Smartphone buyers eager to grab the Nokia Lumia 800 face good news and bad news. The Windows Phone handset will reportedly hit the U.S. next Tuesday, but it could carry a price tag of $899.
Citing "sources close to Microsoft's Lumia launch plans," The Verge picked up this latest scoop on the phone (Note: this links to a Google-cached version of the story--the Verge link isn't working for unknown reasons.)
But consumers expressing shock over the price should know that it's for a so-called Lumia 800 "bundle" that includes a Nokia Play 360 Wireless Speaker, Purity HD Stereo Headset, and an in-ear Bluetooth headset, as well as the phone itself.
Microsoft previously confirmed at last month's CES that it would sell an unlocked version of the 800 in the United States sometime early this year. So the lack of a carrier subsidy also accounts for the relatively high price even with the bundled accessories.
Sold through Microsoft's retail stores, the phone will supposedly be geared toward Valentine's Day gift shoppers, The Verge added. But at this point, no plans have been revealed to sell the 800 separately at a cheaper price.
Representatives for both Microsoft and Nokia confirmed to CNET that the Lumia 800 bundle will be available from Microsoft retail and online stores in early February as was announced at CES. Neither confirmed the price.
But if $899 is accurate, the Lumia 800 is off to a poor start right out of the gate.
The option of offering an unlocked phone may tempt people who don't want to be tied down to a single carrier. But the $899 price tag is sure to be a turn-off for most customers, even those who want to score Valentine's Day credits with their significant other.
And consumers who already have or don't need a Bluetooth headset or wireless speaker are sure to pass on this deal.
Even buyers eager for a Windows Phone handset will likely want to wait for the Lumia 900, Nokia's first LTE-enabled Windows Phone device. Carried by AT&T, the 900 is due to make its U.S. debut on March 18 at a price of only $99 with the standard two-year contract.
The 900 is currently available for pre-order through Microsoft. Coughing up just $25 will reserve you a spot to grab the new phone once it's available. But you'll need to travel to one of Microsoft's retail stores to pick it up, a potential deal breaker since only 14 of them are currently open for business around the country.
Updated 9:45 a.m. PT with responses from Microsoft and Nokia.