Not content to rest on its Windows Phone laurels, Nokia rolled out a new budget-minded Windows Phone handset, the Lumia 610, at Mobile World Congress today. At a press event, Microsoft rep announced that it has lowered the system hardware requirements for Windows Phone to allow just 256MB of RAM and slower processors so as to allow less-expensive handsets like the Lumia 610.
Designed for a younger audience, the Lumia 610 has a finely-beveled metallic edge and a great metallic white, cyan, or magenta casing (we particularly like the cyan). Nokia says that Windows Phone 7 features like the People hub and integrated Xbox games will appeal to younger audiences. A new app called Nokia Transport will allow users to plan a route using public transportation like subways or buses and pin those routes to the live tile.
The company hasn't released specs for the Lumia 610 yet, but we'll update this post when they become available. Rumors have pinned the screen at 3.2-inches and the camera at 3-MP. The phone will cost 189 Euros unsubsidized when it launches this spring. Undoubtedly that will add to up to a very low contract cost in the U.S., perhaps even free.
The company also announced Nokia Reading, a new software function for Lumia phones that provides localized book and magazine options, along with a Flipboard / Google Current-like feature that turns your news feeds into a rich, magazine-like experience. It's also providing an update to Nokia Drive that allows better route calculation.
As of today, a beta version of Skype will appear in the Windows Phone markeplace for all users, allowing them to make VoIP calls on their phones.
Users who've been pining away for the Lumia 900 in countries outside the U.S. won't have to wait much longer. Nokia CEO Elop announced that the Nokia Lumia 900 will launch on Rogers' LTE network in Canada. The company also announced the Lumia 900 will come to a number of other countries around the world that don't have LTE yet, but do have DC-HSPA+ networks for enhanced speed. A rep also said it is bringing Lumia phones to the Chinese market.