First Windows Phone 8 devices up for preorder for $100, $150 at Best Buy

First Windows Phone 8 devices up for preorder for $100, $150 at Best Buy

Summary: Best Buy has started taking preorders for the first phones running Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 operating system.

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Best Buy has started taking preorders for Windows Phone 8 devices from Nokia and HTC, starting on October 21. With a contract, the HTC 8X is available for $99.99; Nokia the Lumia 920 for $149.99 (both on AT&T).

htc8xpreorder

The Lumia 920, unlocked, is $599.99. The HTC 8X, unlocked (and available in "California Blue" only, at this point) also is $599.99. There was no information on HTC 8X's availability or pricing on Verizon or T-Mobile (though HTC has said it is coming to both of those networks.) The Lumia 920 is exclusive on AT&T for some unknown period of time. six months, according to a Lumia training video posted to YouTube by WPCentral.

Best Buy's Web site said that the devices were available for preorder online and in stores. That made me crazily -- and foolishly -- hope there might be demo units in the stores, even though the Windows Phone 8 launch, scheduled for October 29, is still a week away.

I went to two Best Buys in Manhattan this afternoon. No Windows Phone 8 devices were anywhere in sight. And no one in the stores seemed to have a date when they would be. They also seemed to have not yet received any Windows Phone 8 training or information beyond in which colors the coming phones might be available.

The reaction from salespeople in both stores when I pulled out my Windows Phone 7 HTC Trophy was one of disbelief. I'm not sure they'd ever seen a Windows Phone 7 user in the wild. I told them I was "one of the three percent." They looked stunned. Retail personnel in both stores enthusiastically encouraged me to preorder Windows Phone 8, but didn't have any information on when I'd be able to get my phone if I did so. I told them I'd prefer to try a phone before I buy a phone.

At one of the Best Buys, a salesperson volunteered that Windows Phone 8 was "Microsoft's last chance at being relevant in the smartphone world."

At both of the Best Buy stores I visited, a few Windows 8 PCs and touch monitors were on display. Users were free to try them out, with some "cheat sheet" navigational guidance (a few sentences) built into the displays. I was one of two people trying out the demo models in one store. I was the only one in the other. It wasn't clear to me that the Best Buy salespeople had yet received much training about Windows 8.

I'm not presenting this anecdotal evidence in an attempt to declare Windows Phone 8 or Windows 8 a failure. But today's field trip did make me realize yet again the big hurdles Microsoft has to overcome with its soon-to-be-available Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 phones and PCs.

Update: A few readers have noted that Best Buy removed late in the day on October 21 the Lumia 920 devices from its preorder page. No word as to why. The HTC 8X is still there, however, and available for preorder.

Topics: Smartphones, Telcos, AT&T, Verizon, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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22 comments
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  • Very Nice Pricing

    For both devices. I guess I'll have to go with the HTC 8X or Lumia 810 because those are the only two good Windows Phones coming to T-Mobile. Though I hope the HTC 8X comes with a Micro SD card slot because 8GB is not going to cut it for me.
    Free From Apple
  • Dropped the ball

    Hey there Mary Jo! Thanks for sharing your experience! I, like others, have been completely underwhelmed by Microsoft's marketing campaign--or at least the influence it's held over consumers. I walked into a Best Buy (Lake Geneva, WI) just this past Friday and asked a sales associate working in the mobile department if they were taking preorders for the 920 and 8X and I got a blank stare. I called a RadioShack this morning to see if they knew when they'd be selling the 8X and 920 and I was put on hold for 5 minutes before she came back and told me no one there had ever heard of those phones.... ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?? How has this gone so terribly wrong?? Anyone who has poked around online about these phones has become EXTREMELY excited, (myself included) but yet none of the companies that are selling these phones come release date even know they exist!
    JustinThomas.co
    • I agree Microsoft is completely clueless

      I realize most companies like working in veils of silence. Look at Apple dodging questions on their also-ran, me-too Mini iPad. What the folks at Microsoft don't realize is they crapped away all their good will in the '90s. In fact, it's amazing how many people outright hate the company. Contrast this to Apple fanboys who will throw away perfectly good products (e.g., an iPhone 4S for an iPhone5) they previously gushed was oh-so-cooler-than-everything-else for the next great Apple iThingy (even if it ain't so great like the me-too, catch-up iPhone 5).

