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?

Comments

  • Guest

    I always felt like the $50 or $99 price points are silly for smart phone makers to think that they will get newbies…  It’s not the handset price that turns them off… it’s the additional monthly data fees that matter more…  

    • Anonymous

      But in America people would balk at unsubsidized phone prices (like $500-700 upfront) so that initial price tag does matter to them. Just look at all of the free Android handset that are offered on various carriers, I’m pretty sure its not the superior hardware that’s making them fly off the shelves.

      Personally I think it short-sided because the price of the phone is only a small portion of the $2000+ I’ll pay over the life of the contract. In really most people don’t look at that way.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RQLOIADQIKNSW5U5HFAJ4QQ4VA Paul

        What is short sighted? saving money on a phone because you know it’s going to cost you in the long run? That’s the opposite of short sighted.

        • Anonymous

          Its short-side to focus on the upfront cost of the phone when it is only 10-15% of what you are going to pay over the course of a typical 2 year contract.

          So I would focus more on getting a good monthly plan first and then get a phone that I actually want instead of going for the cheapest phone that I will be stuck with for 2 years. Of course there is a slim chance that the cheapest phone (in terms of quality and price) is exactly the phone I would pick over all other /s

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RQLOIADQIKNSW5U5HFAJ4QQ4VA Paul

      Well, those ain’t going to change. So what should a handset maker do? Would it not be silly if they kept their price high?

      Most people might be willing to rationalize $15/m for added functionality whereever you are. But to also pay $399 up front…

      You’re silly.

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