Microsoft rolls out new mid-range Lumia smartphones, with a focus on camera technology

Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) took the wraps off three new Lumia-branded Windows Phone smartphones today, emphasizing their higher-end specs at mid-range prices. Microsoft also announced a new software update for its Lumia phones that will bring more functionality to Cortana, the digital personal assistant Microsoft introduced with Windows Phone 8.1.

Microsoft used the IFA electronics trade show in Berlin to remind the market that even though it has decided to trim 18,000 workers--including 12,500 former Nokia workers it acquired--it is not slowing down its investment in Lumia phones.

The higher-end device Microsoft unveiled is the Lumia 830. As The Verge notes, the Lumia 830 is a slimmed down version of the Lumia 930 with slightly less glamorous specs. The phone has a 5-inch display, 1.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) Snapdragon 400 processor, 1 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of storage. It also sports a 10-megapixel PureView camera with Zeiss optics and the thinnest optical image stabilization system to date on a Lumia phone. The phone also has integrated wireless charging capabilities and comes with Microsoft's OneDrive with 15 GB of free cloud storage. Microsoft said the phone will be available globally this month, priced around €330 ($427) before taxes and subsidies.

Source: Microsoft

Microsoft also announced the 735 and 730 Dual SIM, which both have wide-angle, 5-megpixel front-facing cameras designed for taking selfies and Skype calls. The phones also come coupled with a free, three-month Skype Unlimited World subscription in certain markets. The phones will begin rolling out globally this month, featuring a 2220 mAh battery, 8 GB of internal storage and 15 GB of free OneDrive storage. The Lumia 730 Dual SIM will be priced around €199 ($258) euros before taxes and subsidies, while the Lumia 735 with LTE and wireless charging support will be priced around €219 ($283) before taxes and subsidies.

Microsoft also announced Lumia Denim, its latest software update for Lumia phones, which adds the ability to say "Hey, Cortana," to activate the company's digital assistant automatically when the phone is in standby, similar to the always-on "OK Google" that Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has added to some Android smartphones for its Google Now service. The Lumia Denim update also includes new advances to Lumia phones' camera, including the ability to take photos faster, 4K-quality video recording at 24 frames per second, auto HDR and Dynamic Flash settings, and better low-light photography.

Lumia Denim will roll out as an over-the-air update to all Lumia Windows Phone 8 smartphones, following partner testing and approvals.

For more:
- see this Microsoft release
- see these three different Nokia blog posts
- see this two separate The Verge article
- see this Re/code article

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