Fresh from acquiring Nokia’s handset business, Microsoft unveiled the first of its new range of Lumia smartphones on Thursday, priced to challenge a market dominated by volume leader Samsung and Apple.
A week before Apple is expected to launch the iPhone 6, Microsoft, which paid $7.2 billion this year to acquire the Nokia business, introduced at the IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin its new “affordable flagship” phone, the Lumia 830.
The new Lumia will sell globally at a price of around 330 euros ($433), before taxes, or upward of 400 euros ($525) in all. As expected, Microsoft also introduced a five megapixel, front-facing camera phone called the Lumia 735 which has been dubbed the ‘selfie-phone’ since it was demonstrated in-house to Microsoft employees in July and features a wide-angle lens for close-in photos of small groups or individuals.
The Lumia 735 will be available globally this month for 219 euros, before taxes or subsidies, for a version designed for the latest 4G networks while the third new phone, the Lumia 730, is priced at 199 euros, excluding tax, which will run on 3G networks.
The new phones flesh out the upper end of the Lumia line-up, which has regularly won good reviews but has yet to gain a significant following from consumers.
Smartphones run on Microsoft’s Windows software, mostly Lumias, captured only 2.7% of the global smartphone market in the second quarter, down from 3.8% the year before, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.
In comparison, Google Android phones had a smartphones market share of 85%, while Apple's iPhone had 11.9%, down from 13.4% a year ago. Samsung had a market share of 25.2%.