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Samsung Omnia W launches low-cost Windows Mango phone

Vendors hope lower prices will help Windows Phone take off, says analyst

Samsung has launched the Omnia W, its first smartphone based on Windows Phone 7.5, also known as Mango. The phone is aggressively priced at about €310 before taxes and subsidies, following in the footsteps of HTC's Radar.

Part of the reason Windows Phone 7 struggled initially was because products were priced directly against the iPhone, with very high specs, according to Geoff Blaber, an analyst at CCS Insight.

"What we are seeing now is far more aggressive price points with this new wave of Mango-based products, and there is probably a feeling among the manufacturers that they need to price more aggressively to really give the Windows platform a chance," said Blaber.

The Omnia W has a 3.7-inch Super AMOLED screen with an 800 x 480 pixel resolution; it measures 115.9 x 58.8 x 10.9 millimeters and weighs 115.3 grams.

Under the hood, the Omnia W has a 1.4GHz processor and 8GB of storage. Consumers can take pictures with the 5-megapixel camera and access the Internet at up to 14.4M bps (bits per second) over HSDPA (High-Speed Download Packet Access) networks.

The spec is similar to that of HTC's Radar, with the exception of a slightly faster processor on the Samsung device, 1.4GHz compared to the Radar's 1GHz. The Radar is also a little more expensive at about €399 without subsidies.

The launch of new Windows Phone-based products from HTC, Samsung and later this year Nokia's will be important to Microsoft. So far, its smartphone operating system has garnered some positive reviews, but little interest from consumers, according to sales figures from Gartner. While 46.8 million phones running Google's Android were sold in the second quarter, and Apple sold 19.6 million iPhones, fewer than 1.6 million Windows Phone devices were sold to end users in the same period, according to Gartner.

HTC and Samsung are going to want to see some tangible results from their commitment to Windows Phone, according to Blaber. But at the same time they need Windows Phone to balance out a "rather unhealthy" reliance on Android, he said.

"Windows Phone and Microsoft are in a slightly stronger position than this time last year simply by virtue of the uncertainties around Android, particularly following Google's intended Motorola acquisition," said Blaber.

The Omnia W will be commercially available starting in Italy from the end of October and then gradually rolled in Europe, CIS, Latin America, Africa, South East and South West Asia.

The HTC Radar and its bigger brother, the Titan, will start shipping in Europe and Asia in October. On Sep. 21, Microsoft said its plans to start upgrading existing phones "in the next week or two," according to a blog post.

Nokia is expected to launch its first Windows Phone at the Nokia World conference on Oct. 26.

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