Jul 23, 2014 09:42 PM EDT
Microsoft announced the Nokia Lumia 530 smartphone Wednesday in a move that allows the once-powerful tech firm to compete more effectively against Google's Android operating system.
The Nokia Lumia 530, priced at 85 euros, or $115, won't come with many bells and whistles, but it allows Microsoft to target key markets where Apple's iOS is out of reach and Google's Android has taken a monopolistic foothold -- developing markets. It also gives Microsoft a larger presence in mature markets such as the United States, where Android dominates the lower-priced sector since Apple's iPhones are still expensive unsibsudized.
"We are moving quickly to help more people experience the uncompromised Lumia technologies, third party apps, and Microsoft services that we deliver on our flagship products, " said Jo Harlow, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Devices Group. "Lumia 530 underscores our commitment to making affordable smartphones for everyone, and introducing more people to the best of Microsoft."
For its low price, the Lumia 530 features a 4-inch display, 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. With just 512GB RAM and 4GB storage, the Lumia 530 doesn't offer much in terms of memory, but at least a microSD slot allows for up to 128GB extra and Microsoft is packaging 15GB of free space on OneDrive.
There's no release date for the Lumia 530 in the United States, although tipster @evleaks has said that T-Mobile will start carrying it mid-summer.
The Lumia 530 is an important step in Microsoft's new mobile strategy. Google recently announced its Android One program geared at making cheap, quality-controlled Android smartphones for use around the world. Developing markets such as Latin America have become more important to manufacturers in recent months, and Android One puts Google squarely ahead of rivals such as Apple, which does not have a super budget-minded phone plan. In fact, even before Android One's launch, Google's mobile OS leads iOS and Windows in Latin American markets with a market share of 80 percent in major smartphone adopters Brazil and Argentina, according to Kantar Worldpanel data. The Lumia 530, however, may give Microsoft a chance to grab at least a larger piece of that pie.
Microsoft also announced the Bang mini speaker by Coloud. For 19 euros, or $25, the Bang speaker offers up to 8 hours of music and a design that allows users to chain link them together for more sound.
(Photo : Nokia)
The Lumia 530 reveal comes after Microsoft announced massive layoffs within the company last week. The Redwood-based company said it plans to lay off 18,000 employees (around 14 percent of Microsoft's workforce), with 12,500 being from its Nokia Mobile division (around half of Nokia). It wasn't just people that were cut, however -- products were, too, including the Nokia X phone. The Nokia X ran a hybrid Android-Windows operatings system, and was Nokia's way of trying to grab some of the attention on Android by offering a similar experience. Lo and behold, after initially supporting the effort, it looks like Microsoft has decided to stick soley to its Windows ecosystem.
"It is particularly important to recognize that the role of phones within Microsoft is different than it was within Nokia," said Microsoft Devices Group executive vice president Stephen Elop in an email to employees last week. "Whereas the hardware business of phones within Nokia was an end unto itself, within Microsoft all our devices are intended to embody the finest of Microsoft's digital work and digital life experiences, while accruing value to Microsoft's overall strategy. Our device strategy must reflect Microsoft's strategy and must be accomplished within an appropriate financial envelope."
"...we plan to shift select Nokia X product designs to become Lumia products running Windows," Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said in an email to employees.
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