A new Windows Phone that debuts Monday isn’t really an attempt to get existing iPhone or Android users to switch. Instead, it’s an effort to get users of standard cell phones to jump up to the Microsoft platform as a way of entering the world of smartphones.
The Samsung Focus Flash, running Microsoft’s well-regarded Windows Phone 7.5, will be sold by AT&T for $49.99 with a two-year contract. Microsoft is aiming the device at people who understand the benefits of smartphones but haven’t yet made the leap.
[Follow-up: Video: Microsoft builds six-story Windows Phone in NYC ]
“We know that segment of the population is really primed,” said Greg Sullivan, a senior Windows Phone product manager.
It’s not a top-of-the-line phone, but the specs are quite respectable, especially for the price. The Samsung Focus Flash comes with a 1.4 Ghz processor, a 5 megapixel camera, as well as a front-facing camera, and a vivid Super AMOLED screen. The storage is 8GB and the screen is 3.7 inches, both on the lower end of the spectrum.
The specs translate into cost savings in manufacturing the phone, but Microsoft’s approach to Windows Phone also plays a role, Sullivan said. “Because we have a consistent platform in terms of the specifications and the guidance that we provide to hardware manufacturers, we’re seeing economies of scale and cost savings,” he said.
CNet concluded that the Samsung Focus Flash “offers excellent value for its modest price, with a zippy 1.4GHz processor, two cameras, and a vivid screen, though the screen’s smallish size and the phone’s middling call quality are detractions.”
Previously on GeekWire: Latest Windows Phone data: Nowhere to go but up … right?