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Nokia Expands Windows Phone 8 Selection Down In Price

Barcelona, Spain – Nokia expanded its selection of Windows Phone 8 smartphones with two models designed to be more affordable than current models.

 Neither features 4G LTE, but both have slower 4G 21Mbps HSPA technology, Nokia’s website shows.

 One of the models, the Nokia Lumia 520, will come to the T-Mobile network at an undisclosed future date as the Lumia 521. T-Mobile confirmed its version of the phone will not run LTE.

 In the U.S., Lumia phones are already quite affordable, though with carrier subsidy. AT&T has been promoting a $49 two-for-one deal on one Lumia model.

The 520 is Nokia’s most affordable Windows Phone to date, Microsoft said.  It will initially debut in Hong Kong and Vietnam, and then roll out more broadly in the second quarter to China, India and other markets around the world, Microsoft said.

 The step-up 720 will begin its global rollout in the first quarter and in the second quarter move into additional markets such as China, Europe, Asia, Africa and India. Nokia did not specifically say whether the U.S. is a target market.

 The 520 features a 4-inch 800 by 480 WVGA IPS display with 235 ppi, dual-core 1GHz processor, 512MB RAM, 5-megapixel camera, 8GB of embedded memory, Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n and five color options. The touchscreen responds to fingernail presses and presses from gloved hands. It is 0.39 inches thick and does not have nearfield communications (NFC).

The 520 “pushes the quality and styling of the [Lumia] range down to its lowest price point,” said David McQueen, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media. “It has similar styling to its stablemates and is aimed squarely at those consumers wanting high standards on a low budget.” The phone “borrows Nokia’s styling and differentiated services from those higher-tier Lumias,” he added.

The step-up Lumia 720  features 4.3-inch 800 by 480 display with 217 ppi, 6.7-megapixel camera with 720p HD video capture, 8GB memory, f/1.9 Carl Zeiss lens, dual-core 1GHz processor, 512MB RAM, clip-on wireless-charging cover, NFC for pairing and sharing, and touchscreen that can be controlled by presses from fingernails and gloved fingers. It is 0.35 inches thick and will also be available in five colors.

The 720 “is aimed at the trendy, youthful segment,” McQueen said.

McQueen also noted that Nokia “made the correct decision to take the DNA of the high end of its portfolio down the price tiers rather than launch warmed-up versions of its lower-end products.” The approach, he said, “is sure to attract consumers to the new smartphones and, added to Nokia’s prized differentiated services, will provide an enticing value proposition.” That value proposition, he said, “will undoubtedly be helped by some unique and ingenious marketing used at point of sale which focuses on Nokia’s differentiated technology and services, rather than the platform.”