While I will admit the Lumia 900 exceeded my expectations since it first hit the North American mobile market in April, it nevertheless looks to be quickly heading towards the same end as all the rest of its Nokia flagship brethren…irrelevance. But before we all forget about the name Lumia 900, AT&T is making one last ditch effort to get people locked into a long term contract with the Windows Phone 7 device by offering it at half price.
Starting this week the Lumia 900 will cost $49.99, down from the $99.99 price tag it had when it was first released. On the face of it this drastic price reduction seems to be great for consumers—although not so great for Nokia—as very rarely do we see such flagship smartphones available at such an affordable price point.
As one might expect, however, there’s a hitch, and its one we’ve seen before. In the months leading up to a huge release, this one being Windows 8, carriers are known for offering the previous generation of the device in question at a reduced price; the goal, of course, to lock customers into a contract on a device that will be all but obsolete in two months.
It’s a strategy carriers have mastered, particularly with more recent non-upgradable generations of the iPhone, luring unsuspecting customers to the latest popular smartphone, locking them into a two or three year contract, only to have the next generation of the device unveiled a few short weeks later. It’s nothing more than a last ditch attempt at sales, and it’s a strategy customers should be wary of.
In regards to the Lumia 900—and all other Windows Phone 7 devices for that matter—the issue rests firmly on the fact that there’s no upgrade path available from the phone’s platform to the soon-to-be-released Windows Phone 8, meaning that when WP8 hits the market, WP7 will be all but forgotten.
But marketing tricks aside, I have to think that such a drastic price reduction on the Lumia 900—and the consumer backlash such devices will receive once everyone realizes there’s no upgrade path—will almost certainly destroy Nokia in the North American market.
As I’ve written before, the Lumia 900 was Nokia’s Hail Mary, its last shot at making a lasting name for itself in our ultra-competitive smartphone market. Clearly in a difficult position, the Finnish mobile company put substantial resources into this project, knowing both that it had to get a WP7 phone to market after its splashy marketing campaign last year and that soon the platform would be irrelevant; truly a no-win situation.
While some might argue that Nokia will simply roll out a WP8 phone and continue on in the North American market, I simply don’t see that happening (at least I don’t see it being a success). You see, with WP7 soon being put to pasture, there’s no question Lumia 900 owners will be more than a little frustrated, meaning Nokia will burn through any goodwill it managed to earn with the millions of dollars it invested in generating hype around its WP7 flagship phone. Thus, even if Nokia rolls out a WP8 device early next year, I doubt anyone will care, simply because the name Nokia will once again be synonymous with failure.
That being said, if you care little for cutting edge technology or ongoing device support, the Lumia 900 is actually a decent phone, meaning this may in fact be the deal for you.