Probably the most important feature used on a smartphone today is the camera. Sure, gaming is great, but sharing those photos over social media channels is really where the action is at. When rise of Windows Phone, however small it was, it happened when Microsoft was pushing their Lumia 1020, 920, 810 and 925. Three of these devices featured the PureView camera and an amazing photographic experience. The lone “non-PureView” device in the bunch was the iPhone looking Lumia 810.
The 810 by all means was a mid-range handset sold by T-Mobile USA with a price tag that made it seem premium. The $600 price point was tops in the game for T-Mobile, competing with the iPhone and Samsung with all their guns blazing. Still that little engine that could stared them down with it’s 4.3” display and non-LTE radios and hacked away at their market share.
The baby 1.2GHz Dual Core processor had that little guy running fast enough to keep up with anything you could throw at it and the 8GB of internal storage was amplified by an onboard Micro SD slot. But that wasn’t the best part of the Lumia 810, not by a long shot. The 810 featured a camera as close to those PureView monsters as it could, without actually being one. Zeiss lenses, dedicated camera button and the full suite of Nokia software made the 810 a dominant Windows Phone device.
Then just 6 short months later, the device disappeared from stores and fell to $400, then $300, then went EOL on T-Mobile’s website. The 810 was gone and so was the support for it. Since then, the 8xx series hasn’t seen much action. Sure there’s the current release 830, but It’s much more of a stop gap than a serious phone. It was a slightly lesser version of the 930 that filled a space between the 635 and the 930 (that just for the record is still not available in the US).
For Windows Phone (or Windows for Mobile or whatever you want to call it right now) to succeed, Microsoft has to figure out their market. The 5xx series is so saturated that it confuses people. The 630/635/640 debacle has us all frustrated too. Then you throw in the 640XL for good measure and things get even worse. What really needs to happen is a nice defined entry level Lumia 6xx series and that lower cost phablet that is the same device with a bigger body. Then you go to the 8xx series, which is currently filled by the 830, and scale back the specs to lower the price a touch. Finally, you move on to the dreaded conversation of the 9xx series devices.
With a proper 9xx series follow up to the 920/925, the flagship could be re-established. While it may not be the best phone out there, just throwing a $700 device at the market with a stellar camera, simple OS and all thing things that make a Lumia different will at least get people talking again. Come in with a lower spec, but still very strong camera offering in the Lumia 840 at the $300 price point would solidify that with users as well. This would be the type of device that carriers could give away with contracts. Moving downward, the $100 Lumia 640 would fill the gap in the no-contract/replacement phone market just fine.
Right now, there’s just no option to purchase a great Windows Phone for a decent amount of money. Sure there’s the HTC One M8 which I love, but missing out on all of the ‘Lumia Exclusive’ software is a deal killer for many. The 1520 is gorgeous, but it’s too large for way too many people out there, so that’s a niche market as well. For now, your choices in normal sized Lumia’s are limited to the 530, 630 or 830. It’s time to set that bar back to normal and bring back the mid-rage to the mix. Give me that Lumia 810 again. That mid-range is what you need to set apart the higher end and the entry level handsets. Until you get that back in place, confusion will reign.