Skip to main content

Microsoft plans sub-$200 Windows tablets and smartphones

Microsoft is ready to drop the price of its Windows Phone devices below the $200 [£119] mark as it takes the fight to Android for smartphone and tablet marketshare.

Related: Android and iOS still dominating the smartphone market

The company’s OEM partners are expected to drop the price of tablets and smartphones in certain markets across the world, which are yet to be announced by the firm.

“We’ll reach price points that are very industry competitive for 7, 8, 10in devices,” said Microsoft VP Nick Parker whilst speaking to reporters after his keynote at Computex, according to the Wall Street Journal. “They will really surprise you. Last year, we were in the 3s, 4s, 500 dollars. This year, we’ll be 1s, 2s, 3s.”

It is a move that is a result of Microsoft deciding to scrap charging for Windows on devices smaller than 9in and in that sense reflects the strategy adopted by Google from the start when it comes to Android.

In addition to giving away the software on certain devices it has also relaxed certification requirements for mobile devices, contacted new manufacturing partners and made a number of other moves in order to fuel the development of Windows smartphones and tablets.

Parker didn’t state whether the Windows freebie offer will be a permanent strategy or if it will return to charging for it in the near future, though he did state that Microsoft has found other ways to generate revenue apart from Windows licensing fees. This includes a “freemium” model for Skype and Office 365’s subscription feature that means users rent the software for a year instead of paying out for it initially.

Figures released by IDC showed that, despite unprecedented growth, Windows Phone will still have just a 3.5 per cent share of the smartphone market by the end of 2014 and this will only rise to 6.4 per cent by 2018.

Related: Android and Windows Phone make market share gains on rivals

It’s a similar story in the tablet market as it accounted for under four per cent of the market last year and the cheaper prices are an obvious attempt to address both of these figures.