With any luck, we should be seeing cheaper WP7 phones in the next year. Earlier phones typically cost as much as $400 to actually produce, with contracts taking a chunk out of that when it gets to you. By working directly with parts manufacturers, Microsoft is trying to drive production costs below $200. Some of the new Mango phones are already close to that mark. Somewhat saddening in this revelation though is that Microsoft is working solely
with Qualcomm to provide chips for phones:
Microsoft works exclusively with Qualcomm to develop chips that power handsets using its system, allowing it to specify technical details to ensure devices run more smoothly, the executive said.
There is currently no plan to work with other semiconductor makers for Windows Phone 7 devices, he said.
That means, for the time being anyway, no Nvidia, which means no Tegra. Anyone with an Zune HD should be able to tell you how much they love their Tegra chips.
Now of course, lower production costs don't always equal lower cost to the consumer, but if Microsoft really wants to take a chunk of the market, that's what they'll push their partners to do. Having a phone lineup that is both feature-rich and affordable should make a difference when it comes time to look at the market share. Here's hoping!
[Bloomberg via WPCentral]