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Nokia has started to ship the second of its first two Windows Phone devices. The Lumia 710 is the cheapest so far, with the first devices going to Singapore, Hong Kong, India and Russia, with further markets in the “coming weeks.”

Nokia says it will sell for USD $360 – which is not inexpensive, but under a carrier contract, it will be significantly cheaper. It’s about half the cost of the higher-end Lumia 800, which is selling for about $625 without any contracts, but still well about the fabled $100 smartphone barrier.

Based on the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango, the Nokia Lumia 710 has social features and access to signature Nokia experiences.

  • A People Hub in Windows Phone displays all call, text, email and social network interactions in an integrated view.
  • Internet Explorer 9 and one-touch Bing search.
  • Nokia Drive delivers a full-fledged personal navigation device (PND) with free, turn-by-turn navigation and dedicated in-car-user-interface.
  • Nokia Music introduces MixRadio, a free, global, mobile music-streaming application that delivers 100s of channels of locally-relevant music. Also integrated in Nokia Music is Gigfinder, providing the ability to search for live local music for a complete end-to-end music experience and the ability to share discoveries on social networks and buy concert tickets.
  • A 5MP camera, lets you take pictures and share on social networks in seconds, even when the phone is locked.

While the Lumia 800 was an important first step for Nokia, it will be the 710 that will be the real test of whether Nokia will be able to move ahead under its traditional business model selling mass-market devices at lower price points, observes Paid Content.

So far, Windows Mobile phones by Samsung, HTC and others have not set the world on fire or made a dent in the Android and Apple smartphone dominance.

Worldwide smartphone sales will reach 468 million units in 2011, a 57.7 percent increase from 2010, according to Gartner. By the end of 2011, Android will move to become the most popular operating system (OS) worldwide and will build on its strength to account for 49 percent of the smartphone market by 2012.

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