Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled the first Lumia-branded Windows Phone that will be sold at a price below €100 ($134), hot on the heels of news that sales of Lumia smartphones declined in the U.S.-based company's fiscal fourth quarter, covering the three months to end June.
Microsoft's new Lumia 530 smartphone
Described as "the most affordable Lumia to date", the new smartphone also ties in well with Microsoft's comments that the bulk of Lumia sales in the most recent quarter occurred mainly in the low end of the portfolio, specifically Lumia 500 and Lumia 600 series devices.
The Lumia 530 will be available in two variants--SIM 3G and Dual SIM 3G--for an estimated retail price in Europe of €85 before taxes and subsidies. Global rollout begins in August 2014.
With the new Windows Phone 8.1-based Lumia 530, Microsoft is clearly hoping to further "democratise" the smartphone by making services that are typically found in more high-end smartphones available to a wider demographic. Features include one-swipe notifications from Microsoft's Action Center--a feature offering one-touch access to most-used functions--a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 4-inch LCD display, and integrated Microsoft services including Skype and Office. It will also be possible to personalise the smartphone as it comes with changeable shells in a range of colours.
The company sold 5.8 million Lumia-branded Windows Phones from April 25 to June 30. During the full second quarter of last year, Nokia sold 7.4 million Lumia phones.
Microsoft certainly has its work cut out to drive sales of smartphones based on Windows Phone, which is still lagging badly in terms of global smartphone market share. Research firm IDC thinks the platform will capture just 3.5 per cent of the global smartphone market in 2014.
Last week Microsoft said it will cut up to 18,000 jobs this year, or 14 per cent of its workforce. It is expected that many of those cuts will be employees the company acquired when it bought Nokia's devices and services business for €5.4 billion ($7.4 billion).
- see this Microsoft statement
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Article updated July 23 to clarify Microsoft's Lumia smartphone sales in its most recent quarter.