Regulars here know that I love the Windows Phone UI. It is neat, uncluttered, elegant and smooth. I really do. But as you also know,

Low-cost Windows Phone smartphones for emerging markets?

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Nokia 610

Regulars here know that I love the Windows Phone UI. It is neat, uncluttered, elegant and smooth. I really do. But as you also know, I don’t stick my head in the sand about issues.

I was reading an article this morning in which the writer suggested that Nokia’s lower-cost 610 smartphone, a Windows Phone device, “seems perfectly suited for emerging markets.” That took me aback. You see, for the life of me, I don’t see how that makes sense.

Windows Phone devices don’t support microSD cards, a feature that is vital to copying and saving apps, music and videos stresslessly in emerging markets.

It doesn’t support Bluetooth file transfer for the above too.

It is dependent on a PC or internet access for all sorts of file transfers. Many people in emerging markets have no access to PCs. The same people cannot afford expensive data plans. Let’s not talk about the speed and stability of the internet connections.

As affordable as BlackBerry Complete plans are to some of us at N1,500 monthly, lots of people who own BlackBerries actually scrape and beg to get their subscriptions renewed. You want people in emerging markets to depend on SkyDrive to transfer music and video to and from their phones?

Is someone smoking pot?

Let’s call a spade a spade: Windows Phone is good, but just as niche and as elitist as iOS. Only a small percentage of people – be it in the emerging or the fully emerged (whatever that means) market – will own them and be able to maximise them.

Saying that devices like that – even a fairly affordable one like the Nokia 610 – seem perfectly suited for emerging markets is perfect bollocks.


  1. Saying that devices like that – even a fairly affordable one like the Nokia 610 – seems perfectly suited for emerging markets is perfect bollocks.

    That about sums it up. A smartphone with price in the neighborhood of N40,000 is not good for the emerging markets and when you factor in other limitations like the ones mentioned above, you realize that it is simply a poor option for people on this side of the planet.

    With that price, you can purchase a very capable mid-range Android phone, running an uncompromised version of Android 2.3, with all the regular file transfer option and will truly be your device right from day one. Android is the only thing that is close enough to the Symbian OS in terms of communication, connection and file transfer options and still wears a modern look. Blackberry to some extent too, only Blackberry is also expensive and is just not my device.

  2. Spot on, Mr. Mo…someone definitely has their facts twisted. In these markets where the usage of microSD cards over shoots that of portable USB drives its naivety to assume that cloud storage is affordable, at least not in the near future.

  3. am i right in saying the Nokia 808 PureView is the last symbian smartphone from Nokia?? If i am right then we have a really tough decision in our hands for the midrange for symbian fans like eyebeekay and co..just one simple option an android midrange along with expensive data or a blackberry. Yet this two platforms will take a while for die hard symbian users to adapt too. Thats the only way forward. One question will there be midrange BB10 devices??

  4. I have often wondered just how many people really do NEED anything more than a featurephone? I mean in the emerging markets.?

    I would hazard a guess that MOST people lugging about their expensive extra_capable superphones neither know ,(nor care)) what an mp3 or JPEG file is, or what an ebook is all about! Or what a file system / bluetooth transfer entails.

    Phones are often fashion accessories.

    A fluid, buttery smooth NokiaWindowsPhone, at the right price point (is $250 too high?) may sell well In the emerging markets – DESPITE the highlighted deficiencies.

    It is all about the brand (Nokia is trusted), pricing, coupled with the ‘cool factor’. Especially tje cool factor.

    Saying the Nokia Lumia 610 is great for the emerging markets may not be SO MUCH (Sandra_)bUllock – after all…;-)

    It would be interesting to research the AVERAGE cost of phones bought by Nigerians. It may just shock us to find that people probably spend more to ‘ belong’ – than on the more tangible things of life! Not owning a car, but lugging about a N110k Galaxy Note? *smh*

  5. @Eye.Bee.Kay:

    You have some point there but one thing is that awareness is increasing. A female friend last weekend told me how she was frustrated the previous week when she and a couple of her friends needed to forward there CVs to one recruiting firm. Her friends, toting BB devices didn’t waste time in forwarding there CVs while she, using a Nokia C3 an equally capable device had to run around looking for a cybercafe to submit hers.

    She almost picked a BB device at N4x,000 after the incident but for discouragement from a guy. She was examining my Android device and enquiring of the price while also asking for my advice for a choice of phone for her.

