Final Lumia Phone Tipped For February 1st Unveil As Surface Phone Waits In Wings

Could it be the end of the line for Microsoft’s (and formerly Nokia’s) Lumia brand of smartphones? According to a new report, the upcoming Lumia 650 will be the last smartphone to wear the Lumia branding.

The Lumia 650 will reportedly be unveiled on February 1st, and there will likely be little fanfare whatsoever for what could be the end of the Lumia line. Microsoft is expected to announce the smartphone via low-key blog posting, which sounds about right considering that the Lumia 650 doesn’t look like much of an improvement over last year’s Lumia 640.

lumia 650
Microsoft Lumia 650 [Image Source: Evan Blass]

The rumored specs of the Lumia 650 (RM-1152) include:

  • 5-inch 720p display
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 SoC
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB internal storage
  • microSD slot
  • 8MP rear camera
  • 5MP front-facing camera
  • 2000 mAh battery (compared to 2500 mAh for the Lumia 640)

But if the winding down of the Lumia brand seems like a downer for longtime fans, at least take solace in the fact that it will likely be replaced by an in-house developed ‘Surface Phone’ — a Windows 10 Mobile smartphone developed by the Panos Panay-led Surface team. Late last month, Microsoft Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela confirmed that such a smartphone was in the works, revealing that it is a “breakthrough” device that will be the “spiritual equivalent” of devices like the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. Given the design pedigree of those two tablets, there’s plenty of reason to be excited.

Microsoft has come under fire for the polycarbonate construction of its flagship Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, when other iOS and Android flagships use more premium aluminum unibody designs. The Lumia 650 somewhat rectifies this with a metal band that runs around the perimeter of the device and a Surface Phone would further ratchet the “desire factor” for Windows 10 Mobile devices.

But is all of this Surface Phone hoopla for naught? Microsoft’s share of the smartphone market stands at a mere 2.8 percent according to comScore (1.7 percent according to Gartner), and CEO Satya Nadella recently stated that this share is “unsustainably low.” And it’s almost as if Nadella is already throwing in the towel, as he is touting Microsoft’s strengths in services rather than Windows 10 Mobile as compelling alternative to iOS and Android.

If you think of this more like a graph, these [devices] are all nodes,” said Nadella in an interview earlier this month. “Sometimes the user will use all of these devices … sometimes they’ll use only one or two of our devices and some other platforms — so be it. But we want to make sure that we are completing the experience across all of these devices.”