MWC 2012: Nokia’s Lumia 610 is the First Affordable Windows Phone

Nokia’s Lumia 900 and 808 PureView may have headlined the company’s press conference at Mobile World Congress this morning, but the new Lumia 610 could prove to be the most important device release of the day.

While the Lumia 710 may have been badged ‘affordable,’ it’s still a fully-fledged Windows Phone suited to those with at least some experience of smartphones, and for Nokia and Microsoft to build market share, they need an even more competitively priced handset.

Here it is, then, the Lumia 610, a budget Windows Phone for younger buyers or those wanting to take their first steps into the smartphone world. Sensibly though, Nokia hasn’t reigned in the spec too much, so the 610 remains desirable, despite the low price-point.

The screen measures 3.7-inches and has the normal Windows Phone 800 x 480 pixel resolution, plus a 5 megapixel camera with 720p video recording and an LED flash sits on the rear panel. It has 8GB of internal storage, Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS and an FM radio too.

In order to offer the Lumia 610 at a lower price, Nokia has changed the processor to an 800MHz Qualcomm chip and given the phone 256MB of RAM, instead of the more usual 1GHz-plus processor and 512MB of RAM.

Anyone familiar with Microsoft’s basic Windows Phone guidelines will know this falls below the minimum specifications, and although the 610 will still run Windows Phone 7.5 Mango, it’s a special version for phones with 256MB of RAM.

Microsoft say it won’t make any difference to the user experience, however some of the more advanced apps won’t run on these devices, but they’ll all be clearly marked inside the Windows Marketplace so users won’t accidentally download an incompatible app.

Otherwise, the Lumia 610 offers the same software as the Lumia 800 and 900, complete with Nokia Drive, Nokia Music, Nokia Transport and Nokia Maps. The phone itself looks great too, with metallic edges and a choice of several colours.

The SIM-free price of the Lumia 610 is just £160 and it will go on sale during the second quarter of the year.

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