Microsoft expected to unveil flagship Lumia 950, 950 XL phones at October event

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is about to finally unveil its new flagship Windows smartphones that it has been promising since earlier this year. The company sent out invitations to a media event next month where it is expected to announce a slew of new gadgets running its Windows 10 platform.

However, the stars of the event, which is taking place Oct. 6 in New York City, will likely be phones dubbed the Lumia 950 and 950 XL. The phones will be the first true flagship Windows phones released in several years after Microsoft and its partners heavily targeted the entry-level and mid-range markets in a bid to secure more market share, especially in emerging markets.

According to Windows Central, the Lumia 950 will sport a 5.2-inch WQHD screen while the 950 XL will have a 57-inch screen. Both phones are expected to sport 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot, 20-megapixel PureView rear cameras with triple LED flash and 5-megapixel wide-angle front-facing cameras. The 950 XL is expected to have a slightly faster processor and larger battery, but both will support Qi wireless charging.

Microsoft is also expected to announce the Surface Pro 4 tablet/PC and a new Microsoft Band wearable device at the event.

Since the deal for Nokia's (NYSE:NOKIA) devices and services closed in April 2014, Microsoft's efforts to gain global market share have largely faltered. According to research firm Gartner, Microsoft captured 2.5 percent of the global smartphone market in the second quarter, down from 2.8 percent a year ago. However, according to a recent report from Opera Mediaworks, in countries like India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, there is a sizable chunk of the population -- around a third or more -- that do not use Android or iOS as their smartphone platform, suggesting that in some markets Microsoft and other platforms are gaining traction.

In the wake of Microsoft's lagging efforts to gain market share globally, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has reaffirmed his commitment to the smartphone market but has also said that Microsoft has a broader view of its mobile strategy than just building phones itself. 

Nadella has said he wants to "be present on every mobile endpoint," which means not just having Microsoft applications like Skype, Outlook and Office on smartphones from other platforms like Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android and Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iOS, but also its cloud services for both consumer and enterprise devices. He also said that Windows 10 is the platform that will run every device from phones to PCs to its HoloLens virtual reality headset. The platform also supports Universal Apps that can run on all of those devices. Microsoft will also let developers who have written apps for Android and iOS port those apps to become Universal Apps for phones and tablets running Windows 10.

For more:
- see this The Verge article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this ZDNet article
- see this PhoneScoop article 

Related articles:
Microsoft to shutter former Nokia plant in Salo, Finland, and axe 2,300 jobs in the country
Microsoft sees drop in phone revenue as Nadella pledges more efficiency for entry-level smartphones
Microsoft's Nadella pledges to stick with smartphones, yet sees mobile strategy as broader than phones
Microsoft receives brutal criticism for Nokia device acquisition writedown
Microsoft to slash 7,800 jobs, mostly in phone unit, as smartphone efforts falter
Microsoft devices chief Elop to leave company in executive shakeup

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