Yesterday’s announcement of the new Lumia 640 and Lumia 640XL seems to have gone over well with many relieved to see a mid-range phone instead of a low-end Windows Phone come to the market. I still contend there needs to be a flagship phone sooner rather than later but that’s a different discussion for a different glass of wine.
One interesting observation though: Verizon was not mentioned at all as a US carrier who will have these new Lumia devices. AT&T will carry both the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640XL while T-Mobile and MetroPCS will carry the Lumia 640. It appears, at least for now, the Lumia 640XL will be exclusive to AT&T which, frankly, it should be given that AT&T has been a supporter of the platform. So you will have the US #2 and #3 carriers with these new budget friendly devices but not the #1 carrier in Verizon.
Given the history of Verizon with Windows Phone however, this shouldn’t come as a complete shock to anyone.
Verizon last year was the only carrier that had the Lumia 930 (Icon) but it took nearly a year before that device saw the Lumia Cyan update which was rolled up with the Lumia Denim update last month. That meant that the Icon sat on Lumia Black well after any other device in the US was updated to Lumia Cyan and some to Lumia Denim. I have pointed out that the whole carrier dependent upgrade process is a mess and there is a way for Microsoft to fix it. The Icon example however from Verizon was beyond ridiculous. Further, Verizon is no longer selling the Icon in their lineup (although you can still find them in stores)
Verizon also had the HTC One M8 Windows Phone as an exclusive for a short period of time but it too has been abandoned from a sales perspective.
Which leads to the new Lumia 640 and Lumia 640XL. It is not surprising that Verizon did not pick these devices up and frankly it is a shame for Microsoft and Windows Phone users on that network. While I fully appreciate that the Lumia Icon is a superior device to either of these new Lumia’s, it offered an opportunity of choice for Verizon customers when it came to Windows Phone. Now, it seems, there is no choice other than to go to another carrier. Equally, I fully appreciate we are talking about the 2% here – the 2% of us who use Windows Phone. It’s not a big number, I get it, but it is a number.
Ultimately though the lack of these new Windows Phones on Verizon is bad for consumers as it doesn’t provide them choice.