      I can't prove it but it's fairly obvious to me based upon leaks and Microsoft's absolutely bizarre behavior pre Windows Phone big announcement there are some serious bugs in the software they're trying to cover up in a clumsy fashion like Nixon with Watergate. Microsoft has apparently either clamped down on Nokia to not demo their products before the big reveal or the bugs are so sever Nokia is frightened at the prospect of reviewers uncovering them. In any case, this has really hurt early reviews of the Lumia 920. We won't even get into the whole debacle of Microsoft not doing a general release of the SDK. This is pure incompetence. I don't care if they have a big reveal Windows Phone 8 will butter my toast.

      Apple has been able to jump way out in front - yet again - with the iPhone 5 because all we have with the Nokia 920 is mostly promises. Too bad. The limited Engaget and Verge reviews I've seen of the Nokia 920's camera proves it leaves the iPhone 5 in the dust. Completely in the dust!

      I can't blame all the problems on Microsoft. The whole AT&T and Nokia 920 rollout is a farce. They've completely dragged their feet on price and availability. Maybe availability is fogged up by the uncertainty of Microsoft cleaning up buggy code but pricing isn't. No big announcements on AT&T pre-orders or pricing. Just this online debacle at Best Buy. Days after the fact we still don't know why their online ordering is all hosed up and why didn't Nokia make a big announcement on it being available at Best Buy?

      Confused over Best Buy's online behavior, I called a local Best Buy Mobile store and found out they were indeed taking pre-orders as of last Sunday. I was able to pre-order mine without any fuss at my local big box Best Buy store. Curiously, they only have one model - unidentified by color - in their system. I was able to confirm it was the black model which is what I want anyway. The clerks had no clue about the product or the fact it is available in multiple products. Sad.
      sknabt
  • Big Hurtles

    I was at a Tmobile last week asking about their plans ect. I am interested in a Nokia 810 so I was asking about the 710. The sales boy"I won't say person" actually curled his lip and said "Why would you want one of those?!" My reply "I guess I am just a #$%&* jerk now do you have anymore stupid questions." Needless to say this ended the conversation. If someone comes in looking for a certain thing the sale should be a slam-dunk. Why confuse the issue?

    I have had similar interactions with verizon and radio shack. MS has a long uphill climb ahead.......calfee
    calfee20
    • Agreed...

      A sales person's opinion shouldn't enter into the equation when a customer comes in and specifically asks for something by name. I get angry when sales people try to dissuade me from something I want, and on several occasions I've ended up schooling salespeople on products. In fact, I recall doing so with the HTC TITAN last year.
      GoodThings2Life
    • Salespeople work on commission

      It is to the benefit of a salesperson to dissuade you from buying a cheap Windows Phone and convince you to buy a more expensive phone.

      I like WP a lot but if someone came in requesting a 710 I would strongly discourage them too. In a couple weeks they will have the 810, 8X, and 8S and all of these phones are much better.
      cool8man
      • New models with UMA

        I am most interested in wifi calling and devices that have UMA hardware built in. There were several android devices with the feature. but the 710 did not. At that point I mentioned the 810 and the sales boy had no idea about it at all. He did look it up to see if there were any specs but there was no more info. It was at this point after I had established that I had done a bit of research that I was asked "why one of those?"

        You would have to been there to witness the sneer to understand.
        calfee20
  • Great Article

    Feature this on my site www.gamingasadad.com. Us Windows phone users have to stick together. AT&T in Chicagoland is awaiting their Windows 8 Phones but knew nothing about them.
    Glenn Wagner
  • Clearly a lot of work to do...

