Microsoft Devices is reportedly (and unsurprisingly) working on two new high-end Lumia smartphones to support the launch of Windows 10, plugging a hole at the high end of its line.
In the latter days of Nokia’s ownership of the business and into Microsoft’s management of the unit, the focus has shifted to mass-market devices, with much effort put into driving down the entry price to Lumia.
For example, earlier this year it unveiled Lumia 430 Dual SIM, with a price tag of $70 – and the promise it will be upgradeable to Windows 10 (in some form).
Indeed, the last high-end smartphone unveiled in the Lumia line was Lumia 930, which was announced more than 12 months ago.
According to The Verge, Microsoft will rectify this with the launch of two devices which will share similar specifications, but have different-sized screens. They are being readied using two codenames dating back into the history of mobile phones – Cityman and Talkman.
Cityman is mooted to have a 5.7-inch QHD display, Qualcomm octacore processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of ROM, and 20MP main and 5MP rear cameras. It will have a removable rear cover giving access to removable battery and microSD storage slot.
The device referred to as Talkman will have a 5.2-inch QHD display and hexacore processor. Other mooted specifications were the same.
The news that Microsoft is planning a new high-end Lumia device is not surprising. Quite apart from the fact that a high-spec smartphone is important in creating a premium halo over a device portfolio, at Mobile World Congress earlier this year it was promised a Windows 10 device is coming in the “flagship tier”.
In addition, Microsoft was named as a backer of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 processor when the silicon vendor wheeled out supporters following Samsung’s decision not to use the chip. This was said to enable “best in class Lumia smartphones”.
Perhaps the biggest issue is that the news seems to imply that Microsoft does not plan to offer a high-end Lumia device until Windows 10 is available later this year. This suggests it does not believe the current Windows 8.1 can offer a compelling enough experience to win-over customers from Android or iOS, even if the promise of a Windows 10 upgrade is in the pipeline.