Instead, said O'Donnell, Microsoft can use the hype around Windows 10's debut later this year to promote a flagship Lumia. "When Windows 10 is ready, then bingo, out comes [a flagship]. That's just smart."
Microsoft's strategy — which has been predicated on handing out free OS licenses to ODMs and thus focusing on the low end — is a "long-term play," added O'Donnell, making for another reason not to rush out a top-tier device.
That strategy may ultimately fail, but realistically it's what Microsoft has at hand. "Even long term they're going to have a hard time with the utter dominance of Android and iOS," O'Donnell continued. "If they get to 8% to 10%, which I think they can, that would be huge for them. But I don't know that that's getting them anywhere near the level of really competing [with Android and iOS]."
Nor are the Lumia 640 and 640 XL the placeholders some see them as, argued Rubin. "These 'step-up' smartphones are where Microsoft is seeing the most sales," he said, using a label for low-priced devices attractive to first-time smartphone buyers moving up from feature phones. "They're beefing up that step-up range, something the larger [5.7-in.] display [of the Lumia 640 XL] lends itself to."
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