    I told her that I believe her phone is capable of sending and receiving mails with attachment but she wouldn’t know, so I requested to take a look. While I was trying to configure her mail, she got a chat alert from WhatsApp messanger. I gave back her phone so she could respond to the message but she took a brief look and gave it back to me saying she is already getting exasperated with the whole thing. I now asked her why she would going for a BB device if she is not interested in instant messages. Well, for her she just to be able to handle her mails without going to a cybercafe and also browse and do Facebook occasionally.

    So, her present device meets those needs only her ignorance wouldn’t let her enjoy the mail sending part with attachment.

    I of course configured her mail and made clear that BB is only a good option if she is interested in pinging. Not very accurate but not far from the truth.

  6. The level of awareness for most people is still small though like harry pointed out. But I don’t think windows phone is that ‘cool’ like eyebeekay is making it to sound. Nokia themselve is not helping matters cause we don’t have WP7 devices here officially already.

  7. Eye_Bee_kay:

    You do not own a car. You do not own a Galaxy Note. Do not be bitter with those people with a Note who does not have a car.

  8. @manokito must be psychic – he knows who owns / does not own what.

    True hilarity!

  9. @ Eye.Bee.Kay, a phone is more important (and more affordable) to me than a car, so that analogy falls short. I don’t need a car when I can utilise public transport 🙂

    However I do agree; too many people have mobile phones as a status symbol to pose with and, as Harry has illustrated, often under-utilise them.

    As for Windows Phones, I will point out again that these devices and OSes are not designed with Third World countries in mind. Once you see “cloud storage”, “no MicoSD slot” and my favourite, “built-in battery” (not applicable to this phone incidentally), move on – unless you want to pay extra for the privilege. Even then, some apps cannot/will not run on the Nokia Lumia 610 so you’d better be aware of what you’re buying into. 256MB of RAM can only do so much.

    The idea of the Lumia 610, to my understanding, was to introduce a lower/budget price Windows Phone device, potentially to try to get more people onto the Windows Phone wagon. But ZTE and Huawei are also coming out with lower-end, lower spec WP devices potentially running Tango (the cut-down version of Mango). I’d guess you’re probably paying for the name in Nokia’s case.

  10. a phone is more important (and more affordable) to me than a car, so that analogy falls short.

    If someone uses a N100k phone and jumps from Molue from Molue (not from choice), that person needs HELP!

    Siri-ously !!!

    Surely there are cheaper phones for that person’s social standing?

  11. “If someone uses a N100k phone and jumps from Molue from Molue (not from choice), that person needs HELP!

    Siri-ously !!!

    Surely there are cheaper phones for that person’s social standing?”

    @Eye.Bee.Kay, the last three words in your statement speaks volumes.

    Does everyone who owns a N100k phone and no car do so for social standing? Is everyone’s phone a reflection of their social standing?

    I can’t speak for them because I don’t move in those kind of circles (runs off to find out how much her phone and social standing is worth!)

  12. I personally believe nokia is confused. Badly. Look at the 701 its 45 at my location the cheapest this phone will be when it gets here is 45k. When people take a simple look the will dump it and move on most illiterates mobile wise ask people before choices are made trust me I have gotten calls from friends asking which is better or is it friends that would tell me how much the have and how they want the phone to look and I’ll give them a list of what is good for them and then they would just buy what tops the list. I digress
    Nokia has blundered 40k is big money here real big not to talk of the now thriving market of second hand. Nokia is dreaming I tell you.
    Ps all they need do is bump the ram from 256 to 512 and watch the flood gates open. As simple as that.

  13. @good – it seems a lot of these companies think N30k and upwards is “affordable” in emerging markets and developing countries.

  14. Is someone smoking pot? yes ELOP is
    @Noni just leave them,them no they hear word.
    Two years ago I told a nokia rep that if nokia does
    not come up fast with dual sim phones,the like of
    Tecno etal will disgrace them.
    Samsung listened, to pocket goes for 18k5h.Now thats
    an affordable real smartphone!

  15. I wish I could lay my hands on a list of 101 things you cannot do with WP. Let them price the lumia at 20k, it won’t still be able to compete with other phones in its range that are more capable.

  16. I do not even care. I have a 2011 Honda Civic and an iPhone 4s. Bashing those with a flagship phone without a car is just pure nonsense. And phones should not determine your social status. If that is the case, then EyeBeeKay would be at the bottom of society with his phone.

    I see lots of people with an iPad and they do not really care if they do not have a car. They are enjoying the device and that is all there is to it. You are a bitter individual Mr. EyeBeeKay. If you are poor, do not judge others based on your nonsense opinion.

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