Microsoft has released two new Lumia smartphones at the affordable end of the spectrum, including its first '400 series' Lumia 435 to challenge Android in the sub-$100 market.
Following on from the release earlier this month of gold editions of the high-end Lumia 830 and Lumia 930, Microsoft has unveiled two new Windows Phone-based smartphones that it hopes will help it win over the growing number of consumers after a sub-$100 device.
The Lumia 435 is Microsoft's cheapest Lumia to date, costing €69 ($81) before taxes and subsidies. Before the 435, the lowest price Microsoft offered was the €80 Lumia 530, released last year with less RAM but the same processor.
The device will be rolling out in February in Europe, Asia Pacific, and IMEA (India, Middle East and Africa). There's no mention of a release for the US, where a flagship release is overdue.
The Lumia 435 is Microsoft's best shot to date at taking on Google's Android One program. Android One launched last September with Indian phone-makers Micromax, Karbonn, and Spice, which make devices using the Android One OS that cost under $100 or 6000 rupees. At pre-tax and subsidy rates, the Lumia 435 would cost 5,042 rupees.
To arrive at that price, Microsoft has cut some corners. Though the Lumia 435 does have a main and secondary camera, the front is a 0.3 megapixel sensor for making Skype calls, while the rear camera has a two-megapixel sensor.
The device will ship with Windows Phone 8.1 and the Lumia Denim firmware, meaning it will include Cortana in markets where it's available, as well as Live Folders, Apps Corner and Microsoft's notifications centre, Action Centre. It will also come with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Microsoft Outlook installed.
Other core features include its 1.2GHz dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor, while the four-inch WVGA display has a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels with a pixel density of 233 ppi. It also comes with 8GB storage, microSD support expandable to 128GB, and 1GB of RAM. The 1560 mAh capacity is replaceable and offers a maximum talk time on 3G of 11.7 hours, or 20.9 hours on 2G.
Again, the features won't be for consumers after higher end specs, but they're an improvement on Microsoft's older low-end devices. The question is whether the improvements are as good as those on devices from Motorola and Xiaomi, which also provide stiff competition for Google's Android One partners.
The Lumia 435 will be available in orange, green, white, and black, and Microsoft will release single SIM and dual-SIM variants.
The Lumia 532 joins the 500 series range and at €79 ($92) before taxes and subsidies is a rung down from the recently released Lumia 535.
The Lumia 532 offers the same hardware specs as the Lumia 435, though comes with a quad core 1.2 Ghz Snapdragon 200 processor and 1GB RAM as well as a five-megapixel main camera. Otherwise, it's roughly the same as the Lumia 435 but again offers Microsoft a more formidable opponent in the sub-$100 category.
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