Nokia Unboxes Cheapest Windows Phone Yet To Fight Android: $199 Lumia 510 Runs WP7.5, Targets India, China First

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Nokia has announced its lowest priced Windows Phone to date: the WP7.5 Nokia Lumia 510 replaces the Lumia 610 as the entry level WP handset — with an estimated retail price of $199 (excluding taxes and subsidies). India and China are the initial target markets, starting in November, “followed closely” by other Asia-Pac countries and South America.

The announcement by Nokia of a new device running Microsoft’s older OS, WP7.5 — rather than the high end, forthcoming WP8 platform — is the clearest sign yet Nokia is committed to trying to use Windows Phone as a low-end smartphone platform, either alongside its Series 40 Asha line of devices or perhaps as a future replacement OS. If Nokia does choose to focus its low-end efforts solely on WP7.5, Gartner analyst Roberta Cozza believes that could help Microsoft gain significant smartphone market share in future — predicting WP could gain a fifth of the market by 2016.

The Lumia 510 is still double the price of Nokia’s cheapest full-touchscreen Ashas — which carry a $99 price-tag. Non-touchscreen Asha are cheaper still so WP7.5 has a long way to go to achieve the same deep low end reach as Series 40. But every little bit helps to compete against Android’s sprawling mid-tier.

Gartner’s Cozza told TechCrunch: “It is critical for Nokia at this stage to drive volumes and fill the void quickly they have in their low to mid tier smartphone portfolio and so they need to broaden further the Lumia range. This should enable Nokia to better fend off competitive pressure coming from low-cost Android offerings which are increasing at a very rapid pace in emerging markets. In these markets Nokia has market reach and still a desirable brand, and can offer differentiated and value services.”

Comment on the Lumia 510 launch in a statement, Jo Harlow, executive vice president of Nokia Smart Devices, said: “With the Nokia Lumia 510 we continue to meet our commitment to bring Windows Phone to new, lower price points. People who use Windows Phone quickly realize how much more intuitive it is than other smartphone platforms, and Nokia Lumia is the best embodiment of the Windows Phone experience. With the Nokia Lumia 510 we’re looking forward to welcoming more people into the Windows Phone experience.”

The Lumia 510 has a 4 inch capacitive touchscreen, with a resolution of 800×480 pixels. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon S1 chip, has 256MB of RAM, and 4GB of user accessible memory plus 7GB of free SkyDrive storage (Microsoft’s cloud storage service) — however there’s no Micro SD card slot to expand on-board storage further. On the back is a five megapixel camera. The battery is rated at 1,300mAh.

To bulk out the Lumia 510′s software offerings, Nokia has included a Camera Extras app — to add changeable, digital lens/filters to the camera — plus its Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive and Nokia Transport apps, which are also found on high end Lumias.