Microsoft’s Lumia 650 is perhaps the most dashing, most tastefully designed Lumia in years. We are looking at a mid-ranger with clean lines and anodised aluminium frame. Launched just after the Windows 10 Mobile flagships, 950 and 950XL, it is a more affordable smartphone in the medium range. However, for all its glitz and glamour, it offers no support for Continuum.
Continuum is what allows you to use your Lumia as a PC when coupled with a monitor and keyboard. Microsoft says that hardware limitations are the reason why the 650 does not offer this functionality. According to them, a Lumia phone requires at least Qualcomm Snapdragon 617, 808 or 810 processors and at least 2GB RAM to be eligible for Continuum.
My take: Microsoft should have given the 650 that minimum. Instead, it has a measly Snapdragon 212 and 1GB of RAM. And here are my thoughts about it.
Lumia 650 without Continuum
Why spend two years and tons of cash developing a new OS that has one outstanding feature that competing platforms do not have and then launch new phones that require breaking the bank to use this new feature?
All that expectation from users; all that time Lumia lovers stood drooling at the new possibilities that Windows 10 was going to bring to them, and then it arrives and the phone that many of them can afford does not have that functionality.
We are talking about a platform that has seen an erosion of marketshare in the last two years now saying to prospective users, “If you want Continuum, you have no choice than to spend N150,000 on the Lumia 950 or N180,000 on the 950 XL.
From a consumer standpoint, chances are that the person who can afford a 950/XL does not need Continuum and will likely never buy those phones for that reason. But think about the millions of people who are aspiring to own a PC. Continuum would be a good sell to them. A Lumia 650 with Continuum would make sense. “Buy this affordable smartphone, and you can also plug it to a keyboard and monitor to use it as a PC”. Bam! Whammy!
I now use Continuum via my Lumia 950 daily in the office as my primary PC. It works great for most tasks. Elroy had a taste of it last week and kept moaning in ecstacy. Continuum is a lovely thing. The Lumia 650 should have been designed to support Continuum. An affordable smartphone that is also a PC. The Lumia 650 without Continuum is a very bad business decision.
The Sad Game of 10s
The budget end is what sustained Windows on mobile all this while and Microsoft is repeating the same mistake that BlackBerry made with BB10 – ignoring the budget market that BlackBerry grew marketshare with.
You should never ignore whatever segment of the market that currently sustains your product. As with BB10, so it is now with Windows 10. Apparently, it is a game of 10s. BlackBerry 10 OS is currently on life support partly because of ignoring the budget market when BB10 came on stream. Right now, it is hard to imagine that not happening to Windows 10 on mobile.
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