Raising the stakes in the fiercely competitive affordable smartphone market in India, Microsoft today launched its first dual-SIM Nokia Lumia smartphone for Rs 11,500.
The new phone from Microsoft Devices, which operates the handset business acquired from Nokia last month for over USD 7.2 billion, will compete with dual-SIM models such as Moto G, HTC Desire and Samsung Duos.
Taking forward the "cloud first, mobile first" strategy outlined by India-born Microsoft chief Satya Nadella, Lumia 630 will sport features like Microsoft's Office and OneDrive, a cloud storage facility through which documents, photos and music can be accessed via the Internet.
"Lumia is our principal smartphone strategy. Lumia phones will come with Nokia's promise of quality packed with Microsoft's services like OneDrive, Office 365 and others. Lumia 630 opens a new avenue for affordable smartphones for us," P Balaji, Managing Director of Nokia India, a subsidiary of Microsoft Mobiles Oy, said.
The single-SIM variant will be available for Rs 10,500.
Citing analysts, he said about 80 per cent of the smartphones sold under Rs 12,000 in India are dual SIM.
In April, Devices Group EVP Stephen Elop had explained that dual-SIM capability is "critically important" in emerging markets like India and China and noted that in 2016, people will buy more than 100 million dual-SIM smartphones.
Currently, the cheapest model in the Lumia range is the 520, which retails for about Rs 8,400.
Asked if more affordable devices would be brought out under the Lumia range, Balaji said the firm would "continue to test newer price points."
Powered by the latest Windows Phone 8.1 operating system, the Lumia 630 features a 4.5-inch display and 5 megapixel auto-focus camera. It has built-in low power sensors for health apps such as pedometers.
The Moto G, HTC Desire and Samsung Galaxy Duos are all priced under Rs 12,000 and have done well in the affordable smartphone market in India.
According to research firm IDC, affordability is driving smartphone adoption in the country, where domestic firms Micromax and Karbonn have a strong presence.
Last year, the market grew three-fold to 44 million devices from 16.2 million units in 2012.
The company launched a treasure tag, costing Rs 2,099, which allows users to track things like keys and bags.
Smaller than a matchbox, the device alerts smartphone users when they go beyond 10 metres of the tagged item. It will be available by end of this month.
The firm also introduced an NFC-enabled Bluetooth mini speaker for Rs 5,499, to be available by mid-June.