Nokia quietly slashed the price of its flagship Lumia 900 Windows phone nearly in half at AT&T stores over the weekend but insists the move was simply a "normal" repositioning of the three-month old smartphone in the market.
The price cut from $99 to $49.99 came on the heels of Microsoft's announcement in June that Windows Phone 7 handsets like the Lumia 900 won't be upgradeable to the Windows Phone 8 operating system the software giant will release later this year.
The Windows Phone 8 news was seen as a disaster for the Lumia 900, with many observers wondering how Nokia would convince people to buy a smart phone that will never get Microsoft's slick next-gen handset OS (though it does get Windows Phone 8's new start screen and "live tile" interface via the Windows Phone 7.8 upgrade Microsoft has put together).
The Finnish handset maker, on hand for Microsoft's unveiling of Windows Phone 8 last month, isn't saying whether the "Osborning" of its phone was the motivation for the price cut.
"This move is a normal strategy that is put in place during the life cycle of most phones. [It] allows a broader consumer base to buy this flagship device at a more accessible price," Nokia spokesman Doug Dawson told The Wall Street Journal.
Perhaps. It's true that handset makers, with the notable exception of Apple, routinely adjust the pricing of their products. Meanwhile, Nokia's recently commissioned survey of U.S. customers found that 96 percent of Lumia 900 owners are extremely or somewhat satisfied with their device, and 95 percent would recommend it. Eighty-three percent said their expectations of the device were exceeded.
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It's not entirely shocking that a Nokia-commissioned study found that people love the Lumia, but the findings are consistent with responses from PCMag's Readers' Choice Awards.
The Lumia 900 is now available on AT&T's website for $49.99 in blue, white, black, or the recently released pink with a two-year contract.
The smartphone features a 4.3-inch screen and packs a 1.4-GHz processor along with an 8-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss lens.
Microsoft, struggling to make a dent in the mobile market according to recent market share data from Nielsen, is pinning a lot of hopes on Windows Phone 8. The company's aging Windows Mobile platform actually outpaced the newer Windows Phone at 3 percent vs. 1.3 percent last month. And despite Microsoft's close ties to Nokia, most Windows Phone users are using Samsung or HTC devices, both capturing 0.5 percent to Nokia's 0.3 percent.