It’s easy to become overly focused on the US and UK smartphone markets, assuming that they are essentially the game complete, and not simply two of its many players. However, the purveyors of the major smartphone lines know better, and focus on countries by the dozen; every place you don’t invest, someone else will, potentially limiting your market share.
Nokia and Microsoft are operating along that line of thought, and are currently paying attention to the Czech Republic, and its developer population. To help build interest among developers there, the two companies are offering up Lumia 710 and 800 phones to the first 100 local developers who place three apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace, and rack up 50 downloads.
Why give away 100 phones in this fashion? It’s quite simple: developers in the Czech Republic are likely to build apps in Czech, thus creating a pool of applications that locals can enjoy in their native tongue. Sure, English is going to be the dominant app language until the Chinese market hits full stride (I presume), but every locale has its own manner of speech, and to cater to that is to curry favor. If the 100 phones yield 300 apps, that’s a real start towards a pool of apps in Czech. A modest beginning, but one that is being bought on the cheap.
It is said that the coming updates to Windows Phone will contain expanded language support, opening new doors for the smartphone line. Whether Microsoft and Nokia have plans to give away phones like this in other countries in the future is not yet know, but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me.
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