Microsoft launches Lumia 530: Bringing Cortana to the masses with cheapest Lumia so far

Summary:Microsoft has launched a new low-end Lumia with a price tag that undercuts its own best-selling Lumia 520.

The Lumia 530
The Lumia 530. Image: Microsoft

After canning its Android-powered Nokia X smartphone range , Microsoft has unveiled the Lumia 530, a Windows Phone 8.1 device with a price that undercuts popular low-end Android devices like the Moto G .

The new four-inch display handset, which bears some resemblance to the now abandoned Nokia X devices , will become Microsoft's new entry-level device for consumers, expected to cost around €85 ($144) when it hits stores this August.

The device's launch follows disappointing fourth-quarter Lumia sales. In its latest set of financials, Microsoft yesterday announced a quarter-on-quarter decline from 8.2 million Lumias sold when Nokia still owned the devices unit to just 5.8 million under Microsoft's ownership . Year-on-year, sales would appear to be down around 20 percent: for the same quarter last year, Nokia sold 7.4 million Lumias . However, the numbers are not like for like: Microsoft has only counted the number of Lumias sold since it took control of Nokia's devices unit in April.

As was the case under Nokia, Lumia sales under Microsoft are not being driven by high-end Lumia devices but cheaper devices like the Lumia 525, which costs around €95, and €129 Lumia 630.

The newly-launched Lumia 530 seems to sit somewhere between the scrapped Nokia X, Nokia's S40-based feature phones and Asha touchscreen ranges. The 530 notably comes in both single SIM 3G and dual SIM 3G versions — with the latter feature often found in devices aimed at chiefly at users in emerging markets.

The 530 may also help Microsoft bring some direction to its mobile business after its recent decision to phase out the X, S40 and Asha product lines , despite its earlier arguments that they would act as a gateway to its Windows Phone 8 handsets.

As Microsoft's devices chief Stephen Elop recently noted in a memo  announcing the end of its Nokia X experiment, Microsoft is planning "to deliver additional lower-cost Lumia devices by shifting select future Nokia X designs and products to Windows Phone devices".

2014-07-23 12.11.04 pm
Lumia 530 dimensions. Image: Microsoft

Indeed, the curved edges of the Lumia 530 take a bigger lead from its Nokia X devices than the Lumia 520. On the specs front, the Nokia X is quite similar too. The new low-end Lumia will have a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage and a MicroSD slot that supports up to 128GB. The Lumia 530's camera has a five-megapixel sensor, while the FWVGA display has a resolution of 854 x 480 pixels. It also comes with a removable 1430 mAh battery.

On price too, the Lumia 530 pairs up neatly with the X's starting price of around €89, which helped Nokia offer a more affordable smartphone in India .

Of course, unlike the Nokia X, the Lumia 530 will ship with Windows Phone 8.1, which means that it will include the Cortana voice assistant where it's available, and Microsoft's new Action Center for notifications and all of Microsoft's apps.

The device will be available in orange, bright green, white, and dark grey, and goes on sale globally in August.

Despite keeping Nokia's trademark colours, Microsoft is gradually fading out the Nokia branding. In most of the marketing materials, including press releases and a post on the Conversations blog, the device is referred to as the Lumia 530, with mention of the Nokia name confined to the device's product page.

"Lumia 530 underscores our commitment to making affordable smartphones for everyone," Jo Harlow, corporate vice president of Microsoft Devices Group, said on the company's blog.

Read more on Lumia

Topics: Mobility, Microsoft, Windows

About

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, s... Full Bio

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