Microsoft has changed the way it looks at smartphones. Instead of trying to compete with the leading smartphone makers of the market – Samsung and other Android smartphone makers, and Apple – on the high profile part, it has started targeting emerging markets with affordable Windows phones on emerging markets like Asia and Africa. The first results of these strategy are the Microsoft Lumia 535, launched late last year in India, and the Lumia 435 and 532, launched just a few days ago – plus the new, leaked Lumia 640 with Digital TV capabilities.
The Lumia 435 and 532 are both smartphones running Windows Phone 8.1 with decent specifications, priced low enough to be the perfect choice for a first smartphone. Both handsets have 4″ screens, dual-core processors, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage – they are perfectly fit to run Microsoft’s next mobile operating system, Windows 10. Both phones come with acceptable cameras (the Redmond giant is apparently not trying to compete with other manufacturers on the camera front) and no LED flash. Besides, both of them have price tags around $100 SIM free, which makes them the perfect choice for cell network providers to be offered free with voice and data plans.
The next smartphone model to be launched by Microsoft in its affordable line is apparently a handset called Lumia 640, which is under approval in Brazil at this time. Although Microsoft has requested the phone’s information to be held confidential until mid-March (the company probably wanted to officially present it at the MWC), some information about it has leaked from Brazil’s certification authority Anatel. According to the leaked information, the Lumia 640 will be a dual-sim smartphone with 3G, Bluetooth 4.0 and an integrated digital TV receiver. There is no word about the handset’s hardware capabilities at the moment, but all things point to a handset with a decent configuration (good enough to run the games at the Royal vegas casino) but with a price point low enough to be appealing to the masses.
We could argue about Microsoft’s new strategy. The flagships of the biggest manufacturers are on all users’ wish lists, but not all of them can afford to buy these at the moment they appear. Everyone would love to have an iPhone 6 or a Samsung Galaxy S6, but these handsets are either not officially available on their home market (especially the iPhone, which often enters the “grey” market first before being officially launched by the manufacturer), or they are priced high enough to be out of reach. Microsoft does not abandon its flagship handsets, not by far – but it launches enough affordable smartphones to increase its market share everywhere, counting on users to switch to a higher profile model later on if their first smartphone runs Windows Phone. And often they are quite right…