Microsoft has not yet announced the Lumia 650, but the handset is already available for pre-order via a UK based online retailer called MobileFun. Of course, the company has clearly jumped the shark here, but if nothing else the listing does tell us how much the upcoming smartphone will cost.
One of the major criticisms of Microsoft's Windows Phone platform was that it simply lacked the apps that are available on Apple's iOS and Google's Android. However, that is becoming less of a problem as there are now 669,000 apps available on the Windows Store.
Microsoft is holding a media event in New York City on October 4th and the company will likely launch Windows 10 Mobile and the Lumia 950/Lumia 950 XL smartphone flagships. We have been hearing a lot about the 950 devices, including their high end specs and core features, while now we can see what the Lumia 950 will look like.
We are pretty excited about the Lumia 950/950 XL. This handset will be the first flagship Microsoft has made, the first flagship for the Windows Platform in a long time, and the device that is going to show off what Windows 10 Mobile can do... and we hope that is a lot. This is the time for Microsoft to get serious with software and hardware, and the Lumia 950 XL and Windows 10 Mobile could be the perfect one-two punch.
Microsoft does not have a whole lot of wins with Windows Phone 8. The platform sits a distant third in the market and sales are hardly anything to get excited about and in many cases have stalled. However, if you look into emerging markets Windows Phone is and always has done quite well, ever since Nokia's affordable Lumia's paved a way for the platform in fact.
Windows 10 is set to land on PC's over the coming days and weeks, but we already know that Microsoft's new platform is not going to land on mobile devices for some time. A third quarter date for Windows 10 Mobile's launch has been oft mooted, but now a Microsoft official has said that we could have to wait until the fourth quarter, November to be exact.
I have been saying on these pages for some time that Microsoft's lack of flagship devices on the Windows Phone platform is hurting the company. There are an array of very good (some of the best in fact) budget smartphones on the platform, but in terms of high end handsets there is scant choice. Even the Lumia 930, Lumia 1520, and HTC One M8 are aging and not current flagships, and the lack of high end quality has now been acknowledged by Microsoft's CEO.
Microsoft is going to launch its first Lumia flagship smartphone later this year alongside Windows 10 Mobile, the Lumia 940 (possibly 950). However, the company is not abandoning its budget aspirations, after-all humble handsets are the most successful on the Windows platform. As well as the blockbuster Lumia 940, Microsoft will also roll out a very basic smartphone that will cost $80 or less.
Microsoft has confirmed that it will have a strong presence at the IFA trade show in Berlin, Germany in September. However, the company's press release confirming new products for launch at the event did not specifically mention smartphones. Some outlets are speculating that Microsoft will show off its smartphone even if the company did not name them in the announcement for IFA. However, my source in Microsoft says the company will not announce a new smartphone in Germany, but we will not have to wait long.
In the wake of Microsoft's announcement of over 7000 job cuts and a write off of $7.8 billion the company's CEO has sent an email to employees explaining Redmond's new strategy moving forward. Satya Nadella detailed how the company is deciding to move away from the idea of building a full smartphone company and instead focusing on key devices that best show the Windows platform.