Microsoft expected to unveil entry-level Lumia phone without Nokia branding next week

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is indicating that next week it will unveil its first Lumia-branded smartphone without the Nokia moniker attached, and early rumors are that it will be entry-level device aimed at the mass market.

Microsoft sent out invitations to an event on Nov. 11 with the tagline of, "Microsoft is delivering the power of everyday mobile technology to everyone." The invitation also includes an image of an orange curved Lumia device.

Microsoft's invitation

According to The Verge, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter, the company will release a "budget" Lumia smartphone. That might not be a bad thing, since Nokia's best-selling Windows Phone device in 2013 was the low-end Lumia 520.

Additionally, recently leaked images and specifications of the phone indicate it will be an entry-level device with a 5-inch display, 1 GB of RAM, a 5-megapixel camera, a front-facing camera and a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) Snapdragon processor.

Microsoft confirmed late last month that in the coming weeks and months, Microsoft will transition from the Nokia Lumia brand to the Microsoft Lumia brand for its smartphone branding. When Microsoft officially acquired Nokia's devices business this spring, Microsoft was only licensed to use the Nokia name on Lumia smartphones for 18 months after the deal's closing. Microsoft can use the Nokia brand name on feature phones for 10 years.

"We want to simplify and unify our smartphone branding," Microsoft phone unit marketing chief Tuula Rytilä said in an interview last month with Re/code. "We are really using Lumia as connective tissue."

Despite the new hardware push internally, the software giant's larger challenge is getting other hardware vendors to not just make but also aggressively market Windows Phone devices. Microsoft said in September that it has attracted 50 new hardware partners that are making Windows-based smartphones and tablets since the company decided in April that it would make Windows free for devices with screens smaller than nine inches.

For more:
- see this The Verge article
- see this CNET article
- see this Engadget article

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