Microsoft is hoping to turn around the fortunes of Windows Phone with a growing number of cheap smartphones: The Lumia 435 and Lumia 532 are its latest contenders.
The two newcomers are primarily aimed at emerging markets where budgets are small, but where users still want to upgrade from feature phones to smartphones. They will cost €69 (US$80) and €79 respectively without a contract when they go on sale next month in parts of Europe, Asia-Pacific, India, the Middle East and Africa.
It goes without saying that the specs are not very impressive, but the Lumias should still work just fine. For €69 users will get an HSPA smartphone powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz processor with a 4-inch, 480x800-pixel screen.
The Lumia 435 also has a 2-megapixel main camera and a 0.3-megapixel front camera. There is 1GB of RAM and 8GB of integrated storage that can be expanded by up to 128GB with a microSD card.
For an additional €10, buyers of the Lumia 532 will instead get a quad-core 1.2GHz processor and a 5-megapixel camera.
Microsoft’s range of affordable Lumias is rounded out by the Lumia 535, which costs about €90 and has a 5-inch display and two 5-megapixel cameras, one on the front and one on the back.
On the software side, buyers of the Lumia 435 and Lumia 532 will get Windows Phone 8.1, Office apps Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote as well as Outlook for email. The new Lumias also have Skype, Here maps and up to 30GB of included cloud storage on OneDrive. With its low-end push Microsoft doesn’t just want to save Windows Phone, but also increase usage of its services.
Microsoft’s strategy makes sense because the low-end segment is growing faster than other parts of the smartphone market, but success is far from certain. The company will have to compete with an avalanche of Android-based smartphones, which won’t be easy. And earlier Wednesday, Samsung Electronics launched another low-cost option, the Z1, which runs the Tizen operating system and costs about $92.