Part of the reason everyone’s so excited to see what Nokia brings to the Windows Phone table is that we’ve heard the manufacturer will put a focus on producing some very affordable WP7-running models, some targeted for release in markets where the operating system has yet to make appreciable penetration. Just how cheap are we talking, though? Microsoft’s Andy Lees recently discussed the state of WP7 hardware, and offered some insight into what such devices may cost.
According to Lees, we’re about to see Windows Phone smartphones reach a point where they’re costing roughly half as much to produce as they did when the platform first launched. That means that in a few months, hardware will be coming out that has cost its manufacturer somewhere in the area of $220 to make. Lees doesn’t mention Nokia by name, but that’s immediately where our thoughts go when we’re talking future, cheap WP7 gear. We’ve already heard that such devices may arrive with the release of the next Tango update, and the recent rumor we heard of support for devices with lower-res 480×320 displays seems to support that idea. Lees says that the plan is to break the $200 mark.
Of course, cost to manufacture doesn’t directly translate to retail cost, but the implication is that we’ll see prices drop. That could mean affordable off-contract devices in markets where pre-paid lines are popular. While Microsoft stands to make less money in such an event, as its licensing fees are tied to device pricing, hopefully the volume of sales will balance things out.
As an aside, Lees also mentioned that Microsoft is firmly committed to using Qualcomm chips for its platform, with no plans to support other companies’ silicon anytime soon.