Microsoft aims at midmarket with two new Lumia smartphones

Microsoft confirmed its focus on the mid-range smartphone segment yesterday in Barcelona, with the launch of two new handsets, the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL.

Stephen Elop, the head of Microsoft’s devices business, told delegates on the first morning of this year’s Mobile World Congress that the new devices would be on the shelves next month.

A Microsoft spokeswoman confirmed that the UAE would be one of the first launch markets.

The 640 sports a 5-inch 1280 x 720 screen display, and an 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash. The 640 XL has a 5.7- inch display, with a 13-megapixel camera.

The 640 will retail at €139 (Dh571) for a 3G version, with the LTE version costing €159. Its larger cousin will cost €189 for the 3G version, and €219 for the LTE version.

This year’s presentation in Barcelona marks the second consecutive year that Microsoft has focused its attention on the mid-range smartphone segment of the market, following the launch of its ill-fated Nokia X Android range last year.

However Mr Elop insisted that Microsoft had not given up on the high-end market, saying that it would announce a new premium device this year timed to coincide with the launch of Windows 10.

Shipments of devices using Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system rose by 21.6 per cent to 10.7 million in the fourth quarter of last year, according to the industry analysts IDC.

However the operating system’s market share continues to slip at the expense of Android and Apple’s iOS, falling to 2.8 per cent in the fourth quarter, compared with 3 per cent a year earlier.

Microsoft also announced the launch of its Universal Foldable Keyboard, a portable keyboard that will work with Apple and Android devices as well as Microsoft devices.

Pricing for the keyboard will be about US$100, with general release expected in July.


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