who’s probably using either an iPhone or Android smartphone?