    I know it's obvious that Microsoft really has a lot of work to do, but at the same time I've consistently found that Best Buy isn't on the ball with properly training their staff. I could just as easily walk into a store and find them equally clueless on television knowledge, and there's a lot less to know with a TV.

    That said, I did pre-order my 920 from BB today (red, of course). I called AT&T this past week and realized that I'm not eligible for any upgrade incentive until next July, so I knew I'd have to pay full price (which I had expected already). At least if in the random chance I don't like the phone or want to upgrade to the "next great thing", I'll be able to upgrade for a lot less next summer, lol.
    GoodThings2Life
  • Pot calling the kettle black...

    Odd how salesperson at Best Buy talks about last chance at being relevant... Isn't that ironic.
    shawn24
  • How people claim failure...

    ...when the phone hasn't even been launched yet and no marketing has even begun.

    I'm assuming after Oct 29th there will be an actual marketing campaign. Microsoft can't advertise Windows Phone 8 right now because I DOESN'T EXIST in the world of the carriers yet.

    On a positive know, Lumia 920 pre-orders are way ahead of the iPhone in France and there is building interest in China.
    kjb434
  • No unlocked Lumia 920, no way...

    The Lumia 920 for $599.99 is still locked to cursed megaparasite AT$T. That's just the price without contract.
    Joe Acerbic
  • "Microsoft's last chance at being relevant in the smartphone world."

    I am now a little more impressed with Best Buy staff than I was 10 minutes ago. ;)

    Don't get me wrong, I'm waiting for Win Phone 8 myself (especially waiting for prices to drop on mid-range devices) but that is a very accurate summary at a business level.

    The same statement, by the way, applies to Nokia too. (Perhaps more so; it's Nokia's last chance to stay relevant *at all* in the Western world.
    Han CNX
    • (and with that in mind)

      And with that in mind, that Nokia's future as a company depends on this, I would have hoped for some more aggressive pricing. (If not on the top model, then on a $150-$250 (unlocked, no contract) model) They make plenty models in that price range with Windows Phone 7. All of Nokia couldn't get one of those ready with Win Phone 8?
      Han CNX
    • Except its not their last chance or last try

      Microsoft has no time limit nor are they running out of money or resources. In fact the better Android sells the more money MS is making in mobile. They are not going to ever walk away from the mobile market. Abandoning the mobile space represents too much of a threat to their PC and enterprise biz. There are always going to opportunities.
      cool8man
  • Overpriced As Usual

    The Lumia 920 needs to be priced cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy SIII. Otherwise people will just go for the more capable Android device, as they have already been doing.
    ldo17
    • It is cheaper...

      ...by $50 (contract renewal price). "More capable" in exactly what way? I can tell you the camera on the Lumia 920 is "more capable" with its stabilization than the Galaxy SIII. When the 920 is actually released we can each go to the store and compare them for ourselves. For me, I will not use anything Google as they are not trustworthy by throwing privacy to the wind.
      lippidp
  • I thought MS would have learn't by now

    Surely they realise that they have to work much harder to incentvise the Phone Shop sales people. After all the lack luster WP7 marketting and weak awareness within phone shops, you would think that Microsoft would put a bit more effort/ money into this critical part of the sales chain. No matter how good WP8/W8 are, they will not suceed if the sale persons are not informed or motivated to sell them.
    JulesVerny
  • MJ: Who is responsibel at MS for Sales Channel

    in the US for WP8 and Win8? I don't see them having a job if this doesn't change.
    rmark2
  • First Windows Phone 8 devices up for preorder for $100, $150 at Best Buy

    Nicely priced. These Microsoft Windows Phone 8 devices are priced for everyone. Now if Verizon would just start advertising them so I can get mine.
    Loverock Davidson-