It’s no secret that Microsoft has at least one more Lumia-branded handset in the pipeline (prior to a possible transitioning of mobile device oversight to the Surface team), the mid-range Lumia 650. In a rare bit of pre-launch disclosure, Microsoft even acknowledged its existence late last month.
Now, thanks to a person with access to a prototype unit of the device alternately referred to by the codenames Saana or Sansa, VentureBeat has been able to confirm its final specifications and retail appearance. Quite frankly, it doesn’t sound, on paper at least, to be much of an upgrade at all to last year’s Lumia 640, nor much of a step up from its lower-tier linemate, the Lumia 550.
To wit, the 650 is said to offer the same five-inch, 720 x 1280 LCD as its predecessor, along with the same 1GB of RAM and eight-megapixel rear camera. Moreover, it features the same quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 system-on-chip as the 550 and, surprisingly, a battery whose 2000mAh alleged capacity is actually less than either the 640 or 550 (one saving grace here is wireless charging functionality).
To its credit, the Lumia 650 was described to VentureBeat as having a very nice fit and finish, appearing even more luxurious in hand than the Lumia 950 variants. However, its entry-level CPU and lack of LTE capabilities (at least in the unit in question) were speculated to hurt the handset in its search for potential customers.
All in all, the 650 feels a lot like what it may well end up being: one of the last Lumia handsets as Microsoft potentially winds down the brand in favor of next-generation devices designed and built by the company’s successful Surface division. It’s an unfortunate situation for Lumia and former Nokia fans, and an especially ugly development for former Nokia employees, scores of whom have already been laid off following the disastrous Devices and Services division acquisition.
The Lumia 650 (but no companion XL variant, it would seem) should hit retail sometime this quarter, although anything more specific than that window is not currently known.